In The Kite Runner, are Baba and Amir more similar or more different? How? Why?

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Father and son share more similarities than differences in their personalities. Starting from their early childhood, both Baba and Amir are exposed to a high standard of living. They have servants who double as their playmates. Ali serves Baba while Hassan serves Amir.

They are both educated and possess a deep understanding of academic subjects. Baba and Amir are also portrayed as secretive individuals, especially if the issue exposes them to some level of shame. In such situations, the two individuals are only focused on safeguarding their interests despite the fact that the people close to them may get hurt due to their actions. An example of this is when Baba withholds the truth about Hassan being his son, which eventually hurts Amir when he finds out. On the other hand, Amir withholds information about the attack on Hassan by Assef. Hassan is later forced to serve his attackers when they attend a party hosted by Baba in his home.

Father and son are not deeply religious and are inclined towards blending their religion with rational thinking. Baba was not convinced that God was concerned about people eating pork or drinking scotch.

“If there’s a God out there, then I would hope he has more important things to attend to than my drinking scotch or eating pork. Now, hop down. All this talk about sin has made me thirsty again.” [Baba]

Then I remember I haven’t prayed for over fifteen years. I have long forgotten the words. [Amir]

Amir and Baba are also generous and caring. Baba constructs an orphanage, while Amir makes the trip to Afghanistan to rescue his nephew, Sohrab.

In light of these similarities, it is important to recognize their differences. One of the major differences between Baba and Amir is that Baba is inclined towards sports and other "manly" activities while Amir is inclined towards literary works.

Of course, marrying a poet was one thing, but fathering a son who preferred burying his face in poetry books to hunting… well, that wasn’t how Baba had envisioned it, I suppose. Real men didn’t read poetry—and God forbid they should ever write it! Real men—real boys—played soccer just as Baba had when he had been young.

parkerlee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Amir and his father Baba are alike in that they show a certain egocentricity and insensitivity to others. They both blunder around in life, acting out of impulse, which in turns hurts those around them.

They are even more alike than what one sees at first glance:

  • They both are bound to regret for choices they have made in the past.
  • They first set "conditions" before being really able to accept each other as they are.
  • Under duress and financial precarity, they learn to be better people than they were before.
  • Each tries in his own way to keep his secret but at the same time attempts to make up for past wrongs.

So I guess in this story, the old adage holds: 'Like father, like son.'

Read the study guide:
The Kite Runner

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