In The Kite Runner, Amir thinks, "I wanted to be just like Baba and I wanted to be nothing like him." What does he mean?

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scarletpimpernel's profile pic

scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Amir wants to be like Baba as a father in several ways.

-He would like to command respect as Baba always did because other people's approval is obviously very important to Amir.

-He would like to be willing to sacrifice for his child as Baba sacrificed for him.  While Baba does not seem to give up much for Amir in the first 8 chapters of the novel, when he leaves Afghanistan, he sacrifices everythingfor Amir (wealth, status, comfort, recognition, home, etc.).

However, Amir certainly does not want to emulate Baba's

-inability to show approval toward a child who longs for it

-secrets which harm his children (Hassan's true origin, Amir's feeling of betrayal)

-emotional distance

droark's profile pic

droark | High School Teacher

Posted on

This quotation represents how complex Amir's relationship with his father is. On one hand, he respects is father's personality and his accomplishments. He is proud that his father is such a strong man and he knows that his father is a great person. For example, his father gave money to found an orphanage.

However, Baba does not give Amir the love and affection he craves. Amir wants to please his father but he knows that his father does not understand him. Baba is confused by Amir because he is not like he was when he was young. Amir is more interested in books and Baba was always more interested in sports. It is for this reason that Amir does not want to be like his father because he both knows that is not who he really is and he does not want to emulate his father's coldness towards him.

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