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This novel touches upon some issues that have psychological ramifications. For example, the destructive effect of abuse. When Hassan is raped, it affects him in a profound way psychologically. Also, later, when his little son is kidnapped and raped by the Taliban member (who turns out to be Assef), this abusive treatment has almost destroyed the boy mentally. The complex relationships between fathers and sons is important to discuss. Amir's relationship with his father as a child while they are in Afghanistan differs from their relationship as men, when Amir is grown and can understand his father's actions from an adult perspective. Growing up as a child, however, Amir never felt accepted by his father. He always felt that his father loved Hassan more, so this can be explored. How did this constant striving to be accepted by his father affect Amir's adulthood relationship with his father? Also, how does finding out the truth about Hassan, that he is really Amir's half brother, affect Amir psychologically? Finally, I think it is interesting to explore why Hassan was so devoted to Amir. What made him, as a child, grow up with such fierce devotion? Amir mistreats Hassan and even frames him for stealing, and yet Hassan never wavers in his adulation of Amir. Amir does not deserve this admiration, and yet Hassan is steadfast and keeps trying to win back Amir's favor.
In Freudian / Psychoanalytic theory you will want to look for the following in The Kite Runner:
• There is an Oedipal Complex: connotations of passive-aggression, repression, and guilt:
- the son’s desire for his mother
- the father’s envy of the son and rivalry for the mother’s attention
- the daughter’s desire for her father
- the mother’s envy of the daughter and rivalry for the father’s attention.
- In Afghanistan, does Amir compete with Hassan for his parents' attention?
- America, does Baba envy Amir?
- Does Amir marry someone just like his mother?
• There is an emphasis on the meaning of private dreams as they oppose public and social values.
- Isn't the tree of their childhood a great big phallic symbol of the male father?
- Are there any subconscious desires that Amir has?
- Does Amir subconsciously want Hassan to be raped? Why does he not intervene?
- Is his quest to "be good again" but a form or repressed guilt? After all, he rescues Hassan's son and becomes the father that he never had.
• There is a correlation of the Id, Ego, and Superego to a trio of characters or all within the same character.
- As it is a quest for redemption, does Amir move from id to ego to superego in the story?
- Isn't Hassan the superego, Assef the id, and Amir the ego caught in the middle?
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