Discuss Amir's heroic qualities in The Kite Runner.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Several heroic qualities are evident in Amir’s character.  The most overwhelming is the one that begins the entire narrative.  Amir is incapable of escaping from the need to right that which is wrong and “to be good again.”  His sense of ethical duty and responsibility, characteristics that were not as evident as an adolescent, are traits that have matured along with him.  His need to go back to Afghanistan when things in America were fine and well is representative of the heroic quality of duty and responsibility to others.  I think that the heroic quality of bravery is evident in his confrontation with Assef.  There is much here that would indicate that he should leave or flee.  His background with Assef, the fact that Assef holds power with the Taliban, and the fact that Assef has more weapons at his disposal in both a literal and figurative sense are all reasons for Amir to evade conflict.  Yet, he willingly engages in a literal battle between good and evil and suffers greatly for it.  The bravery he shows in the face of overwhelmingly negative odds represents heroism.  Finally, Amir “saves” a life in Sohrab.  There is little more heroic than his ability to give Sohrab a new life, to pray for him, to care for him, and to be his kite runner at the end of the story.  It is this role as a savior that makes Amir a hero, embodying the heroic quality of preservation of life despite overwhelming odds.

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