The two boys, Amir and Hassan, lead parallel lives but have very different personalities. How do their similarities and differences help define their relationship?
At the beginning of the novel, Amir and Hassan are best friends who spend numerous hours playing as children. The two friends, who are actually half-brothers, share some similarities even though they have different personalities and talents. Amir, being a privileged Pashtun, is educated and loves to read. Like Amir, Hassan also enjoys literature, but cannot read because he is an oppressed Hazara who is not given the opportunity to go to school. Since Amir is literate, he reads to Hassan who listens and discusses the stories with him. Their affinity for literature and epic tales brings them closer together. Physically, Hassan is the more athletic of the two characters and excels in all sports. Unlike Hassan, Amir is awkward and is not interested in athletics. However, the two boys both share an interest in kite fighting. Amir steers the kite while Hassan chases after the fallen kites. The two make an excellent pair and they both share in the success of winning the kite fighting tournament. The characters also have different personalities but share similar interests. Amir lacks confidence and wishes to gain his father’s approval. In contrast, Hassan is confident, yet humble. Hassan is willing to give Amir attention and is content at letting Amir be the “leader.” Despite their different personalities, Amir and Hassan get along well because they complement each other.