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Assef: Why Is He the Way He Is?
Merriam-Webster defines a sociopath as “someone who behaves in a unsafe or violent way towards other individuals and does not really feel guilty about such behavior.” Over the course of the novel we, as readers, are offered a lot of proof that Assef is clearly a sociopath. It could be argued that simply because he believes that he is doing the cruel things that he does in the name of his religion, he need to not be considered a sociopath. Nevertheless, for the majority of what he does, he basically utilizes religion as a front, so it seems only to his twisted mind that he is correct. The initial time we see Assef do anything really cruel is when he rapes Hassan for not giving him the kite. 1 of his friends, Wali, says “‘I do not know…My father says it’s sinful’” (Hosseini). His religion clearly doesn’t condone this action, so that is not a valid explanation for his actions or lack of guilt.
Later, when Amir returns to Afghanistan, his 1st reintroduction to Assef is the sight of Assef stoning a man and lady who committed adultery. The majority crowd was appalled, but could do absolutely nothing to cease it, if they themselves wished to remain unharmed. This scene clearly has a religious overtone, with the cleric quoting the Koran and explaining to the masses why the couple needed to be punished. It is interesting, though, that rather than listening to the cleric speak and treating the occasion as a religious ceremony, Assef remains in the truck till the cleric finishes speaking. He only gets out of the truck to actually be the 1 who gets to throw the stones, and clearly delights in the act of killing the couple.
As westerners developing up in the time of the war on terrorism, we have almost been educated to associate Assef’s cruelty and lack of empathy solely with the fact that Assef is a terrorist. We have been raised on the idea that “terrorists need to be crazy, or suicidal, or psychopaths with out moral feelings or feelings for others” (McCauley). Several research, however, have discovered that this is not actually the case. In fact, “thirty years of study has found psychopathology and character disorder no much more likely among terrorists than among non-terrorists” (McCauley). This isn’t to say that Assef doesn’t have any psychological issues, but rather that they are not straight linked to him getting in the Taliban.
Whilst Assef getting in the Taliban does not directly correlate to why he is a sociopath, this element may possibly nonetheless assist us to assess how he became to be one. In his report “Understanding the Sociopath: Result in, Motivation, Partnership,” Seth Meyers tries to understand and discover the thoughts of of sociopath. Primarily what the report emphasizes is that we actually haven’t found really much about what sociopathy is, except a lack of empathy and morals and an overabundance of rage (Meyers). An experiment performed in 2010 by Christopher J. Ferguson shows that about 56% of Antisocial Character Disorder (the medical terminology for sociopathy) diagnoses are connected to genetic influences (Meyers). Because there is no clear way of understanding no matter whether Assef inherited his sociopathy, or whether it was brought about by external circumstances, it is impossible to determine why Assef is a sociopath. Nevertheless, we can still apply this data to uncover why Assef joined the Taliban.
In 2003, an Algerian illegally living in London named Rachid wrote an post entitled “Inside the Thoughts of a Terrorist” for the Guardian. He explores what leads people to terrorism, and gives a 1st-hand account of what it is like to live below terrorist rule. He explains that terrorists are basically the equivalent of gangsters (Rachid). They wear the most expensive designer brands, and obtain their nicknames and “street cred” primarily based on issues such as “the speed at which he could kill policemen and then run away” (Rachid). The important to individuals becoming terrorists is not only men and women like Osama bin Laden recruiting people and calling them to arms, but also an underlying anger at becoming suppressed and abused for believing in a religion (Rachid). When all of these variables are regarded, it is effortless to see why a sociopath such as Assef would want to be a part of this group. Sociopaths have an “astonishing” sense of entitlement fueled by rage and resentment (Meyers). In a terrorist group this mentality is easily exploited, and is even deemed an outstanding trait. While terrorist groups are not directly linked to psychological issues, they are the ideal place for sociopaths indulge themselves, in the name of their religion, with out threat of consequences.
There is no doubt that Assef is a sociopath or that he exploits his function in the Taliban to indulge his worst tendencies. Although the terrorist groups are not breeding grounds for mental disorders, they are nonetheless absolutely sanctuaries for these who veil their disorders with a front of religion. Assef by no means has to strive for redemption since his sociopathy enables him to detach himself and feel above redemption, although Amir, who is nonetheless connected to his feelings, has to ceaselessly strive for redemption since of his overwhelming empathy for other people.
Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. New York: Riverhead Books, 2003. Print.McCauley, Clark. “Clark McCauley: The Psychology of Terrorism.” After 9/11. Social Science Analysis Council, n.d. Web. 11 May possibly 2014. <http://essays.ssrc.org/sept11/essays/mccauley.htm>.Meyers, Seth . “Understanding the Sociopath: Trigger, Motivation, Relationship.” . Psychology These days, 2 Apr. 2013. Net. 24 Might 2014. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/weblog/insight-is-2020/201304/understanding-the-sociopath-trigger-motivation-relationship>.Rachid. “Inside the Mind of a Terrorist.” The Observer. Guardian News and Media, 9 Mar. 2003. Internet. 11 May 2014. <http://www.theguardian.com/globe/2003/mar/09/terrorism>.
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