In The Kite Runner, how does Soraya and Amir's relationship reflect Afghan and American cultures?

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Amir and Soraya both share a common heritage although they meet on common ground (poor and reconstructing their lives) in California. Even if their families must adapt to the rigour of their present condition and integrate into American culture, they keep ancestral traditions, particularly portrayed in the events of Amir's...

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courtship of Soraya and their marriage.  All the pomp and circumstance of the protocol, Afghan style, is here, particularly the need not just for parental permission but for their blessing as well.  These events are the link between their adolescence and adulthood and between their old culture and their new start in life in America.

Another aspect of their double identity are the circumstances of their encounter. Soraya has been "tainted" by a previous sexual experience and, according to Afghan tradition, not eligible for marriage because she is no longer a virgin. Amir fully accepts her, even admires her, since she is transparent about her past, something he himself could never do. The fact Amir and Soraya marry according to Occidental standards instead of denying a relationship to respect Afghan tradition shows that they have both made a definite step towards the freedom and personal responsibility they must now assume.

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In The Kite Runner, how is Soraya and Amir's relationship part Afghan and part American?

The American component of the relationship between Soraya Taheri and Amir is in the idea that each of them wish to pursue their own lives.  Soraya wishes to become a teacher and to live her own life in accordance to the freedom that America offers.  For Amir, his own identity and his own sense of narrative is equally defined by the freedom intrinsic to America.  Soraya has acted upon this freedom, as seen in her running away to Virginia to live with a man that was not her husband.  The Afghan culture, though, is also evident in their relationship.  The days in which Amir would see her again at the market was described in a uniquely Afghan manner: "starless night tormented lovers kept vigil enduring the endless dark waiting for the sun to rise and bring with it their loved one." This yearning and sense of pain is a part of the Afghan element that is a part of their relationship.  At the same time, the arranged marriage element, seeking consent from the elders, is an Afghan cultural construct, not an American one.  There is also an Afghan cultural remnant evident when the couple feels emptiness and pain at their inability to conceive a child.  It is here where I think that another element of Afghan culture can be seen in their relationship, as the avenue of adoption is more openly received in the West as in Afghanistan.

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