ThemesWith all of the excellent, sensitive literature out there involving children in a time of war, why does the human race continue to warp childhood through the senseless violence of warfare?...


With all of the excellent, sensitive literature out there involving children in a time of war, why does the human race continue to warp childhood through the senseless violence of warfare? Have we learned nothing from history? Brutalized children will grow up wounded and inflict their wounds on others in an infinite loop.

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sboeman eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Perhaps we should reconsider the phrase "brutalized children will grow up..." because, of course, it is not a direct cause-effect relationship.  Take the example of Sohrab in the story-he lived in poverty as a child, lost both his parents in a gruesome manner, then basically became a "pet" for Assef and the Taliban government.  He definitely has issues, but I hardly picture Sohrab as the type to "inflict [his] wounds on others".

I agree it's much more likely that the abused will become the abusers, but that's not always the case.  I, of course, also agree that children should not be exposed to issues of warfare.

howesk eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Exactly, post 3. I believe, on the contrary to the original post, that The Kite Runner and some other works of its type actually illustrate that experiencing the wrath of war as a child can improve one's outlook later in life. Had Amir not struggled as a child, would he have as much depth of character as he does at the end of the novel? I'm not sure.

Assef shows that a child experiencing war with little or no personal consequence may be affected more negatively than one who has suffered.

anthonda49 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

These survive and thrive stories seem to be in the minority. Amir had a tormented childhood that lead to emotional stress. Coming to America changed that stress level. But, his return to Afghanistan allowed his demons to re-emerge. My point is, so many literary works show the misery of children raised during warfare. Do the "powers that be" not read these works and realize that violence begats violence? That until children can experience a childhood free of atrocities that mankind cannot progress?

scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm in agreement with Post 2 on this one in regards to The Kite Runner. Assef represents the opposite version of the original post. He was not brutalized as a child; rather, he grew up wealthy and spoiled and still chooses to inflict pain on others. Hassan, who actually is brutalized as a child, grows up to be forgiving, loyal, and wise. Thus, it would be difficult to express the original post as a theme of the novel.

howesk eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Regarding your final statement about brutalized children growing up to inflict their wounds on others... I'm not sure this is actually the case in The Kite Runner. Amir adapts relatively well to his past and turns his pain into care for Sohrab. I think the story ends relatively optimistically, as it seems Sohrab may even have the potential to heal with his new family.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think I have to agree with the other posts - what is celebrated in this novel and in others like it is humanity's ability to survive and thrive in incredibly inauspicious situations that we think would crush or dominate us. In response to your earlier point, I think unfortunately that the study of history shows man's irresponsible nature and his inability to learn.

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The Kite Runner

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