The Role of Social Status and Ethnic Tensions in the Kite Runner The Kite Runner, a very emotional novel, was written by Khaled Hosseini. It is the story of two young boys growing up in Afghanistan named Amir and Hassan. Their different social classes cause tension and they part their separate ways but are later reunited. Amir was the son of a well-known Pashtun while Hassan was his servant and the son of a Hazara. Hassan looked up to Amir in the same way that Amir looked up to Baba, but they had completely different personalities. In The Kite Runner, Hosseini shows ethnic tensions with the characters Hassan, Ali, and Amir.
Hassan is one of the main characters that Hosseini uses to show ethnic tensions. He is constantly picked on for his social status as a Hazara and the way he looks. In Afghanistan mostly everyone is prejudice towards Hazaras. In the novel, Hassan and Amir are walking home one day and a couple of men call Hassan. They said, ‘“You! The Hazara! ”’ (7). They do not care who he is they just know what he is and judge him based on that. Amir read in a book “…that people called Hazaras mice-eating, flat-nosed, load-carrying donkeys. ” (9). These are just some of the names that Hassan was called.
Hassan was often picked on by Assef. He talks to Hassan and Amir one day and says to Amir, ‘“We are the true Afghans, the pure Afghans, not this Flat-Nose here. His people pollute our homeland… They dirty our blood. ”’ (40). Assef is referring to Hassan when he says “His” because he is very hateful towards Hazaras, he wishes they could be wiped off the Earth like Hitler took out most of the Jewish race. Ali, who is Hassan’s Hazara father, is also a character that ethnic tensions are shown through. Even though Ali is a grown man he was picked on just as much as his son is if not more.
The older kids picked on him and called him a monster because he walked with a limp from his crippled leg that came from having polio. They would harass him and say, ‘“Hey, Babalu, who did you eat today? ”…”Who did you eat, you flat-nosed Babalu? ”’ (9). They made it seem like he was terrifying and scary like a big monster while he was really just a nice man that never bothered anybody. Many people thought badly of Ali because he married a woman who ran off with a group of traveling gypsies after she had a baby. Ali did not care what they thought though because “…he ad found his joy, his antidote, the moment Sanaubar had given birth to Hassan. ” (10). He truly loved Hassan with all his heart. He did not care when people made fun of him or teased about his wife being a whore and then running off. “Ali was immune to the insults of his assailants… ” (10). He did not let anyone who stopped in his pathway get in his way of living, he just brushed them off. Amir is yet another character through which Hosseini shows ethnic tensions with social status. Amir and Hassan’s relationship is both helped and damaged because of social status. Then he would remind us that there was a brother hood between people who had fed from the same breast, a kinship that not even time could break. ” (11). This is a setting for the entire novel; it is all about the relationship or brotherhood between Hassan and Amir. Amir always tried to one-up Hassan even though he technically had the better life, everyone liked Hassan more. “…Hassan asked if something was bothering me. I snapped at him, told him to mind his own business. ” (23). Amir always got sassy with him because he felt that Baba, his own father, loved Hassan more than he loved Amir.
It was only because they were secretly half-brothers but Amir did not know that. Amir was very jealous of most things Hassan had, “Later, I would tell myself I hadn’t felt envious of Hassan. Not at all. ” This confirms Amir’s jealousy, he just wanted someone to love him the way Ali and Baba loved Hassan. Really though he had somebody, Hassan loved Amir so much. He looked up to him and basically praised him; he would have done anything for him. He even is raped for him. In The Kite Runner social status plays a big role in ethnic tensions.
The difference between people that are Pashtuns and Hazaras is phenomenal; some of their lives vary greatly. The way Hosseini explains these ethnic tensions in the novel is very well done, I like the way that he gives a background of the different types of people that the characters represent because without that we, as the readers, would be very confused. Hosseini does a wonderful job of showing ethnic tensions through the characters Hassan, Ali, and Amir in the Kite Runner. Works Cited Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. New York: Riverhead, 2004. Print.