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In The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini develops his Baba character as one who is almost bigger than life. He has wrestled a bear "with his bare hands" and survived. He has socialized with an Afghan king, and he has become one of the wealthiest men in Kabul. He is also a philanthropist and he prides himself in helping his people, both rich and poor. When his wife dies, he never remarries, choosing to surround himself with men, and he hosts parties regularly. Outgoing and decisive, he discovers that his son has few of his own qualities, and Amir becomes the greatest disappointment of his life. Things change dramtatically, however, when Russia invades Afghanistan. Baba and Amir are forced to flee the country, and the great man leaves everything behind when he relocates to California.
In America, the place that Baba so admires, he can never find his true calling. He winds up working in a gas station, and he is reduced to setting up in flea markets to make ends meet. He isn't a total failure, however. He pinches his pennies and is able to send Amir to college. Amir and Baba become closer than ever, and the two men seem to thoroughly enjoy each other's company. In the end, Baba suffers a terrible fall financially and socially. The cancer that wracks his body is one enemy he cannot defeat nor which he can control. However, he is not a broken man, for he faces death realistically and rejoices in the fact that his son has developed into a successful and, seemingly, happy man who marries into a proper and respected Afghani family. Hosseini's character always maintains his strong will and beliefs, but Baba is also a character with many sides. The author's hidden secrets about Baba that are not revealed until after his death also create another layer to this complex character.
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