Lacanian Psychoanalysis of The Protagonist of The Kite Runner _________________________________________________________
By: Shireen Gul
A dissertation submitted to Abdullah Nauman, my supervisor, in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of M.Phil. English
Roll no – 14 MPHIL (ENG) 5355
Supervisor: Abdullah Nauman
Department of English Language and Literature
University of Sargodha, Sargodha, Pakistan
DECLARATIONI, Shireen Gul, hereby declare that this research is a result of my research investigations and findings. The sources of information other than my own have been acknowledged and a reference list thereof has been appended. This work has not been previously submitted to any other university for the award of any type of academic degree.
Signature: ………………………. Date: ………………………….
STATEMENT OF APPROVALDissertation titled “Lacanian Psychoanalysis Of The Protagonist Of The Kite Runner has been supervised by Mr. Abdullah Nauman. This dissertation has been accepted by English Department of Sargodha University, Sargodha, Pakistan in Partial fulfillment of requirement for the degree of M.Phil. English.
Internal Supervisor: ______________________
External Supervisor: ______________________
Head of the Department: ______________________
Name of the Institution: _______________________
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTWriting this research dissertation was by no means an individual endeavor. More than my personal effect, conviction and trust endowed on me by certain individuals provided the strongest impetus. I dedicate this thesis to my Mother who has been my constant support throughout all these years. She speaks behind every word I write and smiles down at everything I do. She always remained a motivational figure in my life who always imbibed me the spirit if positivism even in my worst times. I am still at loss of words to thank her from the deepest recesses of my heart.
My utmost gratitude and gratefulness goes to Mr Abdullah Numan who guided me all through the intricacies of writing a thesis. There are very few teachers who teach you how to unlearn, become a clean, unsullied page and re-write the actual essence that can be extracted from any academic pursuit. Mr Abdullah Numan is one such mentor. I feel cleansed off from academic superficialities after working under his supervision. I am grateful to him for his proof reading with perspicacity.
I thank my husband Azeem Ashraf for his patience during this process and my son Ahmad Mustafa for his unconditional support.
DEDICATIONDedicated to my Mother
(Who made me what I am today)
This dissertation purports to study the Lacanian Psychoanalysis of the protagonist of the selected text The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. It delves deep the veneer how the mirror stage forms a pivotal stage in human development over the years. The text will explore the strategies employed by Jacques Lacan that how Lacanian psychoanalysis leaves deep repercussions on one’s mind regarding shaping of personality. The development of nascent mirror stage to adolescent stage both runs parallel in the text. It will dissect text layer by layer peeling off mask of mirror stage and its effect on human psyche for the survival of the fittest. It will analyze the leverage of mirror stage in context of lacanian psychoanalysis and how does it subjugate the weaker lot. The theoretical framework used by the researcher is ‘Lacanian Psychoanalysis’ by Jacques Lacan applied on Hosseini’s text. The research is descriptive and qualitative in nature. This dissertation will be fruitful for the researcher in the domain of psychoanalysis regarding South Asian literature. It will give gist of the title in detail and add new dimension to the already existing literature on the subject.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TOC o “1-3” h z u DECLARATION PAGEREF _Toc518915687 h 1STATEMENT OF APPROVAL PAGEREF _Toc518915688 h 1ACKNOWLEDGEMENT PAGEREF _Toc518915689 h 1DEDICATION PAGEREF _Toc518915690 h 2CHAPTER 1 PAGEREF _Toc518915691 h 5INTRODUCTION PAGEREF _Toc518915692 h 5STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM PAGEREF _Toc518915693 h 21HYPOTHESES PAGEREF _Toc518915694 h 21RESEARCH QUESTIONS PAGEREF _Toc518915695 h 22RESEARCH METHODOLOGY PAGEREF _Toc518915696 h 22OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY PAGEREF _Toc518915697 h 22THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK PAGEREF _Toc518915698 h 23SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY PAGEREF _Toc518915699 h 23DELIMITATION OF THE DATA PAGEREF _Toc518915700 h 24 CONCLUSION……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
CHAPTER 2 PAGEREF _Toc518915702 h 25LITERATURE REVIEW PAGEREF _Toc518915703 h 25CHAPTER 3 PAGEREF _Toc518915704 h 33RESEARCH METHODOLOGY PAGEREF _Toc518915705 h 33CHAPTER 4 PAGEREF _Toc518915706 h 36DATA ANALYSIS PAGEREF _Toc518915707 h 36FINDINGS…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Bibliography PAGEREF _Toc518915709 h 58
CHAPTER 1INTRODUCTIONThis research aims to explore the Lacanian psychoanalysis in the selected text The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini by probing into deepest recesses of Author’s mind and analyzing the text under the light of Mirror stage thought process and how ones development takes place during the initial eighteen months. The Kite Runner’s protagonist is glaring example of Lacanian psychoanalysis. It investigates how he becomes victim of his past burried deep in his mind during the development of mirror stage. Before embarking on the venture to Lacanian psychoanalysis, we need to discuss the background of the text The Kite Runner. The storyrevolves around Amir and Hassan who grew up together under the supervision of Baba.
The text exudes brilliance while portraying the character of Amir and Hassan which we later come to know that they are real brothers. Here we have a beautiful depiction of Afghanistan, of its verdancy and fall of Soviet Union. It has plethora of themes to deal with guilt and redemption, atonement, friendship and betrayal and how does one finds solace in redemption. The beautiful landscape of Afghanistan is portrayed by the author in a somber way. Lacanian psychoanalysis could be viewed as a part belonging to a broader movement that was going on during the previous century. All intellectual movements, no matter how diverse, followed more or less the same path in the 20th century. Concerns about language became to dominate the intellectual atmosphere from Carnap to Heidegger and from Searle to Derrida. The analytic and the continental traditions both developed unique ways of dealing with language, and psychoanalysis was not exempt from such endeavors. The most predominant figure to take up this challenge was Jacques Lacan. Lacan introduced the innovative method of reading Freud under the light of structuralism which was sometimes accompanied by Hegelian, Marxian or Heideggerian twists. He saw it essential to “return to Freud”, and emphasized the prominence of Freud over all other psychoanalysts. His advice to all psychoanalysts was that “we can do no better than return to Freud’s work” CITATION Lac06 p 228 l 1033 (Lacan, Écrits 228). This return to Freud had to be a linguistic return to keep up with his times, but he did not go on reciting Freud word for word without bringing any originality into Freud’s texts; he started to read between the lines and restructured the edifice Freud had built in a unique way.
One might wonder why the linguistic reading of Freud was viewed as necessary by Lacan. From one perspective, it all has to do with truth: The meaning of a return to Freud is a return to Freud’s meaning. And the meaning of what Freud said may be conveyed to anyone because, while addressed to everyone, it concerns each person. One word suffices to make this point: Freud’s discovery calls truth into question, and there is no one who is not personally concerned by truth CITATION Lac06 p 337 l 1033 (Lacan, Écrits 337).
Nevertheless, according to Lacan, it is not possible to arrive at truth outside of language: “the dimension of truth emerges with the appearance of language” CITATION Lac06 p 336 l 1033 (Lacan, Écrits 336). Therefore, emphasis on language is at the heart of Lacanian psychoanalysis, so much so that the lingual dimension comes to form one of the three “elementary registers” which Lacan calls the Symbolic, the Imaginary and the Real. Such a distinction is unique to Lacanian psychoanalysis, and it is absolutely crucial for any reader of Lacan to have a basic understanding of each of these three orders. Lacan uses the Borromean knot to explain the structure of this triad. What is unique about the Borromean knot is that “the knot enjoys the Borromean property that if I cut any one of the rings that I have arranged in this way, all the others are set free”CITATION Jac99 p 130 l 1033 (Lacan 130). This topological figure is meant to show the interrelation and interdependency of these three registers; the point is that if you untangle one of the circles, the whole structure will fall apart. The way we perceive reality is absolutely dependent upon the relations these three registers have with one another; metaphorically speaking, “it suffices for you to cut one for the other two to be set free” CITATION Jac99 p 124 l 1033 (Lacan 124). Therefore, if the connection between any one of the circles with the other two is somehow interrupted, what we recognize as “reality” would be disturbed.
Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 1 Imaginary and Reality Model
To put it concisely, the Imaginary deals with appearances and our interpersonal relations with other people; for instance, our everyday interactions with other people are reliant on the imaginary order, and notions such as “love” are more or less reducible to this order. The Symbolic forms the dimension of what has been signified and is meaningful to an individual – it is, in a sense, the lingual dimension; when you are born, you find yourself in a pre-established social structure and you adapt yourself to the specific culture of that society where people’s interactions are mediated by a pre-given language; such structures are all parts of the symbolic order. The Real (which should not be confused with reality) is that which has remained un-symbolized; throughout our lives, there are things which resist symbolization (meaning, we cannot make any coherent sense out of them that would ultimately agree with the picture we have of the rest of our reality) such as traumas; such un-symbolized gaps in the Symbolic belong to the Real.
In order to demonstrate why it is absolutely essential for an analyst to be able to make a distinction between these three registers we can focus on the two registers of the Imaginary and the Symbolic. In his first Seminar, Lacan explains how Jung fails to make the necessary distinction between these two registers. Jacques Lacan (1991) considers psychosis and neurosis to be structurally different: In the refusal to recognize, in the refusal, in the barrier opposed to reality by the neurotic, we note recourse to fancy. Here we have function, which in Freud’s vocabulary can only refer to the imaginary register. We know the extent to which people and objects in the neurotic’s milieu change significance entirely, in relation to a function there is no problem in naming – without going further than ordinary linguistic usage – as imaginary. Freud emphasizes that nothing comparable is to be found in psychosis. When it comes to the psychotic subject, if he loses the realization of the real, he doesn’t find any imaginary substitute. That is what distinguishes him from the neurotic CITATION Lac06 p 116 l 1033 (Lacan, Écrits 116).
The psychotic relates to reality in a different manner: “When the psychotic reconstructs his world, what is invested to start off with? The answer is words. There, you cannot but recognize the category of the symbolic” CITATION Jac99 p 116-117 l 1033 (Lacan 116-117). Consequently, without making a distinction between the Imaginary and the Symbolic, the analyst cannot deal with neurosis and psychosis properly. Lacan (1991) claims that Freud perfectly understood such a crucial distinction, whereas Jung fails to do so:
According to the Jungian schema, psychic interest comes and goes, goes out, comes back, colors, etc. It drowns the libido in the universal magma which will be the basis of the world’s constitution. It’s a pretty metaphor, but it throws no light on practice, as Freud underlines. It does not allow one to grasp the differences that there might be between a directed, sublimated retreat of interest in the world which the anchorite may achieve, and that of the schizophrenic, whose result is however structurally quite distinct, since the subject discovers that he is completely stuck CITATION Jac99 p 115-116 l 1033 (Lacan 115-116).The introduction of the symbolic order into psychoanalysis enables Lacan to break free of the traditional movements in psychoanalysis; before Lacan, psychoanalytic practice was mostly focused on a dyadic relation between the ego of the analyst and the ego of the analyzed; meaning, the analyst does not take the symbolic order into consideration and tries to reduce the analysis to the Imaginary. By taking the figure of the big other into account this dyadic relation breaks down because the analysis is no longer confined to the interaction between two egos, and the other (the Symbolic) has been taken into consideration. By taking the figure of the big, other into account this dyadic relation breaks down. Therefore, another crucial distinction in Lacanian psychoanalysis is the difference between the little other (autre), or simply the other (written with a lowercase o) and the big Other (Autre), or simply the other (written with a capital O). The (little) other is situated in the Imaginary and it is mostly involved in interpersonal relations and their consequences such as identification; on the contrary, the (big) other is situated in the Symbolic. We all address ourselves to this unknown figure of the other; every action we perform is virtually a message addressed to the other, and it is this unknown other that defines our reality. Not only an analyst has to take into account the other, but he also has to elevate himself to take the place of the other in psychoanalytic practice. In his seminar on Freud’s Papers on Technique (1991), Lacan criticises Anna Freud for overemphasizing the role of the ego in psychoanalysis:
Anna Freud’s point of view is intellectualist, and leads her into putting forward the view that everything in analysis must be conducted from a median, moderate position, which would be that of the ego. For her everything starts with the education or the persuasion of the ego, and everything must come back to that CITATION Jac99 p 67 l 1033 (Lacan 67). What Lacan is really criticizing is Anna Freud’s failure in making a distinction between dyadic interpretation in practice and an “interpretation which moves forward in the direction of the symbolic structuration of the subject, which is to be located beyond the present structure of his ego” CITATION Jac99 l 1033 (Lacan, On feminine sexuality, the limits of love and knowledge: The seminar of Jacques Lacan). Lacan sarcastically remarks, “since it is argued that one is trying to bring about the patient’s preadaptation to the real, one really ought to find out if it is the analyst’s ego which offers the measure of the real”CITATION Jac99 p 18 l 1033 (Lacan 18).
Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 2Lacan: The Mirror Stage
The idea of the “mirror stage” is an important early component in Lacan’s reinterpretation of the work of Freud. Drawing on work in physiology and animal psychology, Lacan proposes that human infants pass through a stage in which an external image of the body (reflected in a mirror, or represented to the infant through the mother or primary caregiver) produces a psychic response that gives rise to the mental representation of an “I”. The infant identifies with the image, which serves as a gestalt of the infant’s emerging perceptions of selfhood, but because the image of a unified body does not correspond with the underdeveloped infant’s physical vulnerability and weakness, this imago is established as an Ideal-I towards which the subject will perpetually strive throughout his or her life.
For Lacan, the mirror stage establishes the ego as fundamentally dependent upon external objects, on an “other.” As the so-called “individual” matures and enters into social relations through language, this “other” will be elaborated within social and linguistic frameworks that will give each subject’s personality (and his or her neuroses and other psychic disturbances) its particular characteristics. Lacan’s ideas about the formation of the “I” developed over time in conjunction with his other elaborations of Freudian theory. He presented a paper on the mirror stage on August 3, 1936, at a conference of the International Psychoanalytical Association in Marien bad. (Lacan refers to this conference in the first sentence of the essay). Thirteen years later, on July 17, 1949, at a conference of the International Psychoanalytic Congress in Zurich, Lacan delivered another version of the mirror stage paper that later in the same year appeared in print in the Revue Francais de Psychanalyse. The essay was reprinted in the French publication of Ecrits in 1966. Jean Roussel prepared the first translation into English, which appeared in New Left Review CITATION New68 l 1033 (Review). This publication in English contributed to the introduction of Lacanian theory, and specifically the model of the mirror stage, into leftist intellectual circles in Britain at the time when cultural studies were emerging as a field. Another English translation of Ecrits: A Selection was published by Alan Sheridan in 1977.
The conception of the mirror stage “I” introduced at our last congress thirteen years ago, having since been more or less adopted by the French group, seems worth bringing to your attention once again—especially today, given the light it sheds on the / function in the experience psychoanalysis provides us of it. It should be noted that this experience sets us at odds with any philosophy directly stemming from the cogito. Some of you may recall the behavioral characteristic “I” begin with is explained by a fact of comparative psychology: the human child, at an age when he is for a short while, but for a while nevertheless, outdone by the chimpanzee in instrumental intelligence, can already recognize his own image as such in a mirror. This recognition is indicated by the illuminative mimicry of the Aha-Erlebnis, which Kohler considers to express situational apperception, an essential moment in the act of intelligence.
Indeed, this act, far from exhausting itself, as in the case of a monkey, in eventually acquired control over the uselessness of the image, immediately gives rise in a child to a series of gestures in which he playfully experiences the relationship between the movements made in the image and the reflected environment, and between this virtual complex and the reality it duplicates — namely, the child’s own body, and the persons and even things around him.This event can take place, as we know from Baldwin’s work, from the age of six months on; its repetition has often given me pause to reflect upon the striking spectacle of a nursling in front of a mirror who has not yet mastered walking, or even standing, but who—though held tightly by some prop, human or artificial (what, in France, we call a trotte-bebe a sort of walker)—overcomes, in a flutter of jubilant activity, the constraints of his prop in order to adopt a slightly leaning-forward position and take in an instantaneous view of the image in order to fix it in his mind.
In my view, this activity has a specific meaning up to the age of eighteen months, and reveals both a libidinal dynamism that has hitherto remained problematic and an ontological structure of the human world that fits in with my reflections on paranoiac knowledge. It suffices to understand the mirror stage in this context as an identification, in the full sense analysis gives to the term: namely, the transformation that takes place in the subject when he assumes an image—an image that is seemingly predestined to have an effect at this phase, as witnessed by the use in analytic theory of antiquity’s term, “imago.”The jubilant assumption of his specular image by the kind of being—still trapped in his motor impotence and nursling dependence—the little man is at the infant stage thus seems to me to manifest in an exemplary situation the symbolic matrix in which the /is precipitated in a primordial form, prior to being objectified in the dialectic of identification with the other, and before language restores to it, in the universal, its function as subject.
This form would, moreover, have to be called the “ideal-I” – if we wanted to translate it into a familiar register—in the sense that it will also be the rootstock of secondary identifications, this latter term subsuming the libidinal normalization functions. But the important point is that this form situates the agency known as the ego, prior to its social determination, in a fictional direction that will forever remain irreducible for any single individual or, rather, that will only asymptotically approach the subject’s becoming, no matter how successful the dialectical syntheses by which he must resolve, as I, his discordance with his own reality.
For the total form of his body, by which the subject anticipates the maturation of his power in a mirage, is given to him only as a gestalt, that is, in an exteriority in which, to be sure, this form is more constitutive than constituted, but in which, above all, it appears to him as the contour of his stature that freezes it and in a symmetry that reverses it, in opposition to the turbulent movements with which the subject feels he animates it. Through these two aspects of its appearance, this gestalt—whose power pregnancy should be considered linked to the species, though its motor style is as yet unrecognizable — symbolizes the I’s mental permanence, at the same time as it prefigures its alienating destination. This gestalt is also replete with the correspondences that unite the” I” with the statue onto which man projects himself, the phantoms that dominate him, and the automaton with which the world of his own making tends to achieve fruition in an ambiguous relation.
Indeed, for imagos – whose veiled faces we analysts see emerge in our daily experience and in the penumbra of symbolic effectiveness – the specular image seems to be the threshold of the visible world, if we take into account the mirrored disposition of the imago of one’s own body in hallucinations and dreams, whether it involves one’s individual features, or even one’s infirmities or object projections; or if we take note of the role of the mirror apparatus in the appearance of doubles, in which psychical realities manifest themselves that are, moreover, heterogeneous.
The fact that a gestalt may have formative effects on an organism is attested to by a biological experiment that is so far removed from the idea of psychical causality that it cannot bring itself to formulate itself in such terms. The experiment nevertheless acknowledges that it is a necessary condition for the maturation of the female pigeon’s gonad that the pigeon see another member of its species, regardless of its sex; this condition is so utterly sufficient that the same effect may be obtained by merely placing a mirror’s reflective field near the individual. Similarly, in the case of the migratory locust, the shift within a family line from the solitary to the gregarious form can be brought about by exposing an individual, at a certain stage of its development, to the exclusively visual action of an image akin to its own, provided the movements of this image sufficiently resemble those characteristic of its species. Such facts fall within a realm of homeomorphism identification that is itself subsumed within the question of the meaning of beauty as formative and erogenous (Lacan 110).
But mimetic facts, understood as heteromorphy identification, are of just as much interest to us insofar as they raise the question of the signification of space for living organisms—psychological concepts hardly seeming less appropriate for shedding light here than the ridiculous attempts made to reduce these facts to the supposedly supreme law of adaptation. We need but recall how Roger Caillois (still young and fresh from his break with the sociological school at which he trained) illuminated the subject when, with the term “legendary psychasthenia,” he subsumed morphological mimicry within the derealizing effect of an obsession with space. As I myself have shown, human knowledge is more independent than animal knowledge from the force field of desire because of the social dialectic that structures human knowledge as paranoiac; but what limits it is the “scant reality” surrealistic un-satisfaction denounces therein. These reflections lead me to recognize in the spatial capture manifested by the mirror stage, the effect in man, even prior to this social dialectic, of an organic inadequacy of his natural reality—assuming we can give some meaning to the word “nature.”
The function of the mirror stage thus turns out, in my view, to be a particular case of the function of imagos, which is to establish a relationship between an organism and its reality—or, as they say, between the Innenwelt and the Umwelt.
In man, however, this relationship to nature is altered by a certain dehiscence at the very heart of the organism, a primordial Discord betrayed by the signs of malaise and motor un-coordination of the neonatal months. The objective notions of the anatomical incompleteness of the pyramidal tracts and of certain humoral residues of the maternal organism in the newborn confirm my view that we find in man a veritable specific prematurity of birth. Let us note in passing that this fact is recognized as such by embryologists, under the heading “fetalization,” as determining the superiority of the so-called higher centers of the central nervous system, and especially of the cerebral cortex which psychosurgical operations will lead us to regard as the intraorganicmirror. This development is experienced as a temporal dialectic that decisively projects the individual’s formation into history: the mirror stage is a drama whose internal pressure pushes precipitously from insufficiency to anticipation—and, for the subject caught up in the lure of spatial identification, turns out fantasies that proceed from a fragmented image of the body to what I will call an “orthopedic” form of its totality—and to the finally donned armor of an alienating identity that will mark his entire mental development with its rigid structure. Thus, the shattering of the Innenwelt to Umwelt circle gives rise to an inexhaustible squaring of the ego’s audits.
This fragmented body—another expression I have gotten accepted into the French school’s system of theoretical references—is regularly manifested in dreams when the movement of an analysis reaches a certain level of aggressive disintegration of the individual. It then appears in the form of disconnected limbs or of organs exoscopically represented, growing wings and taking up arms for internal persecutions that the visionary Hieronymus Bosch fixed for all time in painting, in their ascent in the fifteenth century to the imaginary zenith of modern man. But this form turns out to be tangible even at the organic level, in the lines of “fragilization” that define the hysteric’s fantasmatic anatomy, which is manifested in schizoid and spasmodic symptoms.
Correlatively, the I formation is symbolized in dreams by a fortified camp, or even a stadium—distributing, between the arena within its walls and its outer border of gravel-pits and marshes, two opposed fields of battle where the subject bogs down in his quest for the proud, remote inner castle whose form (sometimes juxtaposed in the same scenario) strikingly symbolizes the id. Similarly, though here in the mental sphere, we find fortified structures constructed, the metaphors for which arise spontaneously, as if deriving from the subject’s very symptoms, to designate the mechanisms of obsessive neurosis: inversion, isolation, reduplication, undoing what has been done, and displacement.
But were I to build on these subjective data alone—were I to so much as free them from the experiential condition that makes me view them as based on a language technique—my theoretical efforts would remain exposed to the charge of lapsing into the unthinkable, that of an absolute subject. This is why I have sought, in the present hypothesis grounded in a confluence of objective data, a method of symbolic reduction as my guiding grid.
It establishes a genetic order in ego defenses, in accordance with the wish formulated by Anna Freud in the first part of her major book, and situates (as against a frequently expressed prejudice) hysterical repression and its returns at a more archaic stage than obsessive inversion and its isolating processes, situating the latter as prior to the paranoiac alienation that dates back to the time at which the specular I turns into the social I.
This moment at which the mirror stage comes to an end inaugurates, through identification with the imago of one’s semblable and the drama of primordial jealousy (so well brought out by the Charlotte Buehler school in cases of transitivism in children), the dialectic that will henceforth link the I to socially elaborated situations. It is this moment that decisively tips the whole of human knowledge savoir into being mediated by the other’s desire, constitutes its objects in an abstract equivalence due to competition from other people, and turns the /into an apparatus to which every instinctual pressure constitutes a danger, even if it corresponds to a natural maturation process. The very normalization of this maturation is henceforth dependent in man on cultural intervention, as is exemplified by the fact that sexual object choice is dependent upon the Oedipus complex. In light of my conception, the term “primary narcissism,” by which analytic doctrine designates the libidinal investment characteristic of this moment, reveals in those who invented it a profound awareness of semantic latencies. But it also sheds light on the dynamic opposition between this libido and sexual libido, an opposition they tried to define when they invoked destructive and even death instincts in order to explain the obvious relationship between narcissistic libido and the alienating I function, and the aggressiveness deriving therefrom in all relations with others, even in relations involving aid of the most good-Samaritan variety.
The fact is that they encountered that existential negativity whose reality is so vigorously proclaimed by the contemporary philosophy of being and nothingness. Unfortunately, this philosophy grasps that negativity only within the limits of a self-sufficiency of consciousness, which, being one of its premises, ties the illusion of autonomy in which it puts its faith to the ego’s constitutive misrecognitions. While it draws considerably on borrowings from psychoanalytic experience, this intellectual exercise culminates in the pretense of grounding an existential psychoanalysis.
At the end of a society’s historical enterprise which is no longer recognize that it has any but a utilitarian function, and given the individual’s anxiety faced with the concentration-camp form of the social link whose appearance seems to crown this effort, existentialism can be judged on the basis of the justifications it provides for the subjective impasses that do, indeed, result there from: a freedom that is never so authentically affirmed as when it is within the walls of a prison; a demand for commitment that expresses the inability of pure consciousness to overcome any situation; a voyeuristic-sadistic idealization of sexual relationships; a personality that achieves self-realization only in suicide; and a consciousness of the other that can only be satisfied by Hegelian murder.
These notions are opposed by the whole of analytic experience, insofar as it teaches us not to regard the ego as centered on the perception-consciousness system or as organized by the “reality principle”—the expression of a scientific bias most hostile to the dialectic of knowledge—but, rather, to take as our point of departure the function of misrecognition that characterizes the ego in all the defensive structures so forcefully articulated by Anna Freud. For, while Verneinung negation represents the blatant form of that function, its effects remain largely latent as long as they are not illuminated by some reflected light at the level of fate where the id manifests itself. The inertia characteristic of the “I” formations can thus be understood as providing the broadest definition of neurosis, just as the subject’s capture by his situation gives us the most general formulation of madness—the kind found within the asylum walls as well as the kind that deafens the world with its sound and fury. The sufferings of neurosis and psychosis provide us schooling in the passions of the soul, just as the balance arm of the psychoanalytic scales—when we calculate the angle of its threat to entire communities—provides us with an amortization rate for the passions of the city.
At this intersection of nature and culture, so obstinately scrutinized by the anthropology of our times, psychoanalysis alone recognizes the knot of imaginary servitude that love must always untie anew or sever. For such a task we can find no promise in altruistic feeling, we who lay bare the aggressiveness that underlies the activities of the philanthropist, the idealist, the pedagogue, and even the reformer. In the subject to subject recourse we preserve, psychoanalysis can accompany the patient to the ecstatic limit of the “Thou art that,” where the cipher of his mortal destiny is revealed to him, but it is not in our sole power as practitioners to bring him to the point where the true journey begins.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMTraces of Lacanian Psychoanalysis in the protagonist of the selected text “The Kite Runner” and how it unfolds the various phases of his life with dark and gritty aspects of his personality as well.
HYPOTHESESAmir, the protagonist of The Kite Runner passes through the stages of imaginary, real and symbolic suggested by Jacques Lacan in the process of his self-development and identity formation.
RESEARCH QUESTIONSAfter discussing the core issue of the thesis, it is pertinent to discuss and point out the questions which are necessary to redress and whole research is designed to answer the following questions.
Q.1 What kind of Lacanian nuances based on tripartite psychoanalysis model are found in the selected text “The Kite Runner”?
Q.2 What is the role of Mirror stage in an individual’s life from nascent to formative years regarding shaping of his personality?
Q.3 How the protagonist who is at crossroads with Lacanian Psychoanalysis deals with it and how does he atone for it?
RESEARCH METHODOLOGYThis study is qualitative in nature and whole research is based on qualitative, descriptive, narrative and analytical points are used by the researcher, which are important components to explore, analyze and synthesize the idea. Moreover, this study focuses upon the selected text, its main idea and representation is being shown through a thick examination of literature.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDYTo dissect the Novel and find the Lacanian Psychoanalysis and its nuances in the selected text “The Kite Runner”
To explore the psyche of the Protagonist by probing Mirror stage and its role in the development of the infant.
THEORETICAL FRAMEWORKIt is pertinent to discuss here that the objectives targeted in the initial chapter of this thesis will analyzed under the broad framework of Jacques Lacan’s Mirror stage. It will be taken as the theoretical framework which will be applied on Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. It will discuss in detail about the three stages of Mirror stage and how finally it takes the plunge towards Lacanian Psychoanalysis. What are the chief characteristics of Mirror stage and how it develops an intriguing phenomena of psychoanalysis in an individual.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDYThis study is expected to give contribution to other literary researcher while adding new dimensions to the previous studies conducted on it. The theoretical framework increases the validity and importance of the text. It will provide a deeper understanding to the process of Lacanian Psychoanalysis. How at a nascent stage an image is formed by the infant and it how it can change the entire course of life of the protagonist. Many authors have written on the subject of Psychoanalysis . It will be a fruitful addition in the domain of psychoanalysis by Jacques Lacan rather Sigmund Freud. Where Freud talked about the pivotal role of subconscious, anxiety, interpretation of dreams, on the other hand Lacan has dealt with the complex issue of psychoanalysis in infants through forming an image and what happens if that image is scattered or broken. The trajectory of personality takes a whole new meaning.
This study will open new avenues for the researchers in South Asia to understand Lacanian Psychoanalysis serving with new sense of purpose; as it will undertake a South-Asiantext for the bifurcation of data analysis. Researchers will have lens through which they can broaden their spectrum of studying Lacanian Psychoanalysis.
DELIMITATION OF THE DATAThe thesis has certain limitations as well. It will only undertake the text “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini for study and data analysis. Through detailed study of the text “findings” will be concluded by the researcher.
Brief over view of Chapter Summaries:
The first chapter is an introductory insight to provide the guideline how the research has been done. It discusses in short, the background of the study, a brief review of the topic, novel and the author himself. Furthermore, it embarks upon the significance of the research in what way it will enhance the knowledge of the readers. It also talks about the research methodology and research questions as well. The second chapter is literature review; a comprehensive survey of the previous literature which has been done upon the selected text whether it is in the formof an article, journal or thesis. A brief review is carried upon the solid reviews of the literature. Here the researcher highlights the importance of her own conducted research.
Third chapter is to talk about the research methodology in which Lacanian psychoanalysis is discussed andit explains how it fits for this study and how it gives new form to the text.Fourth chapter will focus upon data analysis, which is the main part of the thesis, it applies the terminology into the text to interpret and amalgamate the theory and text to find out the real meaning of the text.
CHAPTER 2LITERATURE REVIEWKhaled Hosseini is an Afghan-born American novelist and physician. He wrote three novels which became bestsellers which includes The Kite Runner (2003), A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007), And The Mountains Echoed (2013). Many writers have experimented to celebrate their works by writing on Hosseini’s works. The Kite Runner caught much fame and also adapted into a film as well with the same name. Here, the researcher has written about the people who wrote on Hosseini’s novels.
Shamnad in his article “The Kite Runner: Historical, Political and Cultural Contexts” explores plethora of themes. It tells us about the story of Amir, a boy who has to pass through various stages of self-development in order to form his identity. The story is set against the backdrop of war-torn Afghanistan due to the mayhem caused by the invasion of Soviet Union in 1979. It caused mass exodus of refugees to migrate to Pakistan and United States. Five years later, Soviets invades Afghanistan, Amir and Baba escape to Peshawar, Pakistan and then to California, United States of America. The strong underlying force of this novel is affinity between Hassan and Amir and how their relationship transforms over the years.
The Kite Runner spans period from before the soviet invasion 1979 until the fall of Taliban. The novel turns dark and gritty when Hosseini describes the conundrum caused by pandemonium of Talibanization to his country. His encounter with American culture is also explored in detail by the author. The Kite Runner is also a story about the collapse of civil society and violation of Human Rights. It has ethnic and racial discrimination, religious intolerance, the oppression of women and children, war crimes, the plight of refugees.
Hosseini wanted to write a story on Afghanistan because for many people in the west Afghanistan is synonymous with the Soviet War and the Taliban. Thanawala, Sakina in her article “Innocence Wrecked” talks about the relationship of Hassan and Amir and what kind of intricate affinity they both shared with each other. The book tells us about transition from childhood innocence to atrocities committed against young children. The story is Hassan is heart-wrenching at the same time. Each child is valuable for Mankind and it is stated in Holy Quran that “treat children with love and care”. When Hassan is raped by Assef his personality undergoes a traumatic experience while he was in his way to bring blue kite for Amir Agha.
Delving further into the sufferings of Islamic children, the problems and plight of orphans in Afghanistan, comes to light. These orphans were ill-treated, tortured and sexually abused by the superior class. Augustina, HikmaNur in her article The Kite Runner: My Passion of Literature talks about the brotherhood reality in the novel The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini which portrays different aspects of Afghani Society. Through the novel, there is great affinity between Hassan and Amir. Where, one can surrender himself for another. Its a great piece of art for the Humanity to learn a lesson how to keep long term friendship without betrayal.Murtaza, Ghulam in his article The Levels of Power Relationship in the Kite Runner analyze the linguistic manipulation in the novel “The Kite Runner” according to the parameters of Critical Discourse Analysis. The researcher employed Huckin’s analytic tools of CDA to see how far author manipulated the text for his own favored objectives. How knowledge and power can be created through the medium of linguistic devices to influence the reader. He used text as a tool of propaganda in favor of Western Agenda in Afghanistan. This study is an effort to explore various dimensions of Power relations, dominance, repression and marginalization in The Kite Runner.
Hosseini, Akram Sadat in his article ” The Kite Runner and the Problem of Racism and Ethnicity” explored the dark and gritty theme of Racism prevalent in the Novel The Kite Runner. Racism is a worldwide phenomena taking place across the globe where Whites are supposed to be superior instead of Black people. In each nation, there are some ethnic groups which are not treated equally hence creating marginalization in the society. The article explores social, cultural and scientific investigation done on people’s race, cast and creed. This aspect of Racism is well expressed by “Feagin” where one group is treated well and other is maltreated which causes bad upheavals in the society. The Kite Runner depicts two major ethnic groups Pashtun and Hazara.
Alamour, Runda in her article “Searching for Middle Ground: Connecting East and West through Universal Themes in The Kite Runner” wrote about War on Terror which started right after the aftermath of September 9/11 attacks. The cataclysmic changes took place in the Muslim Ummah as they were targeted by the West. The Media portrayed a negative image of Muslim World by showing violence, acts of terrorism committed in the name of Islam and war and destruction. Hosseini continues to explore identity through the male characters in the novel.
Castration Anxiety and the Mirror stage: A Psychoanalytic reading of Shakespeare’s Othello written by Shadi S. Neimmeh discusses about anxiety and Mirror stage. We will be discussing about things causing him anxiety; anxiety about losing things that makes him strong in the reigning province. He goes through the mirror stage as well. He assumes that Iago is with him whereas reality is quite opposite to that. When he learns about the Iago’s remark about Cassio’s affair with Desdemona he eventually kills his wife. Othello’s anxiety and killing of wife act as catalyst for him. The article examines the mental machinery of Othello where he undergoes the anxiety and the mirror stage before he is devastated by his own drive that leads him towards own death (Shadi S. Neimneh 19).
Following the footsteps of Sigmund Freud Lacan developed the castration anxiety as the “Law of the Father”. For Lacan this subjects also deals with super-ego. On the other hand is Mirror stage which is kind of a narcissist attitude relating to “I” and “Ideal Ego”. Mirror stage is a realm of such images or perception of a whole comes in relation of interdependence with mother and controlling the environment. In this regard Othello is conscious about losing his Venetian Society that is his ideal.
Norman Marin Calderon in his article A Lacanian reading of Hamlet: The mourning subject of desire discusses Hamlet from two perspectives the drama between desire and death. In the field of Psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, Ernest Jones, Otto Rank and Jacques Lacan to name a few analyzed Hamlet from different dimensions. Hamlet is trapped in his own Psychosis due to the myriad inclination towards Oedipus complex. In fact, for Freud, Hamlet is re-writing of Sophocles Oedipus Rex and in The Interpretation of dreams Freud says Hamlet is capable of doing anything except killing the person who killed his father and who took place of him. Hamlet is over taken by excessive thinking. Hamlet is caught between the devil and deep sea at one side is mourning towards father and on other hand the incestuous disgust with his mother.
According to the Lacanian theory, the Phallus is not a fantasy, nor a partial object nor a physical organ. The Phallus stands as signifier that the mother is missing from his life in which he can rely for comfort, so it can be identified that the mother is lacking. Darlene Demandantein his article “Lacanian perspective on Love” discusses Lacanian notion of love. It does not question about the wholeness and harmony of love rather testified it of difference. Love is such a topic which never ceases to baffle up the Scholars and philosophers. It is such an intricate subject. It has confounded certain people in certain ways beyond the reason and logic.. Love is not elimination from his subjects of talk. Freud calls its Erotic Instinct or love as” Eros”. It is such thought which is responsible for wholeness, harmony and togetherness (Demandante223). Eros, Lacan inherited this notion from Freud as an erotic desire towards union with love object. Lacan on the other hand emphasizes on illusion brought about it with regard to the union between the subject and object of Love. By posing love as an effect, Lacan manages to decipher love with its positive feeling and inclines more toward detrimental side.
Paul Verhaenghe and Frederic Declercq ” Lacan’s goal of analysis: Le Sinthome or tge feminine way in his article shows how Freudian Psychoanalysis started with therapeutic treatment to remove pathological symptoms. BothFrued and Lacan discovered that is root of symptom that obstructs the therapeutic effectiveness (Declercq 200).
Lacanian concepts – Their relevance to Literary Analysis and Interpretation: A post structural reading written by Dr. Khursheed Ahmad discussesthe topic in detail for having a better gist of Lacanian concepts. The concept of establishing psychoanalysis is a pivotal field of study and credit goes to Freud, the real pioneer of psychoanalysis. Lacan broadened the scope of Unconscious saying that unconscious is always at work being the base of everything happening in the mind (Qazi 19). Lacan based his concept on Freud’s account of two main mechanisms, which are condensation and displacement. Like Freud, Lacan’s child starts as something inseparable from its mother that child is having no sense of ‘self’ or own his individual anxiety. After going through the many phases of needs, child normally is diverted towards separation itself from mother in order to form its own identity.
The “Mirror Stage” is one of most important development and formation of Ego. It describes the formation of individuals Ego through “objectification” between perceived reality and emotional reality. Both of them can’t be detached from each other. Its formation is at peak when child relates sense of mastery with Mother; the supreme authority. For Lacan the child’s happiness attached to the concept in formation of individual identity. Lacan’s mirror stage was to combine phenomenological distinction between subject and ego with a psychological understanding. The six discourses of Lacanian Psychoanalysis: A tribute to the pervert’s Discourse written RezeAlimirzae discusses the opposite from famous belief there three stages which are imaginary, the symbolic and the real. But these article will explore there not three rather than six different discourses. Lacan and Freud : Beyond the pleasure principle in an article written by Petrus Lodewikus Van Der Merwe discusses about Lacan’s Mirror Stage is far more important dimension in Psychoanalysis rather than the hypotheses of eighteen months childlooking the mirror. For Lacan, the mirror is realization of accomplishment. In the Mirror stage as formation of “I” function in EcritsLacan writes” we have to clarify the concept of mirror as the realization of one’s true self the concept of ” Identification” and transformation takes place when he assumes an image in the mirror” (Merwe 111).
Heshamkhadwardi in his article “Guilt and super Ego, Guilt, redemption and atonement” in the “International Journal of Humanities Social Sciences and Educations” talks about the redemption and Amir’s atoning of his sins. He didn’t committed that big sin, only his soul was being haunted by the events happened in past. They made him insomniac for life (Khadawardi95). Khadawari has beautifully the relationship between Hassan and Amir and how strong affinity they shared. It was a bond to cherish for life. He has captured all the essence of the novel in his article. He explains in detail about the friendship, betrayal and redemption in article.
The article also talks about PSTD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) which happens when you surpass any traumatic incident. The sad experience keeps haunting you. That chases you like hell. Amir saw Hassan being sodomized and how he kept watching him and even running from that place. It haunted him for years. He went through Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That “frigid night of 1975” was deeply imprinted on his mind. Individuals having such personalities have several bouts of anxiety and distorted thought pattern. Their personalities are broken and scattered. It’s not an easy journey for a individual, it takes a lot of courage to amend for ones wrong doings. Yang Chun in his article “Exploration of Trauma Narrative in Kite Runner” talks about trauma at two levels one at the collective level of Afghanistan and other one is at personal level. The trauma which Amir kept bearing from twenty-six long years is too heart wrenching. The children and the people of Afghanistan faced trauma and excruciating pain and violence at the hands of Taliban regime is tormenting. It is full of sordid details of violence done to children in the wake of war. It made children prone to several diseases and sensitivity. It was easy to live in turbulent times in war-torn Afghanistan (Chun 75). They mayhem and carnage caused by Taliban not only inflicted indictment of their social but harnessed their psychological life as well.
DuanJu in his article “Exploration of Self-actualization in Kite Runner” explores the process of self-actualization in personality of Amir. To find this quest is ultimate victory regarding one’s life. Road to redemption is also done through process of self-actualization. When you where your true happiness lies and what makes you happy spiritually as well. Amir knew where he made mistakes and where he has to make amends for that (Du 39).
FatmaKalpakli in her article “The role of nature and human psyche in The Kite Runner “describes how nature plays a pivotal role in shaping of ones personality. Baba keeping the soil in the box and putting it close to heart symbolizes his love for the nation. His disease of cancer symbolizes the environmental pollution in Afghanistan and America and also by mushrooming of Taliban’s hold in war torn Afghanistan. The nuances of fauna, flora and fruits are equally important. Talking about mulberries also tells us importance of friendship and loyalty. Hassan taken as symbol of “lam to pay price for his life and Assed said nothing comes free in this world”. Nature shapes the morality of the characters as well. Here Hosseini writes like the Nigerian PlaywrightWole Soyinka who uses nature acting in the backdrop (Kalpakl 12). CHAPTER 3RESEARCH METHODOLOGYThis section explains the qualitative method which will be used by the researcher to carry out the study, giving emphasis to the analysis of the data. It is pertinent to discuss here that the objectives targeted in the initial chapter of this thesis will analyzed under the broad framework of JacquesLacan’s Mirror stage. It will be taken as the theoretical framework which will be applied on Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. To investigate the social and the political value of the text detailed study of the text The Kite Runner is conducted by the researcher along with the other articles, books and journals. The study will be qualitative, descriptive in nature.
It is pertinent to discuss Jacques Lacan and the times he lived in, in order to have a better understanding of the theory applied. The researcher will explore the Lacanian Psychoanalysis in the selected text The kite Runner.
Jacques Lacan was a French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist who has been called the “most controversial Psycho- Analyst since Freud”. Giving yearly seminars in Paris from 1953 to 1981, Lacan influenced many leading French Psychoanalysts. His ideas have significant impact on Post structuralism, French philosophy, film theory and clinical psychoanalysis.
Mirror stage is a concept in Psychoanalytic theory of Jacques Lacan. Here are chief characteristics of Mirror stage as propounded by Jacques Lacan.
Infants recognize themselves in front of a mirror and include apperception (when transformation takes place by residuum of experience to form a new one at the age of about six months.
Toddlers are fascinated by mirrors and don’t have a sense of recognition till at the age of 15 months.
It also includes subjectivity at the core, representing the notions of parenthood and reality.
Human infants pass through a stage when the image of the body (reflected in the shape of mirror or through the mother of the infant or primary caregiver) produces such a psychological response that gives sudden rise to the sense of “I”.
The toddler identifies with the image, which is a base of his sense of perception of selfhood. This sort of image is established as the Ideal-I for which the individual strives throughout her/his life.
The Imaginary Psychoanalysis: The imaginary order is the term conjured by Jacques Lacan along with the terms symbolic and real. The basis for imaginary order is formation of the ego in the mirror stage. Identification is an important aspect in this theory. It also includes the narcissistic traits in the imaginary order.
The symbolic order: It became important after the manifestation of imaginary order. In this stage, body finds the image of unity of others. It became important that imaginary includes linguistic sense whereas “Signifier” (a part of language indicating a being) the signification belongs to imaginary. In symbolic order image constituted by signifying material envisage a identity crisis when false system begins to disintegrate.
The Real Order (Psychoanalysis): For Jacques Lacan, real is not opposed to imaginary it is beyond symbolic order. If symbolic is set of differentiated signifier, the real itself is undifferentiated. The character of impossibility lends the real its traumatic quality.
The real is manifestation of experiencing a traumatic event. The glaring example of traumatic experience is natural disaster on which we have no control then something alien and abrupt erupts in the personality.
Jacques Lacan described Mirror Stage “a stage taking place during the process of human development that is usually referred as fetalization that is period between 6 months up to 18months”. The mirror stage tends to tell the genesis of a human body that he conceives of himself with relation to the surrounding realities. According to Lacan human beings are born pre maturely and in initial years they can perform very little; eat and breathe. As around 6 months of age, they first time have the idea of “l”. The self identification process begins at the tender age of 6 months. He further describes that the concept of “l” is embedded in primordial form.
By the age of 3 years old human beings have five psychosexual developments of which Oedipus complex arises in 3rd stage as explained by Freudian theory. The writer describes the stages when baby realizes to begin with own self. When human beings begin to understand the term “l” and has ability of onset of its surrounding, it is almost like a learning of language. Like a baby, he behaves as if he doesn’t understand the language or feelings but signifies a particular feeling when it becomes universal. Before learning a language, a human might use a different expression, but once the language is learnt it can be communicated easily. CHAPTER 4DATA ANALYSISThis part of the thesis analyzes the selected fiction by Khaled Hosseini The Kite Runner by exploring the Lacanian Psychoanalysis after scrutinizing the text in detail under the lens of theoretical framework set in the previous chapter. The researcher will probe text in detail for having authentic data analysis for the new researcher by adding new dimensions to it. Khaled Hosseini has captivated the readers by showing deep affinity between Amir and Hassan. How the personality of the Protagonist shapes under deep layers of Lacanian Psychoanalysis. Hosseini has penned novel with great verve and insight into one’s mind and its working. The personality of Protagonist is probed by researcher in detail in order to have better understanding of his mind and character.
“I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in winter of 1975. I remember the precise memory, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into alley near the frozen creek. That was long time ago, but it’s what they say about the past, I have learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past has claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for last twenty-six years”CITATION Hos03 p 1 l 1033 (Hosseni 1).
The one most striking figure about the past is that it loves its final abide a lot. It rolls back to the place where it starts all over and sometimes there is no end, no running back from it. It keeps returning to the place where it has its roots. How many futile efforts are made to bury it under the debris of unlikable and tormenting memories? But the fact is that it always comes up bloating at the surface level.
Same happens with the protagonist of the novel The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. The Mirror stage is traced in the novel by the researcher in the following text. How many efforts are made by the protagonist Amir Agha to forget about the past but unfortunately at some point of our lives it always bubbles up. And we have no way other than that to face the consequences. Psychoanalysis gives prime importance to the fact that “past” plays an important part in shaping ones personality and at times destiny as well. How we can forget that what happened with Amir twenty- six years ago will leave him alone. The writer takes the start of the novel by exploring the current state of Amir’s mind he became what he was on that dark night, surrounded in an alley. Watching his brother, his own brother, more than a friend being abused and raped at the hands of Assef ; the cruel villain who had no pity for the innocent Hassan. The writer eloquently tells us about the personality of Amir, how deep rooted are the consequences of plethora of events happened in his life. How one incident changed his entire life and personality? All his life he remained full of guilt and indignation. It is a part of psychoanalysis that what happens with you as child that develops your personality. Dark and gritty incidents are always imprinter on your mind. They never leave you alone.
Lacanian psychoanalysis also deals with the t development of mirror stage where an infant forms an image of himself after the eighteen months of birth. That is the scale which is the chief determiner of your personality. One bad incident can cause mayhem to your whole life. Amir realizes even after passing over two decades of his life away from the place where he saw Hassan being tortured and Amir watching everything from a distance, and acting cowardly shaped his entire destiny in malice and regret. Why this happened and no step was taken by Amir have deep roots in bifurcation of his personality through the lens of Lacanian psychoanalysis.
Where one such image is formed, one is longing for primary caregiver’s attention and love. And if this need is not properly satisfied there are abrupt kind of changes in ones personality and his perception towards the things around him. Amir was powerful victim of Lacanian Psychoanalysis. He couldn’t get that attention in life because the motherly gaze was missing from his life. It was his father who was the center of his world and he wanted that orbit to revolve around him. A child is prone to sensitivity and forms an image in the mirror as propounded by the mirror stage. He identifies himself with an object through his perception, which can bring peace to him, a kind of satisfaction by this process to his lost identity. He also becomes narcissist and oblivious of the needs of the people around him. Same happened with Amir, the text have several nuances where Amir is caught up the quagmire of Lacanian psychoanalysis.
What happens in a frigid night is something that plants remorse and indignation in the personality of Amir Agha. For all his life he becomes a victim of his past. Past sometimes acts as a catalyst. We cannot get rid of it. It acts as a skin and we cannot peel it off. Because, it becomes part and parcel of one’s personality. How much we try at times cannot run away from our past. According the writer the past has its claws and it gnaws back you whenever possible. You are like entwined creeper with you past clings to you strongly. The importance of past and cannot be ignored from the psychological point of view. It is what shapes you with the passage of time. Whether good or bad it always has its importance.
What our does to us sometimes we realize after many years later in our life. When we reach back a point from where there is no returning back. Amir also met similar fate, if he had shown some courage that “frigid” things would have been very different for him twenty six years. He is still caught up in the myriad problem entangled in his mind. Because, it is in the mind which conjures up good or bad in the people.
“And suddenly Hassan’s voice whispered in my ears: For you, a thousand times over. Hassan the hare lipped kite runner. I sat on a bench of willow tree. I thought about what Rahim Khan said on phone. There is a way to be good again. I looked up at those kites. I thought about kites. Thought about Baba. Ali. Kabul. I thought of the life I have lived until the winter of 1975 came along and changed. And made me what I am today”CITATION Hos03 p 2 l 1033 (Hosseni 2).
There are several nuances in the text which takes us back to Lacanian psychoanalysis. The self-realization of “I” is very important in the development of mirror stage. Sometimes, “I” becomes fixed center of attention. After passing twenty- six long years the whispering of Hassan’s name is like a redemption and atonement. Amir the protagonist of the novel is thinking about the past and the about the people he loved. Who meant him everything? Rahim Khan’ saying there is a way to be good again means a lot to the life of Hassan who all these years was waiting to set himself free from the barriers which have engulfed his soul. Amir Agha, thought about the life in Kabul, his Baba and above all, Hassan, who always came up with the phrase full of sheer loyalty that was , For you, a thousand time over. And Amir always felt a sense of pride in that. He felt being superior.
Amir is the glaring example of Lacanian psychoanalysis. When he found that the basic care giver the mother is missing from his life all the focus and attention was eventually tilted towards Baba. The winter of 1975 was important because it was going to unfold his destiny and shape his personality. What he saw at night became part and parcel of his personality. He carried the burden of Hassan’s rape at the hands of Assef. It made him insomniac and relentless for all his life. Then the past was again in front of eyes again. The images was Ali, Kabul, Hassan was looming in front of his eyes as if a film is being played on. And in some pictures there are no fast forwarding or rewinding options at all. One has to bear the brunt of the consequences which ultimately leave you in lurch. “Hassan never denied me anything. And he was deadly with his slingshot”CITATION Hos03 p 4 l 1033 (Hosseni 4).
Lacanian Psychoanalysis deals with subject of “I”. When an infant realizes his own identity through a stage of mirror and makes it identical with an image at the very nascent stage of 18 months it is very difficult for one to separate it from the personality. Lacanian psychoanalysis is very much evident in The Kite Runner and through portrayal of Amir Agha’s character we delve deeper into deciphering the layer after layer embedded in Lacanian psychoanalysis. Amir always thought of himself as the superior being. We are at crossroads with Lacanian Psychoanalysis in a clear cut manner. Sense of self identification is an important process and it includes ones importance in ones own eyes. If Hassan never retaliated from giving him anything that was a matter of pride for Amir. He thought it an act of subjugation. Hassan’s never declining him anything made Hassan inferior in his eyes. All his life he thought what Hassan would do except doing household chores and cooking. Here “I” takes an important hold. Ones own self is important and playing in pivotal roles performed by him. Lacan says the sense of “I” is the freedom of oneself at the very outset. This is how a person realizes his place in his life and also the people surrounding his life. He feels joy in subjugating other because it satisfies his ego and there is a fulfillment of his needs. And Amir is all set towards Lacanian Psychoanalysis and the tripartite model of Mirror stage. “Hassan never talked about his mother, as if she had never existed. I always wondered of he dreamed about her, about how she looked like, where she was. I wondered if he longed to meet her. Did he ache for her, the way I ached for mother I had never met?CITATION Hos03 p 5 l 1033 (Hosseni 5).
The lacanian psychoanalysis is clearly manifested in the above mentioned lines. When you are in development of Mirror stage you ache for the love and affection of the primary care giver. You form an image of that person in the imagination and even at some point of their lives they tend to become like that. It is where their sense of pride lies. Hassan never talked about his mother and her whereabouts only fact he knew is that she passed away while giving birth to him. While the fact remains that she runs away and Amir and Hasaan are fed from the same breasts. Hassan never dreams like Amir Agha about his mother.
The process of Lacanian psychoanalysis is deeply engrossed in the personality of Amir. He keeps thinking about his mother. How would she looked like and what kind of mannerism she would have. At the very nascent stage you yearn and long for mother’s love. Infants are more closer to their mothers and find it more easier to communicate with mothers through the gestures of signifier, though language is of prime importance. Amir longs for the mother and keeps thinking about the mother he had never met. Psychologically, this yearning for mother signifies fulfillment of a basic need in children. Their lives have emptiness if there is no primary care giver and then they form a image which replicates that emptiness and Baba is one just such image. He makes Baba the centrifugal force of his life. He wants the attention of Baba and at times he slains the wishes or image of Hassan for attaining that kind of love and affection. We see that despite so many hurdles and a very simple life, Hassan and Amir have personality poles apart. One keeps demanding the sacrifices and one becomes mere puppet at the hands of fate. There are polarities in both the personalities. Despite the fact that Amir is provided every basic necessity of life and Hassan is deprived of many things still he is contended, he is at times too modest that he lowers his gaze and never even asks for a birthday present. Whereas, we find shades of lacanian psychoanalysis in the personality of Amir. It seems like that there are some inner demons in Amir which don’t let him be at peace.
“Hassan and I fed from same breasts. We took our first step on the same lawn same yard. And, under same roof, we spoke our first words. Mine was Baba. His was Amir. My name. Looking back on it now, I think for what happened in the winter of 1975- and that followed- was already laid in those first words”CITATION Hos03 p 11 l 1033 (Hosseni 11).
The chief characteristic of Mirror stage is that one becomes narcissist as always. There are so many traits of sense of superiority. Subjugating the weaker lot gives a kind of pleasure principle to the identification of “I”. The person finds a kind of relief in being superior. Amir Agha, tells about his feelings regarding. He and Hassan are fed from same breasts. They sharedsame kind of childhood, under the same roof. But when it came to utter their first word Amir spoke the name of Baba. And Hassan spoke his name; Amir. Amir in whom he confined all his innocence, and a life which he sacrificed for him. In his name he followed a sense of security and protection. Infants mostly speak the names of their parents. But Hassan spoke Amir. It is so much strange to utter a name of friend or a brother. Amir, looking it back after a long span of time of twenty-six years thinks that what stupidity or big mistake of cowardice he made that night of 1975 when Hassan was raped, Hassanis a kind of shelter and who looked for a motherly comfort in Amir.
Even when the time Assef approached him and made fun of him as a Hazara boy and raped him. Watching him from a distance in that dark alley in 1975 Hassan must be waiting for Amir to come and rescue him from the un-fateful event. But there was no one. It takes a lion’s heart to see the wretched condition of Hassan which is only victim of his innocence. There was nobody for him who could say, for you, a thousand times over. This is what pinched Amir even after being grown up into a man. He feels remorse for that. Uttering his name acts like a knife on his throat. He feels the burden of uttering that name; Amir Agha. We feel pity for Hassan who is like a lamb being slaughtered on the day before Eid who knows about his impending death. Hassan was helpless and hapless in that valley of tears and bore all that pain alone.
“I went to Lake Gharghe with Baba. I lied to Baba that Hassan had the runs. I wanted Baba all to myself. And besides, one time at Ghargjr Lake, Hassan and I were skimming stones and Hassan made his stone skip eight times. The most I managed was five. Babawas there, watching he patted Hassan on the back. Even put his arm around his shoulder”CITATION Hos03 p 14 l 1033 (Hosseni 14).
Amir never cared for Hassan even if it was lying towards Baba. Small and petty issues build up personality of an individual. Amir’s personality had many flaws. Hurting the integrity of Hassan was the chief trait. During the mirror stage development it happens we tend to find happiness by subjugating others. Whenever, it was possible for Amir to take advantage of Hassan he took that. He always tries to subjugate Hassan by making him feel inferior. During an event at Ghagra lake where Baba took Hassan and Amir, where Hassan was good at kite flying and kite running he was also good at other sports as well. Both were doing the activity of skipping the stones and Hassan did that. To gratify his sense of pride Amir felt a jealousy towards Hassan when Baba unintentionally used to pat Hassan back. Amir wanted all this attention for himself. He didn’t wanted to share the love of Baba with anybody. He wanted to fix Baba’s attention solely from him. In mirror stage when primary care giver is absent and you are shifted towards your object of desire by residuum of your perception who wants that person only to be belonging to you.
The central piece of attention becomes the “I”. To satisfy the needs of “I” one can go at any length. Hassan never got that attention and affection of which Amir longed and for him, he conjured up a plan of blaming Hassan of robbery and making them leave the village. The disturbed personality further advances towards more malice and indignation.
“The curious thing was, I never thought of Hassan and me as friends either. Not in the usual sense, anyhow. Never mind that we taught each other to ride bicycle with no hands, or a fully functional homemade camera out of a card box. Never mind that we spent entire winter flying kites, running kites. Never mind that to me, the face of Afghanistan is that of a boy with thin-boned frame, a shaved head, and low set ears, a boy with Chinese doll face perpetually lit by hare lipped smile” . Never mind any of those things. In the end, I was a Pashtun, he was a Hazara, I was a Sunni, he was Shi’a, and nothing was ever going to change that. Nothing CITATION Hos03 p 25 l 1033 (Hosseni 25).
Hosseini has portrayed the elements which can be traced easily for Mirror stage. It is part and parcel of Mirror stage that the person is totally immersed in the abysmal depth of concept of “I”. Nothing is more important than the own self. The central point of attention is ones personality. They are rarely attention givers or who are willing to share the desired of credit of people where required.
Whereas, Hassan is totally opposite to him, who always surrenders in terms of materialistic things and pure feelings. He always displays sheer sagacity of sacrifice. Hassan is embodiment of loyalty. Whereas, Amir even don’t take him as friend. What more display of loyalty can be there that instead of uttering the name of parents you speak the first word as of your friend who is oblivious of the fact that same very person is his brother as well? Amir takes him a servant which again has traces of Lacanian psychoanalysis in his personality. What if both had played together, grown together, ran after kites together Amir Agha thought him as somebody alien and inappropriate for this world. He even goes at such length that even physical features and subjugating them is also a important aspect for him. According to Amir, the Afghans have lean face and thin framed face whereas Hassan was like a harelipped figure that was often called as “Hazara boy” due to his Chinese like features. Such an indignation at the hands of Hassan. According to him, he is a Sunni and Hassan is labeled a Shi’a who is not superior over to the Sunnis. He thinks that even cast superiority also matters. Where the real thing lies is that when you are in developmental phase of Mirror stage you automatically become prone to these thoughts. You brain is wired in certain way and one tends to have these kind of thought. Narcisstic traits have taken over Amir to such an extent from where there is no coming back. With such notions he gratifies his sense of “I” which is a source of pleasure principal for him.
“Despite Hassan’s illiteracy, or may be because of it, Hassan was drawn to mastery of words, seduced by a secret world forbidden to him. I read him poems and stories, sometimes riddles-though I stopped reading when I saw he was far better at solving at them than I was. So I read him unchallenging things like tales of Mullah Nasruddin and his donkey.
One day I was reading him a word of Mullah Nasruddin story there came a word
What does that mean? Imbecile? You don’t know what does it means? I said grinning. Butit’s such a common word. Still I don’t of it. He felt the sting of my tease, his smiling face didn’t show it”CITATION Hos03 p 28 l 1033 (Hosseni 28).
Hassan and Amir had a childhood together they spent all their time in each other’s company it was very natural for them to know each other’s weaknesses as well. But Amir knew more than Hassan knew. There were so many narcissist traits in Amir that he always found happiness in small things to tease Hassan. Despite the fact, Hassan didn’t know many words and was a illiterate person he had great mastery over words. He had more elegant command over listening and remembering things. It was during their conversation that there came up a word “Imbecile” which meant half-stupid. Hassan just asked him the word to be repeated him and in return he said him things which hurted him to the core of the heart. It is characteristic of Mirror stage of having superior feelings and making fun of others. Amir did the same. Without having any kind of remorse or redemption. Sometimes, the thorns of redemption irritates you, pinches you after many years late in your life. Same happened with Amir as well. If there was a way to be good again, you have to pay a certain price for that. Sometimes, time is cruel things it doesn’t gives you chances time and again. But Amir was lucky that life favored him. He had a chance to be good again for all the wrong things he did to Hassan.
Hassan who was an illiterate and never wrote a single word in his entire life. A voice, cold and dark whispered in my ear. What does he know? That illiterate Hazara? He will never be anything but a cook. How dare he criticize you?CITATION Hos03 p 34 l 1033 (Hosseni 34).Amir always thought of Hassan as a poor chap and himself more superior than him because he thought that because of the development occurred in him during thr nascent stage of Mirror stage. He had superior views regarding himself and always use to toy with Hassan. According to him, Hassan was nothing more than a poor chap, a Hazara boy who had nothing big to do in life. He had no big dreams. He led a normal and a simple life. Hassan could not read and write. But he was an ardent and avid reader. He was curious to know about new things, new words and had a knack for listening the stories of Rustom and Sohrab. Later in life, he named his son as Sohrab as well. The darker side of Amir always made him think that Hassan was an inferior being. He could never accomplish anything big in life. However, Hassan never criticized him but it internally pricked his conscience and how dare Hassan ever utter anything to him which is unlikable to Amir. These feelings were nurtured and watered during the process of Mirror stage. Now the roots have gone deeper and Amir was a strong trunk of what we call “Lacanian psychoanalysis”.
Baba never missed Hassan’s birthday. For a while, he used to ask what Hassan wanted. But he gave up doing that because Hassan was always too modest to do that. The previous year Baba had surprised him with Clint Eastwood hat which they both exchanged whole winters CITATION Hos03 p 44 l 1033 (Hosseni 44). For Amir, Baba was his mother and father both. When the gaze of mother was absent in the life of Amir. He formed an image of Baba as his primary care giver. He looked to him for all his attention and love. Baba, was everything to him. People who are victims of Mirror stage or who go through Lacanian psychoanalysis cannot bear much about people around them. For them “I” is the supreme entity. All love, care and attention must be showered to them. Same happened with Amir Agha, he didn’t like when Baba used to ask Hassan about his birthday gifts. He was in habit of giving gifts to both of them. As somewhere in his heart he knew that Hassan was his blood. Hassan was his son. At times, when he used to pat Hassan or praise him for things he did. Amir was always jealous of that. He wanted all attention for himself. Hassan was brought up by Ali in such a way that he didn’t even ask for any single thing. He was in a way too modest for that. His humility was love by Baba. He was the real prince of Baba’s eye. Amir could not even bear that why Baba was so affectionate towards Hassan. What made him do so? Was Hassan more superior to him? What goodness he possessed? These were the questions which haunted Hassan. His inner demons were always at work not letting him at peace. I wish I too had some kind of scar that would beget Baba’s sympathy. It wasn’t fair. Hassan hadn’t done anything to earn Baba’s affections; he had just been born with that stupid harelip CITATION Hos03 p 46 l 1033 (Hosseni 46).Amir was so desperate to be loved by Baba that he was also willing to have the scar like Hassan used to have. Sometimes, we tend to think that it was Amir’s fault to behave like this his development during the mirror stage made him so. It was destined to have such kind of thoughts and have animosity and bitterness towards Hassan. He desperately wanted himself to be treated by the Indian doctor for that one hare lipped scar Hassan had. On the other hand it was natural on the part of Baba to love Hassan as it was his own blood. Only Baba, Rahim Khan and Ali knew that Hassan was Baba’s blood. Though, he never showered his love towards Hassan in the presence of Amir. Still Amir had such negative feelings. When the primary care giver is missing. He wanted Baba as an image formed on his mind screen, he wanted Baba to shift all his love and focus towards Hassan. But Hassan was by far the greatest kite runner I have ever seen. It was downright eerie the way he always got to the spot the kite would land before the kite did, as if he had some sort of inner compass CITATION Hos03 p 56 l 1033 (Hosseni 56).
Where Amir had many mixed feelings towards Hassan he also marvelled at his kite running skills. He was the only one in the town to fly kite with such precision. It was running for Amir’s blue kite in the kite running tournament that he went into that deserted and barren land, where he encountered Assef who brutally raped and mocked. He tortured his soul and whereas Hassan was fulfilling the promise of for you, a thousand times over. If he had not been running for the kite for Amir he would have met that unfortunate and gritty incidence which had changed the lives of Hassan and Amir. There are several nuances where we find the glimpse of Lacanian psychoanalysis in the personality of Amir. Here we come across the most vivid description. He loves to mock and make him feel inferior. He behaves with him like a tortured insect while they used to play on same theme. He loves to subjugate Hassan. He loved to test his mettle and ask him that whether he can lie to him or not. Hassan never lied to him at all. He always cared for Amir. It was impossible to cheat and betray Amir. He was more than a friend to him. His dearest best friend on whom he relied for support to lean on whereas Amir never became that support not even the day he was raped and saw everything standing alone in that vast barren land.
His eyes searched my face for a long time. We sat there, two boys under the sour cherry tree, suddenly looking, really looking at each other. That is when it happened again. Hassan’s face changed. May be not changed, not really, but suddenly I realized I was looking at two different faces, the one I knew, the one which was my first memory, and another, a second face, this was just lurking beneath the sunCITATION Hos03 p 64 l 1033 (Hosseni 64).
It is not possible for a person for not realizing that what he is doing for a long span of time. Amir kept on teasing and checked the mettle of Hassan’s friendship. Sometimes, it used to make the situation awkward. Hassan never spoke to Amir about the things to him and how he made him feel at times. It was only Amir who always wanted to be focal attention and somewhere inside in deepest recesses of his heart he knew he had tormented Hassan. Hassan’s expression used to tell him a lot about his inner feelings. He was too modest and humble that he never grew any malice against him.
I kept stealing glances at Baba sitting with Rahim Khan on the roof, wondered what he was thinking. Was he cheering for me? Or did a part of him enjoy watching me fail? That was the thing about kite flying: Your mind drifted with the kite. They were coming down all over the place now, the kites, and I was still flying. I was still flying. My eyes kept wandering over to Baba, bundled up in his wool sweater. Was he surprised I had lasted as long as I had. You don’t keep your eyes to the sky, you won’t last much longer CITATION Hos03 p 63 l 1033 (Hosseni 63).Baba was all what Amir wanted in his Mirror stage development days and later in life. He couldn’t see Hassan excelling in life. During the kite running competition it was Amir who was glancing Baba that his attention and all the applause must be shifted towards him. He was watching Baba while he and Hassan were flying late. During kite running tournament it is pertinent for a person to fix his eyes on kite and look straight into the deep blue sky of Afghanistan. Amir throughout the whole kite flying tournament was watching his Baba. Was he happy and loved to see him fail? Or he wanted his other love-deprived son to win ultimately. He constantly fixed his gaze towards Baba and wanted him cheer for him only not for Hassan.
My suspicions had been right all those years. He knew about Assef, the kite, the money, the watch with the lightning bolt hands. He had always known. Come. There is a way to be good again, Rahim Khan said that on the phone just before hanging up. Said it in passing, almost as an afterthought. A way to be good again CITATION Hos03 p 184 l 1033 (Hosseni 184).
During the conversation with Rahim Khan he felt the vibes that Rahim Khan knew all about that “frigid night of 1975” when that ill-fated incident happened. He was feeling horror from inside what was his whole life. A lie? People knowing each and everything and keeping their mouth closed just at the behest of Baba. There is a good to be good again for striking his mind like his mind strike with words of Hassan “for you, a thousand times over”. It was guilt and redemption which was haunting him from inside. The burden he couldn’t anymore bear. It was suffocating his chest. It seems like a giant elephant sitting on his chest and making difficult to breathe. Now it was Amir’s turn to do something good. To do something good to hare-lipped Hassan’s son and set himself free from shackles of atonement. “Hassan” I said. When was the last time I had spoken his name. Those thorny old barbs if guilt bore into me once more, as speaking his name has broken a spell, set them free to torment me anew” CITATION Hos03 p 202 l 1033 (Hosseni 202).
Sometimes, there are few names which leave eternal footprints in your heart. Amir felt the dejection and guilt all his life for the fact that he couldn’t do anything to save Hassan from that evil Assef and his men. How he tormented Hassan and he never uttered a single word to anybody except Ali, Rahim Khan. Amir bore guilt and redemption for that there was no flee. He spoke Hassan’s name after a long time and it seemed as if a spell has been broken to torment him again. As some magical wand is there to fill his soul with agony and strife. His soul was immersed in pain for last twenty six years. When guilt is born inside a person it doesn’t leave a person that easily. Sometimes, it crawls with you to the grave. Such is the curse of guilt. It eats your soul like a termite and you’re helpless and hapless.
How could he have lied to me all these years? To Hassan? He had sat me on his lap when I was little, looked me straight in the eyes, and said, There is only one sin. When you steal someone’s right to the truth. Hadn’t he said all those words to me? And now, fifteen years I had buried him, I was learning that Baba had been thief. Moreover, a thief of worst kind, because the things he had stolen had been sacred: from me the right to know I had a brother, from Hassan his identity and from Ali his honor. His nang. His Namoos” CITATION Hos03 p 225 l 1033 (Hosseni 225).
When somebody is close to us we automatically build up expectations and want that person to fulfill those expectations at any cost. Same happened with Amir. It was Baba who lied to Amir about the fact that Hassan was his brother. If he knew at the nascent state that Hassan was his half-brother he would have saved him. Things wouldn’t have those far reaching repercussions. It wouldn’t have burdened his soul. Fifteen years later after his demised who would be there to answer all his questions which shaped his personality into a hollow one. There is nobody to answer him. There is no Baba who could answer Hassan about his lost identity. To Amir, Baba was thief. All his life he gave lessons of being pious and all and what he did with Hassan. He played with three lives and he should have felt the remorse for that. From the past that had come calling. And from this one last chance at redemption” CITATION Hos03 p 227 l 1033 (Hosseni 227).
Amir’s past was calling him once again for the way to be good again. To do some good things again for his nephew. To save him from evil Assef. To bring him back to New York and adopt him as his own child. The past had a calling. Every past has a calling. It calls you when you are at a certain point in your life. When your soul is full of redemption you feel that something is coming to rescue them. And this was his one last chance at redemption. To make amends for what he did and what he could do. He made up his mind to go to Afghanistan and find out about Sohrab who was once again in same difficulty once Hassan was. This time he didn’t want anything to stop him. Not even Sorraya Jaan.
Your father, like you, was a tortured soul, Rahim Khan had written. May be so. We both sinned and betrayed. But Baba had found a way to create well out of his remorse. What I had done, other than take out my guilt on same very people I had betrayed, and then try to forget that all? What I had done, other than become an insomniac? CITATION Hos03 p 303 l 1033 (Hosseni 303).
It seemed that guilt and remorse were not leaving Amir at all. He thought about Baba that Rahim Khan said “your Baba was a tortured soul, like you”. He was a tortured soul but he had a way out he did things for Ali and Hassan. He provided love, food and shelter to Hassan. And deep in his heart he might have more love for Hassan than himself. But what he did all his life? He couldn’t do anything good or fruitful to anybody. He betrayed the same people who fed him with love and care. And in return he turned his back against him and forgot about them at once and never tried to trace down the seeds he has sown in past. Baba had a ventilation and compensation but his soul was burdened. A tortured one. All his life he remained insomniac, he couldn’t sleep properly due to the injustice done to his own people.
I looked at Hassan, showing those two missing front teeth, sunlight slanting on his face. Baba’s other half. The entitled, unprivileged half. The half who had inherited what had been pure and noble in Baba. The half that, maybe, in most secret recesses of his heart, Baba had thought of as his true son CITATION Hos03 p 360 l 1033 (Hosseni 360).
While summing up the text of The Kite Runner we conclude that Amir at the end was free from the shackles of redemption. When he saw the photo of Hassan in Sohrab’s hand he thought about all his life. His life ran like film on the screen of his mind. He still thought about Baba and Hassan and same thing was looming over his mind that Hassan inherited all the good traits from his Baba and he had his own demons in himself. In the deepest recesses of Baba’sheart it was Hassan who was his true son. In addition, who proved by his loyalty that he was his true son?
After detailed data analysis and deciphering the text with the lens of Lacanian Psychoanalysis we find so many traces of Mirror stage. One is moved to tears due to the heart-wrenching events happening in the story. We find Amir Agha at crossroads engrossed deeply in Lacanian Psychoanalysis. It is because during the tender age of eighteen months he forms an image called Mirror stage. Mirror stage is when an infant forms an image when primary care giver is absent and you conjure up an alternate image for fulfilling those needs. These needs are basically are craving for love, care and affection. Finally, after thick examination of data analysis it is proved by Hassan; the real brother of Amir Agha that he proved his sincerity towards him. For you, a thousand times over is proved with sheer devotion. Hassan often seems like Sufi saint who always negates the calling of his soul and listens the urge of the other people. People like Hassan are whirling dervish who just keep on spinning in one direction of sacrifice; just was integrity of Hassan. It was Hassan who sacrificed his soul on that “frigid night of 1975” to make his friend proud during Kite tournament. There are several nuances of Lacanian psychoanalysis in the text where Amir’s personality is dealing with demons of Mirror stage.
By reading text in detail we find out that Baba is the primary and centrifugal force of Amir’s life. At every stage of his life he looks up to Baba for appreciation and his need for love and attention. He always wanted Baba to love him more than Hassan who was his own half blood.
Mirror stage develops in Amir in his formative years and he is caught in quagmire of problems to deal with. Those traits haunt him till he becomes insomniac while living in America. This sort of personality also has narcissist attitude towards people and things attached to them. They tend to be more superior to others. Amir was always a hypersensitive child who longed for Baba’s attention whereas, Hassan and Amir fed from same breasts but both had personality’s poles apart. We find out that Mirror stage inculcated traits in his personality which acted as poison. The hemlock was catalyst for his personality. He remained restless for twenty-six long years until the final redemption came. Lacanian Psychoanalysis makes you selfish and one is delved deep into sense of superiority complex. They are waging war with their own souls. Same happened with Amir as well. He was battling with so many issues inside his soul. Somewhere, inside his heart he knew what kind of cowardice he has shown towards Hassan. Amir by keeping himself under the umbrella of Lacanian psychoanalysis lost the shade and space of tranquility of his soul. He knew what crime he did years ago.
After probing text we find out that Amir was by-product of Lacanian psychoanalysis. What image he formed regarding his Baba in his childhood that image stayed with him all his life. It happens when an infant forms an image for the one he needs the most to cater to need for love and care, while primary care giver like mother is missing. Though, he atones for his doings our heart bleeds for Hassan, more than a thousand times.
The role of Mirror stage is important in one’s life. It shapes the personality and also plays pivotal role how the human beings will play its function in the society. It determines the role of an individual in the society. It also plays integral part in shaping of one’s personality. The traits which are inculcated in formative years of Mirror stage stays with the individual until he atones for things which hamper to deal with the society.
Amir, the Protagonist of The Kite Runner is product of Lacanian Psychoanalysis; he deals with guilt and redemption due to one act of cowardice by not helping out Hassan when he was in dire need. To be good again, was the only way to atone for his sin and to get rid of the perturbed past. By adopting Sohrab and coming to rescue him, he dealt with his Lacanian psychoanalysis in a somber way. He proved that all is not lost, there is always a chance to be good again for interpersonal control to make his life bearable.
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