The Portrait of Assef. Anna Serebrennikova, 4th year student, BSU, Ulan-Ude

I’m going to present an analysis of the minor character of the novel The Kite Runner, which was written by Afghan – American author Khaled Hosseini.

Everyone knows that people have 2 sides of their temper, which include a good part and a bad one. But, it is natural, that sometimes a man could express only his bad side. In the novel The Kite Runner it is Assef. The author chooses this name not by chance; it has a special meaning – to be powerful. This name reflects the main trades of character of Assef. The author introduces Assef to the reader when he first encounters Amir. Amir tells that Assef is the son of one of his father’s friends, Mahmood, an airline pilot. His family lives a few streets south of Baba’s home. Born to a German mother and Afghan father, the blond, blue-eyed Assef towered over the other kids.  We may suppose that Assef is a very spoil boy, being a single child in the family, because the author doesn’t give some information about his brothers or sisters. More over, it is clear that Assef comes from a rich family, that’s why he has a good reputation in the society. To underline these ideas the author uses epithets: “His well‑earned reputation for savagery preceded him on the streets”


It is possible, that Assef has friends because of the fact that his father has money and all Assef’s friends were under his influence, to show it the author compares him with a Khan, with the use of simile “Flanked by his obeying friends, he walked the neighborhood like a Khan strolling through his land with his eager‑to‑please entourage”. In this example, we can observe another epithet “obeying friends”, which underline the idea that Assef has a power over his friends, and even makes them do what he wanted. Assef is a good psychologist, because he exactly knows what to say to offend and to feel hurt. He is very provocative, because of his manner to bully without any reason, judging by this we may say that he is good in manipulating people; he even knows how other children could react to his words. Also He is excellent on putting on a mask to outsiders such as parents; he makes them believe that he is an obedient and a very good child.

It is unusual that Assef in his early age has an idol in the face of Hitler. Judging by this fact, we may say that he is smart, because not every child can understand the ideology and Hitler’s ideas, and to choose a person who will become a kind of idol in his life. At the same time, we see that he is only a child, who identifies his sense of life in the book.

“Do you know what I will tell Daoud Khan the next time he comes to our house for dinner?” Assef said. “I’m going to have a little chat with him, man to man, mard  tomard . Tell him what I told my mother. About  Hitler. Now, there was a leader. A great leader.A man with vision. I’ll tell Daoud Khan to remember that if they had let Hitler finish what he had started, the world be a better place now.”

Well, he is very cruel and violent. The brass knuckles that he continues to carry around are a symbol for his brutality, he repeatedly beats other children. He even is able to rape Hassan, and later his son, because of his rancor.

He doesn’t recognize other nations, minorities that’s why we can say that he is intolerant and hateful. To be an adult, he follows Talibans, who are responsible for murders of thousands people. He will never change, and he will never regret about his mistakes. . He evolves from a child who uses violence to make others fear him, and rules his neighborhood, to a Taliban who can freely commit crimes with the help of religion.

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