The Kite Runner

IRP by Chris Capezzuto

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SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE MOVIE AND BOOK: THEMES, CONFLICTS, SETTINGS, AND MORE

The Haunting Past: In The Kite Runner, all characters share the same trend in that they all have pasts that haunt them, mostly from very traumatizing or traumatic events. In the book, Amir and Sohrab are two of the most visibly affected characters whose pasts have completely warped their personalities because of how scarred they have become. Because of the physical and sexual abuse Sohrab endured, every time Amir tries to touch him, he flinches and squirms and becomes extremely uncomfortable. This much is seen in the movie as well; however, an extremely important aspect of this is left out of the movie. In the book, Sohrab actually attempts to commit suicide when Amir tells him he may have to go back to an orphanage because of how he was abused by Assef. This past that haunts Sohrab so fiercely is due to the unjust, disgusting, and despicable crimes that Assef commits on him. The intensity of the crimes committed is not accurately represented in the movie in contrast to the book. As a result, the main antagonist is not presented as vile as he should in the movie and the viewer is not shown accurately the depth in which these atrocities have shaped an important character in the book.
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SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE MOVIE AND BOOK: THEMES, CONFLICTS, SETTINGS, AND MORE

Hassan's Twelfth Birthday: Hassan's twelfth birthday is an integral part in the book. Up to this point in the story, Hassan has had the deformity of a cleft lip his entire life which had been the feature Amir referred to most in describing him. To have a cleft lip signified that you were poor and your family couldn't afford to have it fixed, which obviously meant he got bullied and beaten up in school. In the book, Baba payed a surgeon to fix Hassan's lip so that he would not appear poor and be looked down upon by society and his peers; this secretly shows Baba's love for Hassan, being his biological father (although at this point neither Amir or Hassan know this). In the movie, the importance of the removal of the cleft lip in the birthday scene is all but cut out and made to be relatively unimportant to the work as a whole. Without this scene in the movie, the viewer can't properly make the connection that the reader can about Baba and Hassan. As a result, one of the main topics of this movie (the love and tension between fathers and sons) isn't properly represented and the overall take of the movie is affected as a result.
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SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE MOVIE AND BOOK: THEMES, CONFLICTS, SETTINGS, AND MORE

The Kites: One of the key similarities that I thought the director of the movie did a fine job in keeping was the overall significance of kites and kite fighting. I understand that the book's title has "kite" in it and it seems unlikely that the director could possibly mess up the main symbol in the book, but at any rate I thought he did a fantastic job in representing it. Kites serve first as a symbol of happiness to Amir as a child when he believes he will make his father proud by becoming a kite fighting champion some day, and then as a symbol of guilt when Amir chooses to let Hassan get raped in order to be able to present his father with the losing kite. After that moment, Amir does not fly a kite again until he does so with Sohrab (Hassan's son) at the end of the novel. The significance of the first flying of a kite with Hassan's son since Hassan was raped shows the reader that the kite is no longer a symbol of guilt for Amir, because if it were, he still wouldn't be flying one. It becomes a symbol of not exactly happiness, but more of a reminder of his childhood in a way that it mirrors the kite's role in the relationship between he and Baba. All of this is correctly represented in the movie as the director realizes the importance of the main topic of the search for redemption as the main character finally achieves redemption and can be at peace with himself. I believe overall that the director approached the film this way because of the limit of time. Like I said in this paragraph, I thought he did a wonderful job representing the kites, but at the same time above I made comments as to how other things were left out. Not everything, I understand, can be fit into a movie and some important things will sometimes be left out. However, I think that overall I was impressed by the similarities the director was able to keep in the film and I'm sure many other people are as well.