Discuss the difference between Baba and Ali and between Amir and Hassan in "The Kite Runner". Discuss the difference between Baba and Ali and between Amir and Hassan. Are Baba's and...

Discuss the difference between Baba and Ali and between Amir and Hassan in "The Kite Runner".

Discuss the difference between Baba and Ali and between Amir and Hassan. Are Baba's and Amir's betrayals similar or different? Do you think that such betrayals are to be expected in the master/servant relationship or it is the flaws in Baba's and Amir's characters?

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ishpiro eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think a case can be made that the betrayals are very different. While both Baba and Amir got away with their betrayals due to the social hierarchy in the society, their causes are different. Both betrayals do have to do with the flaws in Baba's and Amir's characters, but they are very different flaws.

Baba is a strong and self-confident person. He has a lot of power and influence and generally does not worry about what others think of him. He is not a coward, as is demonstrated when he is leaving Afghanistan with Amir and intervenes, at a great personal risk, when a Russian soldier is about to assault a woman. However, there is a line, a boundary, that he cannot allow himself to cross—he knows that there are some things his society will not accept. Having a child out of wedlock is one of those things. His pride would not allow him to risk his reputation by admitting that he fathered Hassan, betraying Ali.

Amir, on the other hand, has low self-esteem. His confidence swings widely depending on whether or not Baba seems to be pleased with him at any given moment. His friendship with Hassan suffers because Hassan demonstrates himself to be better than Amir in many ways, and this hurts Amir, as he feels he will never live up to the same standard. He cannot forgive himself for not coming to Hassan's aid when the latter was attacked, and he tries to cover up the whole incident instead of confiding in an adult. He is terrified of the judgement of the only person who should have been able to guide him through this experience—Baba—and he therefore makes some very bad choices, betraying Hassan. His character flaw is not vain pride but rather lack of self-respect. Considering that he is still a child when he betrays Hassan, he cannot be entirely blamed for it—a lot of it has to do with his circumstances and upbringing.

eabettencourt eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I see both betrayals as being very similar.  Baba betrayed Ali in a very different way than Amir betrayed Hassan, but the cause of the betrayal is the same:  both men could, and did, get away with it due to the social hierarchy in their society.  What's interesting about this similarity is it demonstrates similar flaws in both father and son, despite the fact that Amir sees himself as so different from Baba.

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The Kite Runner

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