Throughout the novel, Hassan seems to express an almost fantastic devotion to Amir and his family, and we customarily read this degree of devotion as a quality that makes him an almost complete victim. Yet we rarely associate victimhood with bravery, and Hassan is also undeniably brave. Also, there is a passage where Amir looks at Hassan and says “suddenly I had the feeling I was looking at a two faces, the one I knew that was my first memory, and another face, a second face, this one lurking beneath the surface.”(Hosseini 54) This incident brings up the idea that there is “another Hassan”–one Amir rarely sees–existing in a kind of psychological shadow state beneath the surface. In your essay you will need to define what a victim is and decide if Hassan meets this definition, and interpret who this “other Hassan” is. Bear in mind that we typically think of a victim as someone who is passive and subjected to acts against his or her will, but much of what Hassan does that results in his victimization seems to be a matter of choice. You must address this contradiction in your essay. Finally, you must address the underlying point of view the novel problematically presents: that one person’s victimization seems necessary and legitimated by another’s atonement and growth. Points and passages to consider: Is Hassan punishing Amir by not hitting him with the pomegranete? To what extent are Hassan’s actions a matter of loyalty and could they be interpreted in another way? Is Amir a victim in any way, and how would you compare his victimization to Hassan’s? Also, if Amir’s choices are choices of default and made from confusion or fear, how do we come to terms with the fact that Hassan’s bravery–arguably well considered–results in his victimization in way that seem somehow pointless?
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