What were the presents Baba gave to Amir and Hassan on their birthdays, and what do they signify in The Kite Runner?

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bullgatortail's profile pic

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

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Baba gave his son two expensive gifts--things that would make Amir the "envy of every kid in the neighborhood": a coveted Schwinn Stingray bike and an expensive wristwatch with gold hands. Amir wanted for little, and these materialistic items were of great monetary value and prestige, but they were not the one thing that Amir really wanted: the love and respect of Baba. Meanwhile, Hassan had already earned Baba's love and respect, so Baba gave him something that he desperately needed: The operation to fix Hassan's cleft lip. Unknown to both boys, Baba has a special reason for this unique gift: Not only will it help Hassan to look more normal, but it will also serve as a way of alleviating Baba's guilt for the secret he has carried with him for so many years.

thetall's profile pic

thetall | (Level 3) Educator

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During Amir’s birthday, his father gave him two presents, a brand new Schwinn Stingray bicycle, and a wrist watch. According to Amir, he did not feel worthy of his father’s efforts to organize the party and get him presents. The presents, to him, symbolized his weakness, especially his failure to stand up for Hassan when he was assaulted. Apart from reminding him of his failure, the wrist watch offered him an opportunity to escape his reality. Amir planted the new watch and some money on Hassan’s bed, which led to the departure of Ali and Hassan from their home.

Hassan’s birthday present was surgery to correct his cleft lip. The present had a lot of symbolism behind it. Rather than get Hassan any ordinary present, Baba decided to give Hassan something special, a gift that would last him a lifetime. For Baba, this was his way of showing affection to his son, who he could not publicly accept as his own flesh and blood. In a way, he was being remorseful and hoping for forgiveness for his secret and the general state of affairs.


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