1. Friendship, guilt, redemption “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 had said on the phone just before hanging up. Said it in passing, almost as an afterthought. ” (Chapter 14, pg 202). This quote symbolizes how Amir strived to do everything to forget, all he needed to do was to fly to Pakistan and see what Rahim Khan wanted him to do. So that’s exactly what Amir did. Rahim Khan tells Amir that “there is a way to be good again”. Amir knew straightaway what he was talking about.
He realizes, that all of those years, Rahim Khan had known about Assef, the kite, the money, the watch with the lightning bolt hands. He had always known. Rahim Khan had knew about Hassan getting raped. He needs to go to Afghanistan and talk about the ‘unspoken secret’ they both knew about. After the phone conversation, Amir keeps remembering Hassan saying ‘for you, a thousand times over! ’ Thinking of this, he knows he has to go to Afghanistan, see Rahim Khan, uncover the secrets and do whatever he asks to ‘be good again’. By this he means that Amir has the opportunity to make up for his betrayal of Hassan by saving his son, Sohrab.
Rahim Khan knows what really happened to Hassan and also knows that this has been bothering Amir for years so he is basically implying that Amir can still redeem himself if he goes back to Afghanistan. When Amir ran, he ran from jealousy and fear; fear of Assef and fear of his own reputation as a Pashtun standing up for a Hazara. The negativity of the social setting influenced Amir’s rash decision on betraying Hassan. The prevailing theme of guilt and redemption is weaved through the journey of Amir’s life, influenced by the society, where Hazaras are betrayed. 2.
Parental relationships “Here is another cliche my creative writing teacher would have scoffed at; like father like son. But, it was true, wasn’t it? As it turned out, Baba and I were more alike than I’d ever known. We had both betrayed the people who would have given their lives for us. And with that came this realization: that Rahim Khan had summoned me there to atone not just for my sins but for Baba’s too. ” (Chapter 18, pg 238) I chose this quote because not only is it ironic in and of itself, but it also ironically characterizes all the characters in the novel.
Amir felt his “sin”—betraying Hassan—made him so different from his father. He has spent much of his life trying to please Baba and mimic his father’s life. It is ironic that now, all these years later, when he discovers he and had father were so similar, it sickens him rather than bringing him joy. In the novel, he continually states that he would’ve never would have dreamed that Baba’s greatest sin would be theft on so many different levels (stealing wife, purity, truth) and gone against the nang and namoos, he so adamantly preached to his son.
Amir and Baba’s relationship changes throughout the novel. The novel starts out with Amir doing whatever he could to win his father’s attention, which includes betraying his best friend, Hassan. He betrayed Hassan for his father’s full attention. He then earns it when Hassan and Ali move out and Baba and Amir move to America. This quote shows that Amir and Baba are very alike. They both betrayed their best friends. Baba betrayed Ali by sleeping with his wife, and Amir betrayed Hassan by not standing up for him while getting assaulted. Then they both try to redeem themselves with doing other good deeds.
Baba, running an orphanage, and Amir going back to Kabul to save Sohrab, Hassan’s son. 3. Maturing “Earlier in the morning, when I was certain no one was looking, I did something I had done twenty-six years earlier: I planted a fistful of crumpled money under a mattress” (Chapter 19, pg 254) This quote shows how Amir had changed and grew more mature than before. In Kabul, before he had done the same thing to kick out Ali and Hassan. “I lifted Hassan’s mattress and planted my new watch and a handful of Afghani bills under it. I waited another thirty minutes.
Then I knocked on Baba’s door and told what I hoped would be the last in a long line of shameful lies. ” (pg. 110) Before, when he put the money under Hassan’s mattress, it was a coward move. He did it so Baba would get rid of both Hassan and Ali. Amir kept trying to cover up his past and get rid of it by setting Hassan up. He thought if Hassan left, then everything would go back to normal, but it didn’t. Now, Amir had a heart. Rahim Khan told Amir to come back to Afghanistan to rescue Hassan’s son Sohrab. Amir stayed with Wahid’s family. They didn’t have much at all.
They served Amir all their food they had. Amir felt guilty for all the riches he had. Living in America, without war, having sanitary living conditions and enough food for meals three times a day. So, when it was time for Amir to leave, he snuck a fistful of money under the mattress. This time, it wasn’t a coward who had done it, it had been a loving, but guilty man. Amir was slowly paying back his dues and hardships he had created in the past. 4. Strength of the human spirit “Then I told him I was going to Kabul. Told him to call the Caldwells in the morning.
‘I’ll pray for you, Amir jan,’ he said. ”(Chapter 18 pg 239) Not only did Amir not stand up for himself, he did not stand up for others either (like Hassan when he got raped). Amir didn’t dare to say his opinion, to the public, or to Assef that he and Hassan are friends because Hassan is Hazara and always was going to be. Later that changes. He fights for Sohrab, in fact what he really is doing is fighting back for all the times he didn’t fight for Hassan, against Assef. In the fight he gets hare lipped just like Hassan, I think that’s a symbol.
A symbol that says that he has become as brave as Hassan. Another thing that indicates this change is that in the dreams he used to have where he couldn’t part his father from the bear he later dreams of himself as the bear. He always admired his father, and his father was very brave. Bears are significant as brave and fearless. Back in Kabul, it seemed like Amir was finally doing something good in his life. After some misgivings, Amir agrees to rescue Hassan’s son, Sohrab, from an orphanage in Kabul. Amir even fights against a Taliban official who turns out to be Assef in order to save Sohrab.
This reminds Amir and the readers that this time it wasn’t Hassan who was in Assef’s fist, it was his son and Amir had to save Sohrab because he couldn’t save Hassan last time. This is action instead of inaction; bravery instead of cowardice; selflessness instead of self-absorption. Perhaps this streak of good deeds will make up for his betrayal of Hassan. It’s almost as if the confident Amir combines with the helpless and coward childhood Amir. While saving Sohrab, Amir makes a huge mistake and goes back on a promise to Sohrab. As a result, Sohrab tries to commit suicide.
We’re watching Amir repeat mistakes from the past even as he attempts to put the past to rest. This is Amir at his best and worst and perhaps this is the real Amir that really combines all the previous versions of him. He’s weak and blind, but also essentially kind. He’s jealous, but in the end only wants to be loved. Even though sometimes during the book, we would want to scream at Amir, but as we know that he’s an utterly human character, and can’t blame him for anything. 5. ‘Discrimination and prejudice “True, I hadn’t made Ali step on that land mine, and I hadn’t brought the Taliban to the house to shoot Hassan.
But I had driven Hassan and Ali out of the house. Was it too far-fetched to think things might have turned out differently if I hadn’t? Maybe Baba would have brought them to America. Maybe Hassan would have a home of his own now, a job, a family, a life in a country where no one cared that he was a Hazara, where most people didn’t even know what a Hazara was. Maybe not. But maybe so. ” (Chapter 18, pg 238) The Kite Runner tackles the issue of discrimination in Afghanistan with an example of the relationship between Pashtuns and Hazaras.
Baba’s father sets an example for Amir of being kind to Hazara people, even though they are historically not appreciated and persecuted. Baba could have easily sent Ali to an orphanage after his parents’ death, but he chose not to and picked the decision of raising him in his household. Baba does the same with Hassan, although this is because of the fact that Hassan is actually his son after all. Even in Baba’s house, the house of best intentions, the class barrier between the Pashtuns and Hazaras endures. Ali is as dear to Baba as a brother.
Baba calls him “family. ” But Ali still lives in a hut and sleeps on a mattress on the floor. He tends the garden, cooks, and cleans up after Baba, and raises Hassan to do the same. So strong is Hassan’s identity as a servant that even as an adult, when Baba is gone, he has no sense of entitlement. He insists on staying in the hut and doing housework. When Hassan dies defending Baba’s house, he does so not because he feels it belongs to him, but because he is being loyal to Baba and Amir. Discrimination is everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
Assef tells Amir, “Afghanistan is like a beautiful mansion littered with garbage, and someone has to take out the garbage. ” Like his idol, Hitler, he feels entitled to killing those he deems unworthy of living in his land. He even relishes the term “ethnic cleansing” because it goes so well with his garbage metaphor. Like Baba, many people do not mention the Hazaras’ history of persecution. The author shows that the persecution of the Hazaras is not new, but a greatly intensified outgrowth of long-held discrimination. 6. Man’s inhumanity to man
“How could he have lied to me all those 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. And that is theft… When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. Hadn’t he said those words to me? And now, fifteen years after I’d buried him, I was learning that Baba had been a thief. And a thief of the worst kind, because the things he’d 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.
” (Chapter 18, pg 237) Until Rahim Khan reveals Baba’s secret, Amir thinks he is the only sinner among his family and friends. The biggest shocker to Amir was that Hassan was really his half brother. After Amir’s mother died, Baba had slept with Hassan’s mother and got her pregnant. All along Baba knew that Hassan was his son and Ali covered as his father and the two of them were servants in Baba’s house. Amir thought about the reason why Baba was so worked up over Amir’s mentioning of getting new servants was because he would be losing his son that way.
There were so many signs he realizes like the plastic surgery and always inviting Hassan to events. Amir was filled with anger and he felt betrayed by Rahim and especially Baba. The regret is even greater in his life that he had driven out his own half brother and did not even know it, and now there is no way to make things right because Hassan is dead. Amir is shocked, taken back, and deeply hurt. Even before Amir betrays him, Hassan makes him feel guilty simply by being such a righteous person.
Amir is constantly trying to measure up to Baba, because he does not realize that Baba is so hard on him because of his guilt over his own sin. Amir feels as though his entire life has been a cycle of betrayal, even before he betrayed Hassan. But having a taste of betrayal himself does little towards redeeming Amir. In Ghazi Stadium, the Taliban skews the words of Muhammad in order to justify murdering the alleged adulterers. The mullah announces that every person should have a punishment befitting his sin. Although he would not want to compare himself to the Taliban, Amir believes this in regards to his own sin.
When he tried to get Hassan to pelt him with pomegranates, he was expressing his feeling that in order to be forgiven for hurting Hassan, Hassan must hurt him. When Assef almost kills Amir, he felt “healed,” as though now that Assef has hurt him, it is fair. He even tells Farid that in the room with Assef, he “got what he deserved. ” In the end, Amir finds out that punishment is not what will redeem him from his sin. It is not even saving Sohrab. In order to make up for his sin and Baba’s before him, Amir must erase the lines of discrimination he has lived with all his life by giving Sohrab an equal chance at success and happiness.
Courtney from Study Moose
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