The story somehow gives a glimpse of both cultures, the American and the Afghanistan culture, though most of these are implicitly stated by the author of the novel. Let us looking at the pictures and the details one by one and start from the not-so-implicit statements that readily reveals the culture of both.
The first chapter of the novel reveals that Amir, the leading character or the protagonist of the novel, has a Hazara servant named Hassan who is always beside Amir that is why they becomes friend. Amir comes from the higher class of society (Magill Book Reviews). This scenario simply shows what system Afghanistan has at that time and what American does not have. This is the slavery system. Obviously, even today, most of the countries in the Middle East steal haves this but it goes a little milder since they are now calling them ‘servant’ which today has different context meaning than how it was used in the novel.
Now, let us look at the differ things such as the values that are incorporated in the American and the Afghanistan culture and are somewhat depicted in the novel. The novel mainly focuses on the mishaps, friendships and betrayal. I cannot readily stated if one of them or some of them are unique or have distinct characteristics at any of the culture but certainly, they are mainly classified as universal, that is, it depends heavily really on the person and not only on the nation where they belong. But let us not forget the fact that cultures have a great role in shaping one’s personality. What I’d like to point out is to look at how American and Afghan would react to the three things stated above.
Based on the novel, Amir really is not courageous and that he loves literature more than any other physical things or sports except kite flying. Even though there are many misfortunes that happens throughout Amir’s life, he still faces all the challenges. From the moment he let Hassan down by not helping him while Assef is beating Hassan, to the suicidal attempt of the son of Hassan, Sohrab, Amir still put his best foot to battle the doubts and mishaps. Well, this is human nature. Even if American or Afghan is in this situation, he will surely kept the battle moving and eventually tries every means he can think of just to win the battle. Maybe, they can differ on how they will fight this battle. An Afghan, by the teaching of the Islam, might settle for a peaceful mean, while an American might do the same or set some ways, by all cost, to push what he wants.
If we talk of friendship, we cannot set aside the concept of betrayal. In the novel, there are many cases of betrayal – Amir to Hassan, Baba to Hassan as he hides his being or the secret of Hassan to be his illegitimate son, and Amir to Sohrab, as he still let Sohran to stay in the orphanage (Hower). Friendship is such a hard word to explain, not as easy as how betrayal can be defined. The cause of friendship between Amir and Hassan is the time they stayed together. In some point in the novel, implicitly, Amir left Hassan. If we look at this scenario in the novel and compare it with how the cultures of American and Afghan would allow, then we are really are in great trouble. As again, friendship and betrayal is more of a personality issue and nor race issue. But then let us look at how culture of both of them would treat these matters. Both cultures embraced friendship and hated betrayal and that both relatively have the same degree or classification on how one becomes friend. Maybe the difference might lie on the way they treat or regards friend and how they deal with betrayal, and as depicted by the novel there is no much difference.
Truly, the comparison of cultures is not an easy task. One major reason is that the as depicted or narrated in the novel, the culture differences can only be seen when Amir goes to the United States and lived a simple life. Hence, the same person experienced the cultures, that’s why it cannot be explained in individuality’s point of view. Overall, the novel is more of the generality of traits and it is really fun reading it.
Magill Book Reviews. The Kite Runner. 13 July 2007. <http://www.enotes.com/salem-lit/kite-runner>.
Hower, Edward. August 3, 2003. The Servant. 13 July 2007. <http://query.nytimes.com/ gst/fullpage.html?res=9504E0DF123FF930A3575BC0A9965C8B63>.