The Kite Runner – Redemption
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In a lifetime, everyone will face personal battles and guilt. Such as guilt over sneaking out, not doing homework, or telling your parents a lie. People find peace of mind through redeeming themselves, in other words, we do something that makes up for the cause of guilt. Khaled Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner revolves around betrayal and redemption. Amir lives with the guilt he has built up over the years because of one incident from his childhood. Although Amir destroyed the lives of many people, he has had more than one opportunity to redeem himself of his guilt. How often does one stop and think, “How will this affect everyone else in my life?” Amir had a chance in the alley, to put Hassan first and change the path of both their lives, but he made the decision to turn around and run because he thought it was the best for him. “I had one last chance to make a decision. One final opportunity to decide who I was going to be. I could step into that alley, stand up for Hassan, the way he’d stood up for me all those times in the past and accept whatever would happen to me or I could run. In the end, I ran. I ran because I was a coward.
I was afraid of Assef and what he would do to me. I was afraid of getting hurt. That’s what I told myself as I turned my back to the alley, to Hassan. That’s what I made myself believe. I actually aspired to cowardice, because the alternative, the real reason I was running, was that Assef was right: Nothing was free in this world. Maybe Hassan was the price I had to pay, the lamb I had to slay, to win Baba.” (Hosseini 77) Amir’s selfish ways were from his father’s neglection towards him. This made him incredibly jealous of Hassan. As the tension increased between the two, Amir could no longer stand to see Hassan everyday because of he could not bare seeing his father showing Hassan love and not him. Hassan and his father are forced to leave their home after Amir places his watch under Hassan’s pillow and blames him for stealing it. Hassan did not even deny the accusations because he had figured out what Amir was doing. “Hassan knew. He knew I had betrayed him and yet he was rescuing me once again, maybe for the last time.” (Hosseini 111)
Even after the theft incident of the watch, Amir’s father is willing to forgive Hassan which stunned Amir, and made him see that the love his father has for Hassan is greater than he imagined. Amir did not just ruin Hassan’s life, he also ruined the lives of many people with his decisions after the incident in the alley. Baba lost a chance to watch Hassan grow up and also lost the chance to bring him to America so he could start a new life. Sohrab lost both his parents and childhood to war and tried to commit suicide as a result of Amir going back on his promise to keep him safe from orphanages. Soraya lost her right to the truth when Amir kept his past a secret even though she opened up to him about hers. It is one thing to destroy your own life with guilt, but it is a completely different issue when you destroy the lives of others. Before Amir can start to redeem himself, he must realize that he can’t go back and change what he has done as a child, and that he also must find inner peace.
Although if it was not for Amir’s actions as a child, Sohrab never would have needed to be saved in the first place but by saving Sohrab, it does make a difference. From the moment he chose to turn his back on Hassan, there were many chances where “There’s a way to be good again” (Hosseini 238) for all his wrongdoings, but he chose not to take any of them. Sohrab was his last and only chance for redemption. Amir admits that he cost Hassan a chance at a good life and that he had many opportunities to change the outcome of his life. But at this moment when he says “I have a wife in America, a home, a career and a family”. But how could I pack up and go back home when my actions may have cost Hassan a chance at those very same things? And what Rahim Khan revealed to me changed things. Made me see how my entire life, long before the winter of 1975, dating back to when that singing Hazara woman was still nursing me, had been a cycle of lies betrayals and secrets.” (Hosseini 238) he realized he could lose everything he has built in America, but for the first time in his life, Amir did not care about only himself, he came to terms with what he had done, and he was ready to redeem himself at any cost. Amir finally became the man who stood up for himself and his sins.
Throughout his childhood, Amir looked for his father’s affection and he never could get it. His father had said “I’m telling you, Rahim, there is something missing in that boy.” (Hosseini 24) Amir’s father would have been proud of him at this very moment because that was all he had wanted from him. The guilt that was built over the years was finally put to rest at the safety of Sohrab. In Afghanistan when Amir stood up for Sohrab and Assef severly beat him up, Amir had said “My body was broken—just how badly I wouldn’t find out until later—but I felt healed. Healed at last. I laughed.” –pg.289 which showed Amir had come to terms with what he had done as a child and was finally felt relieved. Although he was getting beat up, it did not matter anymore, he just wished he had stood up to Assef years ago, and maybe he would have earned his redemption in that alley.