The Kite Runner

How is the story of Rostam and Sohrab an allegory for Baba and Amir's relationship?

chapter 7

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Although you can read the story of "Rostam and Sohrab" as an allegory for Baba and Amir's relationship, we think the most obvious parallel is to Amir and Hassan. Amir doesn't kill Hassan directly, but he does bring about Hassan's exile from Baba's household. This exile eventually places Hassan in a situation where he is killed. Amir, to some extent, takes the blame for Hassan's death. Like Rostam, Amir figures out much too late who fathered Hassan. We think you could very easily substitute "brothers" for "sons" in the final sentence: "After all, don't we all in our secret hearts harbor a desire to kill our brothers?" ("Cain and Abel" seems just as appropriate as "Rostam and Sohrab.")


Hassan's favorite book by far was the Shahnamah, the tenth-century epic of ancient Persian heroes. He liked all of the chapters, the shahs of old, Feridoun, Zal, and Rudabeh. But his favorite story, and mine, was "Rostam and Sohrab," the tale of the great warrior Rostam and his fleet-footed horse, Rakhsh. Rostam mortally wounds his valiant nemesis, Sohrab, in battle, only to discover that Sohrab is his long-lost son. Stricken with grief, Rostam hears his son's dying words:

If thou art indeed my father, then hast thou stained thy sword in the life-blood of thy son. And thou didst it of thine obstinacy. For I sought to turn thee unto love, and I implored of thee thy name, for I thought to behold in thee the tokens recounted of my mother. But I appealed unto thy heart in vain, and now is the time gone for meeting.. Did Bubba slay Amir? Well the metaphor is there but not as strong as that if you consider Amir and Hassan.