On the drive to Kabul, Farid says to Amir, "You've always been a tourist here, you just didn't know it." What is Farid implying? What do you think of this implication? What gives a person worth in...

On the drive to Kabul, Farid says to Amir, "You've always been a tourist here, you just didn't know it." What is Farid implying? What do you think of this implication? What gives a person worth in society? Does this vary between societies?

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Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Farid is clearly from a poor family and has had a very hard life. He fought against the Soviets and has lost his youngest two daughters in a land mine explosion, as well as some toes from his feet and on his left hand, three fingers.  When Amir says,"I feel like a tourist in my own country" (231), Farid unleashes his legitimate class resentments upon Amir. 

He paints a picture of Amir having been raised in a large house with a beautiful garden, his father driving an American vehicle and his parents throwing fancy parties.  He says that Amir's family had servants, "probably Hazaras" (232).  He points to an old man dressed in "ragged clothes" (232), who is bowed down by a sack filled with scrub grass, and he says, "That's the real Afghanistan, Agha sahib" (232). This is the Afghanistan that Farid has had to live in, by virtue of the level of society into which he was born, one that Amir had no clue about, having been raised as he was, thus a tourist in his own country.  Farid is saying that Amir's privileged existence has protected him from the real Afghanistan. 

The novel makes clear that there are major class, religious, and ethnic divisions within Afghanistan, and this scene is just one example of these divisions. What Amir finally learns, by the end of the book, is that what gives a person true worth is not money, religion, or ethnicity, but being a good person. Sadly, in all societies, while what is valued may differ dramatically, we tend to judge people much as Amir has done, until he makes his journey and becomes a better person.

 

 

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The Kite Runner

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