What exactly does The Kite Runner say about issues of social class, and how does this relate to us in society today?What exactly does The Kite Runner say about issues of social class, and how does...

What exactly does The Kite Runner say about issues of social class, and how does this relate to us in society today?

What exactly does The Kite Runner say about issues of social class, and how does this relate to us in society today?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout the novel, Khaled Hosseini depicts the oppression and persecution of the Hazara ethnic group in Afghanistan at the hands of the ruling Pashtuns. Hosseini illustrates the marginalized Hazaras through the characters Ali, Hassan, and Sohrab. Ali and his son are both Shiite Hazaras who live in poverty and are subservient to Baba and Amir. They are routinely criticized because of their ethnicity and are even persecuted throughout the novel. Hassan does not attend school, and Amir refuses to openly acknowledge their friendship because Hassan occupies a lower social class. Baba also hides the fact that Hassan is his son due to the conflicting social climate between Pashtuns and Hazaras. Later on in the novel, Rahim Khan explains to Amir how the Sunni Taliban soldiers massacred Hazaras in the street. Despite the social conflict between the two different ethnic groups, Hosseini portrays Amir and Hassan's bond in a positive light, as well as Baba and Ali's close relationship. The four characters get along extremely well but are forbidden to express their true emotions about each other because of the cultural tension. Essentially, Hosseini indirectly states that despite ethnic differences, all humans are inherently equal and should be given appropriate civil rights. It is a shame that social status and cultural conflicts prevent Amir and Baba from openly expressing their love for Ali and Hassan.

There are still many minority ethnic groups throughout the world that are oppressed and marginalized. From the Muslim Rohingya living in a majority Buddhist Myanmar to the persecuted Christians living in Syria, minorities are frequently marginalized throughout various parts of the world. The social conflict and difficult relationships illustrated throughout The Kite Runner remain relevant in today's society.

Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The contrast between social classes is seen in Amir and his friend Hassan. Amir is the son of Baba, a wealthy businessman and a Sunni Muslim. They live a life of privilege and comfort in a fine home and enjoy every social advantage. Amir goes to school, owns books, and reads well. Hassan, however, is a member of Hazara, an ethnic minority in Afghanistan who can be recognized by their distinct ethnic features. The Hazara make up the lowest class in Afghan society; individually and as a group, they are reviled, rejected, and dismissed as human beings. They live lives of abject poverty and discrimination.

Ali, Hassan's father, is a servant to Baba. Hassan acts as Amir's personal servant. They live on Baba's property, but not in Baba's house. Their home is a small, crude dwelling. They live in poverty, although Baba treats them well in other ways. Amir and Hassan grow up as close childhood friends, but Amir never forgets--and never lets Hassan forget--the difference in their social classes. Neither boy questions why Amir is Hassan's social superior.

Racial and ethnic discrimination still exist in our society, but it is no longer accepted as the social norm. Furthermore, many laws have been enacted to protect members of minority groups. In our society, a person is not labeled by his heritage and forced to remain in poverty as a member of a predetermined "lower class." Being able to get an education (free public education is available to all) and improve one's life is the foundation of the American Dream.

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The Kite Runner

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