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In a lifetime, everyone will face personal battles and guilt, some large and some small. Such as guilt over sneaking out, not doing homework, or telling your parents a little white 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. Redemption is the act of saying or being saved from sin, error or evil, which the main character Amir seems to need the most. Amir lives with the guilt he has built up over the years because of one incident from his childhood. Amir’s fathers words still echo through his head “A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything.” –pg. 24 Although Amir destroyed the lives of many people, and he has had more than one opportunity to redeem himself of his guilt, he is not the selfish little boy he once was.

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 it was what he thought was 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.” –pg.77

Amir’s selfish ways were a result of the lack of his father’s affection in his life. As a young boy, he was forced to deal with his father’s disinterest in him, which made him incredibly jealous of Hassan. Amir could not understand at the time, why his father adored his servant’s son more than his own son. As the tension increases between Amir and Hassan, Amir can no longer stand to see Hassan everyday because of what Amir had not stopped and 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 accuses him of 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.” –pg.111 Even after the alleged theft 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 his son, 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 to war because they were still living in Afghanistan, lost his 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 go on the road to redemption, Amir must realize that he can’t go back and change what he has done as a child, and he 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, the last piece of Hassan’s life, 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” –pg.238 for all his wrongdoings, but he chose not to take any of these. Sohrab was his last and only chance for redemption.

“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.” –pg.238

Amir admits that he cost Hassan a chance at a good life and that he had many opportunities to change the outcome of Hassan’s life. But at this moment 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.” –pg.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 aggressively 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.

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