I would like to analyze the minor character Baba, who plays a significant role in the life of the main characters, Amir and Hassan.
He is one of the key characters in the novel, who portraits wisdom and experience of the older generations. Baba is a round and dynamic character as he changes throughout a story. He is a great role model for a young Amir, as he respects his father very much: You can’t love a person who lives that way without fearing him too. Maybe even hating him a little. This shows his attitude toward his father, on the one hand Amir loves him and on the other hand he is frightened by his strong personality.
In the beginning of the story, we get to know Baba though the eyes of his son Amir. He appears to be a rich and respectful family man, who has his own philosophy. Being a religious Muslim, Baba drinks alcohol and does not respect mullahs calling them “bearded idiots”. He does not believe mullahs and he also has Westernized tastes: action movies, American cars, scotch. So, we can not say that Baba is a religious man but he has his own unbreakable philosophy. According to his philosophy the greatest sin is ‘theft’ he believes that there is only one sin.. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft… When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness…. This is, perhaps, one of the most profound quotes in the whole novel. The theft is not thought to be the worst sin in most cases. However, this quote proves this theory to be wrong. It breaks down the word “theft”, it gives it a deeper meaning.
In the end of the novel we learn that Hassan is Baba’s biological son and Amir with a great surprise learns about it from Rahim Khan. Throughout all these years Baba was deceiving him, he stole his right to know the truth. Baba’s philosophy seem unreal even ironical for Amir at that time.
Baba has his strong opinion on the bringing up the children. He thinks that a man should stand up for himself and he is concerned about Amir’s future. Baba speaks to Rahim Khan, his best friend and business partner, about his confusion with Amir, and doesn’t understand why his son’s interests aren’t similar to his own: He’s always buried in those books or shuffling around the house like he’s lost in some dream…I wasn’t like that. Baba sounded frustrated, almost angry. Amir’s early years are very tough because he lost his mother during his own birth, Amir blames himself for his mother’s death, and lacks a relationship with his father.Baba wants his son to be just like him, but when Amir doesn’t turn out exactly the way Baba wants, he rejects and neglects his son, turning him into exactly what Baba doesn’t want his son to be. Even when Amir gets older Baba does not change his mind as he neglects his son’s interest in writing.
Amir respects his father very much but he does not feel love from his father. All Amir ever wanted was his father’s approval. The kite tournament is a great chance for Amir to earn his love. At the kite fighting tournament, Amir cuts down the second place kite, and Hassan, his best friend and servant, runs it for him. This tournament is the climax of the story and the whole Amir’s life divided into two parts: before the kite tournament and after it. Amir betrayed his friend Hassan as he did not help him. Baba is responsible for that incident and he is some kind of a reason of Amir’s betrayal of his best friend.
Baba is a complex and contradictory character in the novel. At the beginning he appears to be a “Mr. Hurricane”. This is the man who wrestled a bear, builds an orphanage. Baba drinks and seems to generally enjoy life. As the time passes, Baba gets older and older; Baba becomes more and more human. He has to work long hours at the gas station, and Amir sees him in a totally different light. Then Baba is diagnosed with cancer. These factors made him emotional and nostalgetic about his life in Kabul. He always reminds years spending in Afghanistan but nevertheless Baba is happy with his own life and feels proud of Amir.
I think he is one of the most influential characters in the novel.