What are the similarities and differences of the Parent-Child Relationships in the novel The Kite Runner?

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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An interesting comparison/contrast can be made between Hassan's relationship with Ali and Amir's relationship with Baba. Although Ali is not Hassan's biological father, he is his father in life, fulfilling that role in every way.

Ali and Baba, without wives, each raise their sons according to their social status in life and each man acts in good faith, believing his actions are in his son's best interests, but there the similarity ends.

Ali treats Hassan with love and acceptance. Having been tormented in his own childhood for his crippled appearance, he understands the stigma Hassan bears as the result of his facial deformity. After Hassan's birth, Ali's wife leaves him, but Ali never blames or punishes Hassan as the cause of his being abandoned. He chooses instead to love his son and do the best he can for him. When Hassan is falsely accused of being a thief in Baba's house, Ali leaves, taking his son with him. Ali would never abandon Hassan.

In contrast, Baba does not understand, accept, or value Amir's individuality when Amir is a child, and he does not understand, accept, or value Amir's choice of careers as a adult. He feels separate and estranged from his son through most of Amir's life. Baba tells his friend Rahim that if he had not witnessed Amir's birth, he would not believe Amir even was his son.

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parkerlee eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I suppose you mean the difference between Amir's relationship to his father Baba and Hassan's (to the same):

Although the reader does not learn this until the end of the story, the critical difference is that of legitimacy. Being Baba's 'only' son,  Amir benefits materially and socially from his father's wealth and prestige. He grows up in a household where there is considerable wealth and ease. He invites playmates over,...

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