In The Kite Runner, what is the role of Nang and Namoos and how does it shape Baba's actions in a positive way?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Nang and namoos--defined as "pride" and "honor or dignity" in The Kite Runner--are probably the most important elements of Baba's character. Be it in Kabul, where he outwardly wears his pride of family history and financial accomplishments; or on his flight from Afghanistan, when he risks his life by standing up to the Russian soldier; or in California, where he maintains the strict Afghan way of life as much as possible in a faraway land, Baba lives by these principles and preaches his strict ethic to Amir. The Afghan terms are specifically mentioned during Amir's first meetings with his future wife, Soraya. Baba warns his son to take care when speaking with General Taheri and his daughter. They may be living in California, but theirs is still the Afghan way. Baba and Amir's relationship has progressed far enough that the father does not discourage his son from wooing the girl with a questionable past, but he does demand that nang and namoos be present when doing so. Important as these principles are for Baba in his social and financial dealings in Afghanistan, he is guilty of straying from them himself: His secret concerning Hassan's heritage is the most glaring example, and keeping it to the grave eventually troubles Amir when he discovers the truth. Nevertheless, Baba's friends consider him a man of unquestioned honor and dignity, and even dying of cancer, he lives his life by these principles.

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The Kite Runner

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