Who is Sanaubar and how does she contrast with Amir's mother in The Kite Runner?

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The two women are very different and there is no clear-cut answer as to who Baba loved more. Sanaubar, the less educated of the two, from a lower social class, was beautiful in her youth and became the mother of Hassan. Sofia, the well-educated member of the upper-class Pashtun ruling family, was beautiful at all times and was Baba's wife for a relatively long time. While both women have their qualities and their faults, it appears that neither one can compete with each other or with the memory of Soraya in Baba's heart.

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Amir's mother is described as a princess, while Hassan's mother, Sanaubar, is flighty and abandons her family just after Hassan is born. In essence, the two women are portrayed as polar opposites, at least in the beginning. We don't learn much more about Amir's mother; she remains an almost mythical figure without faults. In death, she becomes more perfect than she probably ever was in life. This is especially hard on Amir because he considers her death his fault. Since she died giving birth to him and since he has no memory of her, he can remember nothing imperfect about her. He killed the perfect mother.

Even so, Amir probably inherited his love of books and literature from his mother. He is the artistic, pacifist son whom Baba loves and resents, partly because of these traits from his mother.

Hassan, on the other hand, is described as being unable to cause pain even while being born. Sanaubar did not have any difficulty in childbirth, and Hassan was smiling immediately after he was born. When Sanaubar returns many years later, she has changed and loves Hassan and his family with all her heart. She has grown, evolved, and redeemed herself. Amir's mother can never change.

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Sanaubar is Hassan's mother, who ran off with a clan of traveling singers and dancers immediately after Hassan was born. Sanaubar was an extremely attractive and promiscuous woman who lived up to her dishonorable reputation. She criticized Ali for his appearance and even refused to hold Hassan when he was born. As a child, Hassan is continually teased by older men about his mother's promiscuity.

In contrast, Amir's mother, Sofia Akrami, was known as one of the most beautiful and highly-respected women in all of Kabul. Sofia Akrami was a descendant of royalty and taught classic Farsi literature at university. Amir developed his love of literature from his mother, and she was remembered as a sweet, educated woman. Tragically, Sofia died giving birth to Amir, which is one of the many reasons Amir believes Baba resents him.

Aside from their exterior beauty, Sanaubar and Sofia Akrami do not have much in common.

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Sanaubar is Hassan’s mother and was Ali’s wife before she left with performing travelers. She abandons Hassan after he is born and is considered immoral in her younger years but she becomes a caring grandmother to Sohrab later on.

Amir’s mother Sofia Akrami is not seen in the novel as she dies when giving birth to Amir. Amir believes his mother to have liked literature just like he does although his father would prefer he participate more in manly activities.

While Sanaubar is considered immoral, Sofia Akrami is considered to have a strong moral sense. Sanubar is from the Hazara ethnic group which is marginalized and considered second class by the Pashtun, a dominant Pakistani ethnic group while Amir’s mother is from a royal Pashtun bloodline.

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Sanuabar is Ali's wife and Hassan's mother. Aside from her beauty, she is the polar opposite of Amir's late mother, Sofia Akrami. While Amir's mother was of royal heritage, a university professor of Farsi literature,

... and one of Kabul's most respected, beautiful, and virtuous ladies...

Sanuabar had apparently prostituted herself before (and possibly during) her marriage to her cousin, Ali. Amir relates the story of Hassan being accosted by a group of soldiers who claim to have had sex with Sanuabar. Shortly after Hassan's birth, Sanuabar

... ran off with a clan of traveling singers and dancers.

Amir discovers much later in the novel that Baba had actually impregnated Sanuabar (Ali was sterile) and that Hassan was actually his own half-brother. So, while Amir's mother was of royal lineage and died while giving birth to Amir, Sanuabar was a tramp who gave bore her son outside of marriage and then soon deserted her Hassan.

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Who is Sanaubar? How is she contrasted to Amir's mother?  

In The Kite Runner, Sanaubar is the wife of Ali and the mother of Hassan.  Amir's mother is Sofia Akrami.  Sofia makes no appearance in the story, since she died in childbirth with Amir, but Sanaubar does make a brief appearance toward the end of the story.  They are certainly in sharp contrast to one another but have a few things in common. 

Sofia was a Pashtun and a Sunni, a member of the ruling class in Afghanistan. She came from a royal family, and was,

...a highly educated woman universally regarded as one of Kabul's most respected, beautiful, and virtuous ladies (Hosseini 15).

Sanaubar, on the other hand, was a Hazara and a Shi'a, part of the underclass in Afghanistan.  While she was considered attractive, with "brilliant green eyes and impish face" (8), it appears that it was her sexiness that made her memorable, sending "men to reveries of infidelity" (8), which led her to have a very bad reputation.  When Hassan was born, with his harelip, she ran away, leaving Ali to raise Hassan on his own, eloping with "a band of singers and dancers" (210).  

She resurfaces after Hassan and his wife have settled in with Rahim Khan, sick, old, feeble, and regretful over all the years she has been gone.  Hassan and his wife nurse her back to health, and she lives long enough to deliver her grandchild, Sohrab, and to see him reach the age of four, when she dies quietly in her sleep.

So, we have two women, both beautiful in their own ways, from opposite ends of the socioeconomic spectrum. Both have had a relationship with Baba, one marital and one adulterous, and both die sadly, one's life cut off far too soon, while the other's life was clearly shortened by the life she has led. 

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