In "The Kite Runner," why did Amir feel he needed the acceptance of his father and how did he go about getting it?
Amir needed the acceptance of his father because he felt so much guilt over his mother's death and his father's grief over it. Amir felt that he was the cause of his mother's death, that he literally suckled the life from her. He was only an infant, but when Amir's father found his mother he was at her breast and she was dead.
Amir tried several avenues to gain this acceptance. He was not an athlete, which upset his father. He was not tough, he had trouble defending himself Hassan had to fight his battles for him. Amir could fight kites and this made his father proud. He won the neighborhood championship, but it was at the cost of Hassan's childhood and innocence. Amir gained his father's acceptance for a short time, but it faded away. Amir tried the rest of his father's life to please him. He became educated, he married the right woman, he cared for his father, and in the end he never truly felt love from his father.
Amir was plagued by the need to win his father's love even when he already had it. In striving for this love, he was put at odds with his best friend, Hassan. Amir felt he had something to prove, and he was jealous of the relationship his father seemed to have with Hassan. Ironically, Hassan was considered almost less than human as he was a Hazara, and Amir's jealousy was unfounded.
Throughout the entire novel, Hassan tries to prove to Baba that he deserves his love and respect. He wins the kite competition, yet betrays Hassan at the same time. Unfortunately, Amir sees his father as a hero (Chap. 10), and he spends his entire life striving to become the same type of hero. However, Amir learns after he rescues Sohrab, that becoming a hero must come from the heart, and the kite becomes a metaphor for hope even though Baba is dead.