The Kite Runner

Assef: Why Is He the Way He Is? 12th Grade

In the novel The Kite Runner, author Khaled Hosseini focuses on many critical parts of life. The main character, Amir, struggles to find redemption throughout the story, and finally finds it when he rescues Sohrab, his half-brother Hassan’s son, from the man who also tormented Hassan in childhood. That man, Assef, is the primary external antagonist of the novel. In the beginning of the novel, he rapes Hassan because Hassan is a Hazara and refuses to betray Amir by giving Assef the kite that Amir won. When Amir returns to Afghanistan after years of living in America, in order to rescue Sohrab, he finds that Assef has joined the Taliban. Amir also learns that Assef is the man who took Sohrab and has abused him. In contrast to Amir, who constantly strives for a redemption which he feels is unattainable, Assef never feels that he needs to be redeemed. With everything that Assef did in the novel, how can he not feel guilty and not be actively seeking redemption?

Merriam-Webster defines a sociopath as “someone who behaves in a dangerous or violent way towards other people and does not feel guilty about such behavior.” Over the course of the novel we, as readers, are given plenty of evidence that Assef is clearly a sociopath. It could...

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