Some would say there is no bond stronger than the bond between a father and his son. In The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, the author uses the bond that exists between a father and his son in order to demonstrate the need for a positive empathetic relationship between a father and his son. This means that the father needs to think about his son’s feelings and how his actions affect his son (and vice versa). The relationships within the novel that clearly demonstrate this are the relationships between Amir and Baba, Baba and Hassan, and Sohrab and Amir.
Amir and his father, Baba, had a strained relationship. Throughout the novel the reader sees Baba’s deeply rooted non-empathetic treatment towards Amir’s feelings, with that, he doesn’t understand how much Amir needs and craves his approval. On page 23 Baba says, “He’s always buried in those books or shuffling around the house like he’s lost in some dream… I wasn’t like that", in saying this Baba sounds “frustrated, almost angry” (23), because he wants Amir to be just like him, with that, Baba rejects him when he doesn’t turn out exactly the way he wants. Baba also neglects his son by saying “If I hadn’t seen the doctor pull him out of my wife with my own eyes, I’d never believe he’s my son” (25). This shows that Baba shows little to no empathy for Hassan, and without that, a relationship cannot operate in a healthy manner. And, when Amir hears Baba talk like this it only drives the wedge deeper between them by leading to Amir resenting Baba, leading to more resentment on both sides.
Despite his apparent dismay for Amir, Baba always treated his slave/son, Hassan, with favor and respect. Throughout the story the reader sees Hassan show courage, bravery, and compassion, all traits that Baba wished Amir would have had. With that, Baba holds Hassan in a seemingly higher regard and makes this very clear to Amir, showing his lack of empathy towards Amir. This leads to Amir being full of jealousy over how well Baba treats Hassan leading to more resentment between the two.This relationship between Baba and Hassan shows that when there is respect and empathy in the father and son relationship, it will continue to grow and thrive, yet if that directly undermines and degrades another father son relationship, it will only make that other relationship worse.
In the story, Amir takes a journey to find and adopt his (now dead) brother Hassan’s son, Sohrab. When he finds the boy he saves him from a seemingly awful life as a slave. Initially Amir makes some mistakes when not showing empathy by not realizing how truly his life was before Amir arrived, yet he recovers and learns. When bringing Sohrab to America Amir realizes how to show empathy for Sohrab by respecting him and defending him while he makes a tough transition. In the end Sohrab finally begins to bond with Amir showing him that he recognizes his empathy and respect for him. This shows how having empathy for someone is another form of respecting someone and for a relationship to thrive there needs to be mutual respect.
In The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini uses the tension and hardships between a son and his father to demonstrate the need for a positive empathetic father son relationship in one’s life. He demonstrates this through the troubled relationship between Baba and Amir in contrast to thepositive and caring relationship between Baba and Hassan. These relationships show how disregard and neglect for one’s feelings can often lead to the degrading of a father and son’s relationship. Yet Amir and Sohrab’s relationship show how empathy and respect can create a strong positive bond for the father and son. In the end, the father son relationships in The Kite Runner show that an an empathetic fatherly figure is necessary in properly raising and developing a relationship with a son.