What are the contrasts between Amir and Baba in The Kite Runner?Examples and quotes from Chapters 1-5.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Amir is a disappointment to the larger-than-life Baba during the opening chapters of The Kite Runner, and he is well aware of Baba's feelings toward him.

With me as the glaring example, my father molded the world around him to his liking.

Wealthy and powerful, the 6'5 Baba had once wrestled a bear, earning the nickname "Mr. Hurricane. He became financially successful despite his doubters, and he married a woman of royal lineage who died giving birth to Amir. Baba was successful in every venture, and Amir found it impossible to live up to his father's expectations. The son also was ridden with a guilt for which he had little control.

I always felt like Baba hated me a little. And why not? After all, I had killed his beloved wife, his beautiful princess...

While Baba was strong and athletic, Amir preferred

... burying his face in poetry books to hunting...

This disturbed Baba, who made his feelings known to his son. When Amir wished to join Baba and Rahim Khan in the smoking room, Baba would send him off, telling him

"Why don't you go read one of those books of yours?"

He would "escape his father's aloofness" by reading, spending his allowance on new books. Amir tried playing soccer as his father had done when young, but

... I was pathetic, a blundering liability to my own team. 

Baba attempted to turn Amir into a spectator, but Amir had little interest or understanding of the sport, and Baba finally realized that his son would never be like him. Baba was particularly distressed about Amir's seeming lack of courage, for he had noticed that Hassan had often defended him from neighborhood boys.

"I'm telling you, Rahim, there is something missing in that boy."

Rahim responded that it was "a mean streak"--something that Rahim believed Baba possessed. But Amir discovered later that this was one trait he shared with his father.

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