The Portrait of Sohrab. Sayana Balzhinova, 4th year student, BSU, Ulan-Ude

Sohrab is the son of Hassan, a boy with the difficult life. He was born in the winter of 1990. He was a beautiful and cute boy with moon face and kind smile like his father had. His father gave him a name of his favourite character Sohrab from the Shahnamah  - the saga about Rustem and Sohrab.

When his mother was pregnant with Sohrab, his father’s mother Sanaubar came back. She was attached to him so much. When Sohrab was two years old, they were inseparable, he called her Sasa. They loved each other very much.

When he was eight years old he was a real sniper. Hassan taught him how to shoot the slingshot. He could stand on the terrace and hit a pinecone propped on a pail halfway across the yard. His father and Rahim Khan taught him reading and writing because Hassan did not want his son to be an uneducated person like his father was. Sohrab learnt very fast he was a smart and very talented boy.

In the wintertime, Hassan took Sohrab kite running. I think Hassan tried to teach his son those things he himself did very well: kite running and shooting the slingshot. They were Hazara and he couldn’t give him everything he wanted but tried to teach what he knew himself. Hassan was a good father, Sohrab loved him very much. He is greatly resembled his father like a reflection in the mirror: about the appearance, his father’s temper and interests. Hassan was proud of his son, he was happy for Sohrab. He wanted his son to be a smart and successful man in life.

Another man who affected Sohrab and loved him very much was Rahim Khan. Rahim Khan was attached to him; saw his first steps and words. When Sohrab was a little boy he used to buy him books and balloons.

In spite of the fact that he and his family lived in poverty, and their life was hard, Sohrab grew up very a kind-hearted, brave, just and conscientious young man. He appreciated his family; respected his father and Rahim Khan. They were an example of  decent men for him. In the text they both are the teachers for Sohrab.

But unfortunately in Sohrab’s life there were a lot of losses. The first was when he was four years old: his grandmother Sasa died. Then his father and mother were killed by Talibs when he was about 10 years old. And he was sent to an orphanage somewhere in Karteh-She. Zaman, the director of the orphanage sold him to one Talib, who was named Assef – Amir and Hassan’s old enemy.

Assef is the image of evil. The moment when Sohrab was living in Talibs’ house was the hardest one. He lived under the pressure of the violence, he was raped by Assef. It broke him down, he closed in himself. And at this moment Amir appeared as a savior. Honestly, they both were saviors for each other. Amir helped him to flee from Assef’s oppression and he took him with himself to America.  Sohrab was a savior for Amir too; he was like a second chance for Amir to be good again. Sohrab was like a lifebuoy: he stopped Assef when he was beating Amir; he shot Assef’s left eye. Sohrab did what his father couldn’t do many years ago. It was justice. It shows Sohrab’s boldness. May be he seemed unprotected but he was always ready. He was inseparable from the slingshot. He tucked it in the waist of his pants everywhere he went. At this episode the slingshot appears like the image of instrument of justice which punishes the evil.

But Amir and Sohrab’s connection was going hard. Long time Sohrab lived in violence. At the beginning he kept silence, indifferently looking at the floor or at TV. When they were in Islamabad, Sohrab run away from Amir to Shah Faisal Mosque. Sohrab felt guilt and shame about what he did with Assef and what Assef did with him. He said that he was so dirty and full of sins. He was ashamed before his family. He came to the mosque for the forgiveness; he wanted to be clean, to feel himself better. Here we can see another image which goes through Sohrab’s story; it is the image of forgiveness, the light, clear and holy place which helped him to become more open to Amir. It was the first time when they speak with each other openly.

In Sohrab’s life there were three horrible moments: the first – when he lost his parents, the second – when he was sent to Assef and the third – when he and Amir went to the lawyer to tell about adoption. The lawyer said Amir that it would be better if Sohrab lived in the orphanage for some time. When Amir told him about that it was the last drop which overfilled the bowl of patience. He thought it would be the end if he again went to live in the orphanage: again violence, pain, humiliations. It made him believe that there was only one way out – to stop living and commit suicide. He was saved but closed in himself for a year.

At the end of the story the ice between Amir and Sohrab melted. Amir took Sohrab kite running. It was the first time for a year when Sohrab smiled.

The image of the kite goes through the whole story as the image of freedom. It flies with the freedom in the sky and it gives the feeling of freedom. At the end of the story this kite helped Sohrab to open his heart to Amir. The kite reminded him how it was wonderful and joyful to run with a kite in hands with his father, and now he was with his uncle, with his new family far from his horrible past times.

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