What is the symbolism behind the pomegranate tree in The Kite Runner?
What is the connection between the pomegranate tree that Amir and Hassan used to read under and the same pomegranate tree that Amir finds bare with nothing but his and Hassan's carvings when he returns to find his childhood home destroyed?
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Amir and Hassan are the best of friends, although they are from different backgrounds. The two boys believe their friendship will last forever and they promise to always be there for each other.
Amir and Hassan spend most of their time outside. They are boys and they like to run and play. They spend a lot of their time under a pomegranate tree. The tree shades them and Amir reads to Hassan. Hassan can't read, because he isn't allowed to go to school, he is the servant's son of Amir's father. Amir spends lots of time reading to Hassan and making up stories. The pomegranate tree symbolizes the nurturing and beautiful friendship these two young boys have, at the time.
"There was a pomegranate tree near the entrance of the cemetery. One summer day, I used one of Ali's kitchen knives to carve our names on it: 'Amir and Hassan, the sultans of Kabul'. Those words made it formal: The tree was ours."
The boys saw the tree as their special place and thought that nothing could take the friendship away from them. After the horrible tragedy that Amir witnesses with Hassan, the tree no longer holds the same meaning for the two of them. Amir is wracked with guilt, that he carries most of his life. He wants Hassan to show him how angry he is at him. He throws pomegranates at Hassan and wants him to hit him back, instead Hassan hits the pomegranate over his own head.
When Amir goes back and visits the tree, he sees that the tree is no longer bearing fruit, which represents the fact that their friendship is no longer in tact. The two names are still carved in the wood, but the tree is dead, just like their friendship.
The pomegranate tree is a symbol of friendship, childhood innocence, and shelter. When it appears in the first part of the story, Amir and Hassan were fast friends who, despite elements of caste, shared happy times together and enjoyed each other's company. The lush, blooming tree paralleled their lives which were full of promise, and its wide, spreading branches provided shelter, as did their comaraderie.
When Amir sees the tree again when he returns to his childhood home in the latter part of the story, it is bare and has ceased to blossom, like the ruins of his friendship with Hassan. All that remains of that idyllic time is a memory, as represented by the carvings they made on the tree as children.
The most important thing about the pomegranate, too, is that it is spoken of in the Qu'ran as one of the fruits in the garden of paradise. In its earlier appearance it suggests such a state, and in its reappearance later, barren, it suggests a fall from paradise.
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