Why is the difference of Hassan NOT having a cleft lip in the movie important, as opposed to HAVING a cleft lip in the novel?I am doing a point by point contrast Paragraph on The KIte Runner and...

Why is the difference of Hassan NOT having a cleft lip in the movie important, as opposed to HAVING a cleft lip in the novel?

I am doing a point by point contrast Paragraph on The KIte Runner and one of the differences I am pointing out is how Hassan has a cleft lip in the novel and gets it fixed by Baba for a b-day present. And how in the movie he lacks the cleft lip and gets a kite for his B-day. I get what him having the cleft lip and getting it fixed brings to the novel. I can not quite put into words what the movie is missing out on by him NOT having the cleft lip and getting a kite for his b-day?

This is the only thing holding me back from finishing my 300 word paragraph. Any ideas you may be able to help me out with would be greatly appreciated!! PLEASE and THANK-YOU!!

Expert Answers
bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Don't you hate it when a potentially fine film changes important aspects of the novel? The Kite Runner is one terrific novel, but the movie adaptation (though good in some parts) leaves much to be desired. The absence of Hassan's cleft lip is a mystery; it is such an important part of the story--combined with his father's own physical deformity--that it is inconceivable that the director would choose to omit it. No doubt it may have been tough to find a young actor with a cleft lip to play the part, but Hollywood makeup artistry would have solved that problem easily. The cleft lip adds sympathy to Hassan's character, and that seems to be missing in the movie version. Perhaps it was a sense of present day politically correctness that caused the director to leave out this key trait. Of course, the movie leaves out many other key scenes as well, but since the cleft lip would not create a lengthier film (as added scenes would), the omission is altogether mystifying.

scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Personally, I think that the film's director chose to leave out Hassan's cleft lip because of time and practicality.  It was important enough to the director and casting crew to use Afghan boys to play Hassan's and Amir's roles, and perhaps it was simply too difficult to find the right person for the role and then to try to create the appearance of a cleft lip.

That being said, Hassan's deformity plays a major role in the novel. A "cleft" is a division, and Hassan's cleft lip symbolizes the deep divide that exists between Amir and himself and between the Pashtuns and Hazaras in Afghanistan. Moreover, Baba's decision to pay for surgery to fix Hassan's lip incites more jealousy within Amir and drives the novel's plot.  Finally, when Amir suffers a split lip from his fight with Assef at the novel's end, he ends up with a scar that is quite similar to Hassan's, symbolizing Amir's complete redemption for his betrayal of Hassan in Chapter 7.

wwenotes | Student

Wow, I just watched the film, but have not read the book, and came across this information.  If the film were not powerful enough already, I can only imagine how much more depth including Hassan's cleft would've added to the story, with all that it symbolizes as described above.  The film provides a much needed awareness of Afghan culture and struggles, and could've also have helped raise awareness of children who grow up with unrepaired clefts (perhaps too many issues to tackle in one movie though).  As a parent of a child born with a cleft, this is an issue very dear to me.  Amazing story... I will have to go read the book now.


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The Kite Runner

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