In The Kite Runner, does the story of "Rostam and Sohrab" have the same meaning for Amir and Hassan, and why does Hassan name his son Sohrab?

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Briefly, the Persian legend of "Rostam and Sohrab" describes a father's (Rostam) search for his long-lost son.  He unknowingly meets his son in battle and mortally wounds him just as he discovers that his enemy was his son.

The story is loved by the illiterate Hassan, who constantly asks Amir to read it to him.  Amir does not seem to like it as much as Hassan. He gripes when he has to reread it, and he thinks of Baba as the type of father who would kill his own son.  He even thinks at one point that Baba hates him.

For Hassan, the story represents several things.  First, he loves the romance of it.  In the story, there are no Hazaras and Pashtuns, no Sunnis versus Shiites. Similarly, Hassan loves the story's reference to the marriage of love between Rostam and his beautiful princess who wanted her son as much as her husband (this is in direct contrast to how Sanuabar viewed her husband Ali and her son Hassan).

I believe that Hassan names his son Sohrab because Sohrab is the innocent one in the legend and because the name brings back so many of his fond memories of time spent in childhood innocence with Amir. Perhaps Hassan believed that one day Amir ("Rostam") would have an opportunity to save Sohrab rather than destroy him.

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The Kite Runner

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