How are Soraya and Amir alike and different in The Kite Runner?

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Soraya and her father are similar in their pride and will. Both want to follow their own path, but feel the other is wasting his/her talents and time in their current vocation.

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Both Soraya and Amir are ethnic Pashtuns, who immigrated to the United States from Afghanistan. Both Soraya and Amir have powerful, influential fathers, who are dominating figures in their lives. Soraya's father is General Taheri, who places great value on upholding Afghan traditions and is an extremely masculine individual. Similarly, Baba is a strong man, who is renowned for his success in business and intimidating persona. Both Soraya and Amir share an affinity for education and literature. Soraya is a teacher and Amir is a successful writer. Soraya and Amir both have dark pasts, which continue to haunt each of them. Soraya tells Amir that she brought shame to her family after running away with an Afghan man when she was younger and Amir harbors the guilt of not intervening when Assef raped Hassan. While Soraya courageously admits to her past transgressions, Amir initially holds onto his dark secret and only informs Soraya when he feels it is necessary to tell her.

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The characters of Soraya and Amir share many similarities. Both have grown up in Afghanistan as the children of powerful, influential fathers: Baba is a rich philanthropist, while Iqbal Taheri is an army general. Both Amir and Soraya share dark secrets in their past: Amir's betrayal of Hassan haunts him continuously, while Soraya's affair with a past boyfriend has tainted her reputation and caused distress in the family. They have each caused harm to their mothers: Amir's mother died during childbirth, while Soraya's mother suffered a stroke when she ran away from home. Both Amir and Soraya wonder if they are worthy of the other. They each yearn for children, but Soraya is unable to have one of her own. Following their marriage, the relationships with their parents improve, and they seem to thrive on the independence they have apart from them.

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Contrast Amir and Soraya in The Kite Runner.

Amir is the main character of the novel, Kite Runner. He is characterized as a selfish coward for most of his youth.  He also desperately wants the affection of his father Baba, but he feels that he does not have it, because he is so unlike him. Baba is a man of courage, conviction, and principle. Amir is none of these things. Hassan, who is a servant boy, is much more like Baba. So, Amir has mixed feelings when it comes to Hassan. In one instance, he watches Hassan get raped and does nothing about it. And this guilt lingers. When Amir is finally in America, he is much of the same - a selfish young adult. However, he comes to redeem himself in the end, as he faces his demons and becomes a selfless man. He adopts Sohrab and faces Assef with courage (and is even beaten by him). Hence, we a transformation.

When it comes to Soraya, we see a transformation as well. Soraya is the daughter of Afghan general Taheri and his wife. However, she is "damaged goods," because when she fled as a refuge she lived with a man that was not her husband and was no longer a virgin. In this society, this was a huge taboo. Her healing process began when Amir still loved her and wanted to marry her. This also brought complications, because she could not bear children. So, when they adopt Sohrab, the healing process is complete.

In light of the above, both are broken people, bound by their past, and find redemption in each other and an adopted child.

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Contrast Amir and Soraya in The Kite Runner.

Amir and his future bride are similar in many ways, particularly in how they have grown up in the shadow of their powerful fathers and how they are both "damaged goods." Amir cannot sleep at nights because of the guilt he feels for his past sins against Hassan, and for how he has been unable to make Baba proud of him. Soraya's reputation was ruined among the Afghan community in Virginia after she ran away with her boyfriend, and she still feels bullied by her father; and like Amir (who feels Baba blames him for causing his mother's death), she feels guilt for causing her mother's stroke. However, Soraya's confession to Amir concerning her past indiscretion seems to cleanse her own guilt: Amir wishes he had the courage to do the same, but his own guilt only grows when he remains silent.

     I envied her. Her secret was out. Spoken. Dealt with... I suspected there were many ways in which Soraya Taheri was a better person than me. Courage was just one of them.

While Amir seems to be at peace with the way his relationship with Baba had ended, Soraya is still at odds with her father; yet she has a loving mother to fall back on, unlike Amir. The couple had only the most minor of conflicts:

She slept on the right side of the bed, I preferred the left. She liked fluffy pillows, I liked the hard ones. She ate her cereal dry, like a snack, and chased it with milk.

Soraya slept well, while Amir often retreated to the balcony to battle his insomnia. The two disagreed on whether to adopt after discovering that Soraya was infertile. And the "emptiness in Soraya's womb" caused a rift between the two.

It had seeped into our marriage and... in the darkness of our room, I'd feel it rising from Soraya and settling between us.

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How are Amir and Hassan in The Kite Runner and Tariq in A Thousand Splendid Suns similar and different?

A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner are both novels by Khaled Hosseini, and they contain characters that share some significant similarities. Let's look at Tariq, Hassan, and Amir to help you get started on your comparison.

We will start with Tariq. He is a gentle person who truly loves Laila and treats her with great respect. Tariq is also unselfish, and he has the ability to bounce back from the worst situations. His perseverance is remarkable. Even when he must flee for his life, he comes back for Laila. While their beliefs may differ, they treat each other with love, and Tariq raises Laila's children as though they were his own.

Hassan is also a loyal person, gentle and self-sacrificing. Like Tariq, he suffers greatly because of his situation, although Hassan is betrayed by his closest friend along with everything else. Hassan grows up to have a son whom he loves, but he dies before he can raise the boy.

Amir is not nearly as likable a character as Tariq and Hassan, at least at first. Amir has a selfish streak that leads him to betray Hassan. Amir has had a more privileged childhood, and this makes him tend to think of himself before all others. He gets jealous and sometimes feels that Hassan is lower than he is even though Hassan is actually the better person. In the end, though, Amir discovers real love, for he puts himself at risk to save Hassan's son and eventually adopts the boy as his own.

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In The Kite Runner, how are General Taheri and Soraya similar?

In The Kite Runner, Soraya is General Taheri's daughter. General Taheri is a deposed Afghan military man and considers work to be below his status, even though he has none in California. Soraya is deeply devoted to Afghan traditions, but feels the need to rebel.

Their greatest similarities are their strength of will and their pride: Taheri is willing to give his daughter's hand traditionally to Amir, but will not tolerate his seeing and wooing her at the flea market; Soraya wants to teach and pursues this goal even in her traditional role as housewife and mother. When Amir brings a story for Soraya to read, Taheri takes it and throws it away:

"...it’s my duty to remind you that you are among peers in this flea market." He stopped. His expressionless eyes bore into mine. "You see, everyone here is a storyteller." He smiled, revealing perfectly even teeth. "Do pass my respects to your father, Amir jan."

When Baba asks for permission to have Amir marry Soraya, Taheri accepts because it was done properly. Amir then witnesses Soraya's will clashing with her father's:

I could see Soraya holding back, her face tightening. "I'm not a girl, Padar. I'm a married woman. Besides, they'd need teachers too."

"Anyone can teach."
...
"At least I'm not like him, sitting around while other people fight the Shorawi, waiting for when the dust settles so he can move in and reclaim his posh little government position. Teaching may not pay much, but it's what I want to do! It's what I love, and it's a whole lot better than collecting welfare, by the way."
(Quotes: Hosseini, The Kite Runner, Google Books)

Her intention supersedes his, and marriage allows her to better find her own path without his undue influence. Both father and daughter want to follow their own path, but feel the other is wasting his/her talents and time in their current vocation.

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In The Kite Runner, how are Amir and Hassan similar and different as husbands?

In The Kite Runner, we see a lot more of Amir's relationship with Soraya than we do with Hassan and Farzana. In fact, Farzana only appears very briefly in the book. However, there are still comparisons that you can draw about what type of husband each man is.

For one thing, you can see that Amir and Hassan are both committed husbands even though they have different life circumstances. Amir is initially hesitant to marry Soraya, while Hassan's marriage to Farzana is arranged. Yet, once married, they appear to have very caring relationships.

You can also examine how Amir's guilt over his treatment of Hassan in their childhood affects his relationship with Soraya by causing him to feel unworthy of her love. Despite this, Soraya remains very supportive of Amir. They also have the time to work through their marital issues and build a life together.

We do not get too many details about the relationship and its potential challenges with Hassan and his wife. Its tragic end with Hassan's untimely death means that they did not have the chance to grow as a couple like Amir and Soraya. However, we can make assumptions based on what we know of Hassan's character. We know that he is exceptionally loyal to those he loves. This most certainly extended to his relationship with his wife and son. In fact, it is his desire to protect them that leads to his death.

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