What are the ironies between the characters in "The Kite Runner?"

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The ironies found in the relationship between Amir and Hassan are numerous and frequently very poignant.

Hassan, small and somewhat frail, risks his own safety to save Amir from bullies. His is an act of love and courage. Subsequently, however, Amir makes no attempt to save Hassan from the same young thugs and wordlessly allows the sexual assault of his friend.

Shamed by his own cowardice, Amir cannot bear to be in Hassan's presence. Hassan is a living reminder to Amir of what he perceives to be his own worthlessness. This situation leads to another irony. Amir selfishly plants some of his birthday gifts in Hassan's room, and then deceives his father by naming Hassan as the thief. Hassan leaves the household, losing the only home he has ever really known. Ironically, however, Hassan never stops loving his friend Amir, even though he knows Amir has betrayed him.

Hassan is the catalyst for Amir's spiritual downfall. Ironically, he is also the catalyst for Amir's spiritual redemption. Years later, Amir returns to Afghanistan, risks his life, and suffers great physical injury to save Sorab, Hassan's orphaned son. His courage and his growing love for Sorab allow him to atone for his earlier cowardice and betrayals of Hassan.

Perhaps the greatest irony is this. As children, Amir and Hassan defied their culture's class structure to bond as brothers, not knowing they are brothers--both sons of Baba.

ladyvols1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The major irony that I saw in the novel was the difference between Amir and Hassan.  Amir is from an upper caste family and is supposed to be educated, trustworthy, and honorable.  Hassan is a servant, he might be expected to be bitter, angry, and hateful.  The major irony for me is that these two characters are exactly the opposite of what their sterotypes are expected to be.  Hassan is full of integrity, honest, loving and loyal while Amir is secretive, bitter, angry, and guilt-ridden.  Hassan would give his life for his friend; Amir turned his back on Hassan when he was needed the most.  The money, easy living conditions, education and stability enjoyed by Amir did nothing to help his personality.  Hassan is my favorite character and the irony that he dies in such a terrible manner just doesn't seem fair.

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The Kite Runner

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