In Chapter Seven, Hosseini uses a significant amount of imagery to portray the violence taking place in the alley. He uses animal imagery to depict the rivalry between Hassan and Assef and his cronies. The alley has been described as ‘blind’, to show that there is no end to it and Hassan is trapped, just like prey being trapped by its predator, in this case Assef. Assef is reminiscent of the head of a pack of wild animals, leading his group and being the first to pounce on the prey.
Hosseini also uses war imagery to describe the tense atmosphere, with Hassan ‘cock[ing] the arm that held the rock’, as if it were a gun. This imagery has also been used to describe the setting as ‘a havoc of scrap and rubble’, or in other words, the aftermath of war. Furthermore, Hosseini uses animal imagery to compare Hassan’s loyalty to Amir, which is like a ‘dog’, as they are known for being extremely loyal to their owner.This leads on to the idea that Amir is Hassan’s owner, as Hassan is a Hazara and Amir is a Pashtun, however Hassan has resigned himself to the fact that social statuses in Afghanistan will never change, and part of the reason for him being so loyal to Amir could be because even though he is of a higher status than him, he actually acknowledges his existence. This social aspect is part of Assesment Objective 4. However, Hosseini has cleverly embodied Amir’s thoughts in Assef’s dialogue, as Amir has always slightly resented himself for taking Hassan somewhat for granted.
For example, he would tease him whenever he did not know a word, or give him a broken toy whenever he felt guilty about being mean to him, showing that he did not even think his ‘friend’ was worth a fully functioning toy. There have been examples of Hassan realising this fact up until now, like the point where he questioned Amir, asking him if he would really ask him to eat dirt for him. Assef asks him if ‘before [he should] sacrifice himself for [Amir], would he do the same for him? This question, I feel, essentially sums up the whole relationship between Amir and Hassan, with Hassan remaining truly loyal to Amir no matter what, but Amir never really returning his affection.
It is as if Amir simply expects Hassan to be like this in the first place, as he is merely his servant. I also feel that this question depicts the similarities between Amir and Assef, as they even think in the same manner. This is ironic because Amir basically hates everything that he himself has become, although he cannot see it. Meanwhile, while watching the events in the alley unfold, Amir becomes ‘paralyzed’.
This shows exactly how, even after the dedication Hassan has shown Amir his whole life, even though the latter’s name was the former’s first word, he is still so much of a coward that he does not even jump in to stop his ‘friend’ being raped – a truly traumatic experience. Yet the whole reason Hassan endures this is simply so that he can walk away with Amir’s prize: the blue kite. Maybe part of the reason that Amir did not help Hassan was because he had always been so jealous of the relationship between his Baba and Hassan; Hassan already had a father, so why should he be allowed to steal Amir’s?Hassan is a better athlete, a better kite runner and a better son than Amir, so Amir basically feels worthless and suffocated by Hassan’s honesty and virtue and he decides to let these feelings get in the way of him actually being able to help his only real friend. This feeling is also portrayed in a dream he recalls, in which he watches the snow ‘erase [his] fresh footprints’, symbolising the fact that he feels he has never truly made an impact in anybody’s life except Hassan’s. But after all, he was just a Hazara.