How does The Kite Runner show traditional Afghan culture?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The most important part of Afghan culture shown in The Kite Runner is the relationship between Baba, Amir's father, and Ali, Hassan's father. Ali is a Shi'a Hazara, while Baba is a Sunni Pashtun.

The book said part of the reason Pashtuns had oppressed the Hazaras was that Pashtuns were Sunni Muslims, while Hazaras were Shi’a. The book said a lot of things I didn’t know, things my teachers hadn’t mentioned.
(Hosseini, The Kite Runner, Google Books)

From his teachers, Amir sees the cultural blindness towards history that was common in Afghanistan during that time. Despite this, and probably because of his hand in fathering Hassan, Baba is kind and generous to Ali, giving him work and a place to live while others in the village mock him. Amir learns from Baba that sympathy and love for family is stronger than cultural bias. The divide between cultural classes is shown throughout the book, and continues when Amir's family moves to California, where they mingle with other refugees; Baba's family line is seen as higher-class because of his heritage.

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The Kite Runner

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