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In "Kite Runner", what is the significance of the irony in the first story...

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goodpokemon | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 16, 2008 at 7:54 AM via web

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In "Kite Runner", what is the significance of the irony in the first story of Amir?

After hearing Amir's story, Hassan asks, "Why did the man kill his wife? In fact, why did he ever have to feel sad to shed tears? Couldn't he have just smelled an onion?" How is his reaction to the story a metaphor for Amir's life? How does this story epitomize the difference in character between Hassan and Amir?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 16, 2008 at 6:15 PM (Answer #1)

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The irony in the story is that, in order to satisfy his own greed, the man destroys that which he realizes too late is most dear to him.  It is significant because it is a metaphor for Amir's own life in that, in his desperate longing for his father's love, Amir effectively destroys the safe and comfortable life of Hassan along with their relationship with each other, never realizing the great value of the friendship they share.  A further irony is that both Amir and his fictional character could have easily gotten what they wanted without paying anywhere near such a drastic price.

Amir's story illustrates major differences in Hassan's and Amir's characters.  Hassan has a clear vision of things, picking up immediately the fact that the man could have found a more practical way of achieving his goals.  Amir makes everything more complicated for himself; the possibility perceived by Hassan never occurs to him, even though it is "so obvious it (is) utterly stupid".  The story also points out a basic difference between the two boys' perception of human nature.  Hassan, even though he is constantly victimized because of his nationality, has a trusting spirit and cannot conceive of any reason why the man would have wanted to kill his wife, while Amir is more in touch with the darker side of human nature because it is so active in his own character (Chapter 4).

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