Amir: Character Analysis
Amir, the protagonist in the book is shaped by the hierarchy of needs by Maslow; the human needs are arranged in levels from the lowest to the highest whereby one has to satisfy the lower levels before going to the higher levels. One’s behavior and choice of friends are determined by the hierarchy of needs he belongs to. As the son of an affluent widower, Amir shared much of his childhood with Hassan as a friend. Hassan was Amir’s dearest friend who assisted him in most case but Amir never referred to him as a friend; this was motivated by the difference in their social background, Amir’s level was higher than Hassan’s level in the hierarchy because Hassan was a son of a servant, Ali.
The third level of the hierarchy of needs is about love and belonging, Amir tried to work hard and win the local kite tournament so that he can get the love and affection from his father (Northouse 98). Amir was working hard to get his father’s respect because the lower levels of his needs were already satisfied. The kite that he had won however lands Hassan in problems because it led to him meeting Assef who raped him as Amir watched. Amir’s craving for Baba’s love lures him into planting a watch and some money in Hassan’s bed so that Hassan could be sent away so that the guilty that Amir feels could end and his Baba’s attention and affection could be directed to him. Amir was jealous of the way Ali loved Hassan, he even recounts that moment, “Hassan was crying. Ali pulled him close, clutched him with tenderness. Later, I would tell myself I hadn’t felt envious of Hassan. Not at all.”(Hosseini 35)
Needs like food, water, shelter, security, and freedom are very important to any individual, the need for these essential needs to force Amir and Baba to leave Afghanistan and head to America. They moved to America because of the Soviet invasion which in turn threatened their safety and wellbeing. Baba and Amir are forced to sell used commodities in the flea market while in America so that they can sustain themselves. They did this although they were living an affluent life in Afghanistan to satisfy their basic needs like food.
Any human being will be pleased to be successful and to achieve something that can make him/her command respect and finally get self-actualization (Helgoe 40). Rahim Khan used to encourage Amir to write because he had the potential to write. Amir enrolls for a major in English to help in his writing endeavors. Amir’s writing is motivated by his wish to reach self-actualization. His confidence to go back to Afghanistan to see Rahim Khan so that he can get to know the whole truth shows the need for self-actualization (Forster).
Before someone reaches the level of achieving self-esteem, the other levels like family, spouse, and a lover that gives someone a sense of belonging must be attained first. Amir like any man needed a wife to have a family to raise and the affection that comes to it. He is attracted to Soraya, general Taheri’s daughter who she later married. Getting a spouse is achieving one of the levels in the hierarchy of needs that motivates every individual to try and achieve in life.
Helgoe, Robert. Hierarchy of Recovery: From Abstinence to Self-Actualization. New York: Hazelden, 2002. Print.
Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. Boston: Riverhead, 2004. Print.
Northouse, Peter. Introduction to Leadership: Concepts and Practice. New York: Sage Publications Inc, 2011. Print.
The Kite Runner. Dir. Forster, Marc. Perf. Abdalla, Khalid, and Leoni, Atossa. DreamWorks Video, 2008. DVD.