One approach in constructing an answer on how culture is a determining factor in shaping our identity would be to examine specific characters' responses to culture. For example, in Afghanistan, Baba was a reflection of his culture. He was demonstrative in being legendary and almost "larger than life." In Afghanistan, Baba espoused and embodied the principles of cultural expectations. He did not favor Amir because he was not "manly" enough for him. Amir was intellectual, reflective, and not physically demonstrative. When bullies threatened he and Hassan, Baba was dismayed to see Amir take refuge behind Hassan. Reflective of a traditionalist culture, Baba was not able to embrace his son and stood distant from him.
Yet, when Baba comes to America, he must adopt American cultural expectations. Baba works long hours at the filling station and struggles for the betterment of Amir. Baba reflects an American culture that is more accepting and tolerant of differences. When Baba says that he is proud of his son, it is a reflection of how culture can shape our identity. In Afghanistan, the culture was different, one that prevented Baba from fully embracing his son. In America, toil and sacrifice that is part of the cultural expectation enables Baba to see his son in a different frame of reference. This becomes a statement on how culture can shape individual identity.