Amir is a very complex character, he is often seen by a weakling that doesn’t stand up for himself or anything he believes in. Through the story of The Kite Runner we see an advancement of personality and maturity as the chapters progress. Amir goes from a self sulking child that only wants what’s best for his relationship with Baba, to a selfish boy who will sit in the shadows of frustrations so long as it doesn’t affect this slowly growing relationship with his father, to a man looking to right his wrongs and basically ask for forgiveness due to his past, into a man capable of doing what he knows is right and striving to do what is right. At the end he finally gets his life on a steady path of courage and adulthood.
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In the early chapters of the book Amir is a young boy that doesn’t want to really stand up for anything. His mind tells him to stay low and just work on fixing relations between him and Baba. The irony of this is that Baba only feels unsettled when around his son because he wants him to stand up for himself and what he believes in. Baba admits to Rahim Khan that he isn’t impressed by his son at all saying “A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything (Hoseini 18pdf).” Even when Rahim tries to defend Amir, Baba still says extremely harsh things towards the cowardly personality of his son.
He continues to show his faint-hearted character midway through the book by not even trying to do what he knows is right. When the opportunities come to prove to is father that he isn’t what he is described to be he fails to even show a sign of courageousness. An example of this is when Amir participates in a kite flying event to get his father’s love and attention. In the process of winning the contest for his relationship with his father he watches Hassan get raped. “He positioned himself behind Hassan. Hassan didn’t struggle. Didn’t even whimper. He moved his head slightly and I caught a glimpse of his face (64pdf).” Amir just lets all of this happen, because if he gets involved he could possibly get raped or his kite could be taken away meaning he isn’t technically the winner as he doesn’t have the prize. This proves how selfish Amir is, he watches his own “friend” get raped in order to keep a kite and win the game to have the love from his father. Sadly, Amir never truly realizes that all he has to do is stand up for what he believes in to get his father’s love.
Amir even goes to extremes by letting Hassan take the fall in order to feel comfortable with himself. When Amir notices that their is a tenseful relationship between himself and Hassan he starts deviantly creating a plan to get Hassan out of his life. Amir planted evidence on his own brother and told Baba that he stole it, the worst of it being that Hassan knew what was happening and went along with it, he realized what was going on and allowed Amir to have it his way yet again. With that he even left the house in order to keep Amir happy (87pdf-91pdf). Through the middle of the book Amir is just a teenager that never grew up. He is selfishly concerned about his own well being and that only.
Thankfully as the story progresses we get a sense of what Amir really can become if he were to listen to his dad. Rahim Khan, who is like a second father to him, actually has to pull the man out of Amir by completely manipulating him. Rahim brings up Amir’s past with Hassan, in which he speaks about how Hassan was killed and how much Amir really owes him. Rahim then influences Amir even more by telling him that Baba was Hassan’s real father and that he needs to make amends. This thankfully works and Amir is off to reclaim his dignity.
Even if it was forced out of him Amir grows as an individual at this point, no longer only doing things for himself as he wants to right his wrongs. Amir grows a conscience and helps Sohrab, Hassan’s Son, feel safe and protected. Amir went to a dangerous place that he wasn’t welcome in in order to fix his past mistakes. It’s easy to see that he is trying to make everything from his past right. It may just be because of a burden and how Rahim pushed him, but he could have cowered out at any point and returned back to America. Amir grows majorly in these segments of the book.
I believe that Amir realizes he has finally relieved his conscience of Hassan’s rape when he is allowing Assef to beat him up. Amir doesn’t try to fight back at all, he actually starts laughing as his face gets beaten in. Amir breaks ribs, swallows teeth, and gets his face turned beaten, but once he gets a split lip he knows he has been forgiven. Amir seemed to have the look of a lamb in his eyes before lead to the slaughter, scared yet peaceful at the sametime.
Taking in Sohrab was a large step for Amir as well. Amir was promised that their would be a family waiting for Sohrab, but there wasn’t and even despite that Amir took Sohrab in. Amir nursed Sohrab back to health and treats him like a true son. Sohrab even learns kite flying from Amir, teaching him some of Hassan’s tricks like the “kite plummet (327pdf).” Running the kite for Sohrab like Hassan did for him basically treating him like a friend and a son all at the same time. Even standing up for Sohrab when faced with General Sahib’s criticism, telling him “You will never again refer to him as ‘Hazara boy’ in my presence. He has a name and it’s Sohrab (319pdf).”
If it were not for Amir’s complexity and capability to change this story would not be as great as it was. Thankfully Amir understands how maturity works and adapts to his problems by the end of the book. No longer running away from what he has done, he takes responsibility and stands up for himself. At the beginning Amir is just a jerk, not caring for anyone unless he is able to manipulate them. Then he starts to learn a bit more about standing up for himself, but he still remains in the shadows of what happens around him. Letting everything he disagrees with pass over him and consume his emotions. At the end he becomes a man like Baba wanted, working on doing what is right and fixing his past mistakes. Through this dynamic personality we have a feeling of growth watching Amir change in front of us.
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