“A moment lasts all of a second, but the memory lives on forever.” (Author Unknown, Thinkexist.com)
This quote means that you have many moments in life that are simply just to take up time and carry one throughout the years but memories are much more important and stay in one’s head forever with no time limit. This quote is significant to the two novels Rush Home Road and Kite Runner because each protagonist has a past that they carry with them throughout their years. Their memories of tragedy are with them forever and there is no way of escaping them permanently. In the novels Rush Home Road by Lori Lansens and Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, the protagonists, Addy and Amir, are constantly drawn back home by recalling difficult memories, through adoption, and with the idea that they have a mission to complete.
In Rush Home Road, the main character, Adelaide Shadd begins to have flashbacks of her past and old life after she adopts Sharla into her life. She has tried hard over the years to bury these memories in the back of her mind and forget about them but they tend to lead her in the direction of home instead. When Addy zones out she recalls difficult times of her past. She relives getting raped, being alone and abandon, and many deaths within her life. As she remembers these moments she is drawn back to her old life mentally and eventually physically as well.
Similarly, in the book Kite Runner the protagonist is also both mentally and physically drawn back home. After Amir stands by his Hazara servant and best friend get raped everything changes in his life. Hassan and he are no longer friends and they become very distant, Hassan and his father, Ali, leave Baba and Amirs’ household to make things better for everyone. Baba and Amir eventually leave Kabul to live somewhere safer and more stable and they end up in America. Amir begins fresh and his past gets pushed to the back of his mind. Although he still lives with the guilt of making the wrong choice and not stopping the event, he is able to live a normal life for the most part.
Amir receives a phone call from Rahim Khan one day and is asked to visit him because he is ill and at the end of the call, said almost as an afterthought, Rahim says to Amir “Come. There is a way to be good again” (192). Amir is faced with his past and he has to make a decision. When he decides to go see Rahim he learns about Hassan’s life and he is asked to rescue Hassan’s son from an orphanage in Afghanistan. Amirs first instinct is to say no, but he thinks it through and decides to do the right thing which brings him back to his home in Kabul.
Adoption is a big part in the novel Rush Home Road, Publishers Weekly states “As Addy turns Sharla from a malnourished, heedless child into a healthy, thoughtful girl, she recollects her own past.” Not only does Addy get abandoned at a young age and has to take it upon herself to find a new family and home, but she also does the right thing when it comes to Sharla. When Sharla’s mother leaves without notice Sharla is left with no one and Addy chooses to take care of her and provides her with a family and stable home. Through the process of raising Sharla, Addy is reminded of her previous life and this triggers her flashbacks. Adelaide frequently thinks about her daughter, Chick, who passed away in a train accident with her Husband Mose.
When it comes to dress Sharla, Addy gives her Chicks old dress, and when it comes Sharla’s birthday she receives Chicks old doll. As Addy continues to go through day to day life with young Sharla she remembers more and more of her past and this is what causes her to be mentally drawn back home. As well as returning home mentally, Addy also returns home physically when she and Sharla go for a drive with Earl Bolton and their car breaks down, it happens to be right inside of Rusholme, Addy’s hometown. Addy discovers the truth about Chester Monk and when she see’s his grave beside the creek it reminds her of everything and changes her whole outlook on her past. This journey that Addy and Sharla experience together lands Addy right back home where she has spent her whole adult life away home.
Khaled Hosseini incorporates adoption as a key component to the novel Kite Runner. When Amir agree’s to go find Sohrab he is under the impression that once he finds him he will return him to Rahim and from there he will go home to his wife and life in America and Sohrab will go and live with the John and Betty Caldwell. Although, after the long and draining road to Sohrab, Amir receives a note from Rahim saying that he has left and not to come looking for him and that the Caldwell’s are not real people. This leaves Amir in a position to decide what to do with Sohrab. He ultimately chooses to adopt Sohrab and go through everything he needs to in order to do it. When he decided to adopt Amir he also decided to always have a part of his past with him. This shows that Amir has made things good again by revisiting his past and living through it each and everyday.
In the novel, when Addy makes the choice to take care of Sharla she is also making the commitment to herself of finding Sharla’s father. In between all the flashbacks and memories, Addy and Sharla decide to go for a drive with Earl Bolton and his granddaughter Nedda. They drive down the long road towards the lake and continue on further along it, however in Addy’s mind its much more then just a drive to look at the lake. Addy knows in her mind and heart when they are near her old home and realizes what her mind has been telling her ever since she left “Addy heard it again, as she’d been hearing it all her life. ‘Rush Home, Addy Shadd. Thou Shalt Rush Home’” (Lansens, 514). This showing that it has always been in Addy’s conscience to return home once again. As they drive it begins to rain and when a car comes towards them and honks Earl tries to pull off safely and they end up in the ditch with a broken down car.
They happen to be inside of Rusholme when they brake down and it brings the memories flying back into Addy’s mind. As Addy, Earl, Sharla and Nedda try and figure out what to do, Addy’s mind is set on her past memories “She closed her eyes, remembering the crick and the lake and the church and her house and she was puzzled why nothing was as the thought it would be” (519). The day goes on and Addy finds herself in Isaac Williams house, her old next door neighbour, and she learns all the things that she has missed such as the truth about Chester and where Birdie Brown is presently. When some visitors come to see Isaac and Rochelle, Sharla thinks Rochelle’s younger brother looks awfully familiar, she tries to recall where she remembers him from.
As Rochelle introduces him she finally puts it all together and understands “Cody? Addy’s hand stopped in mid-air. Cody? Suddenly, she saw it- the same eyes, hidden between fleshy cave of lid and cheek, the same crooked smile, the same walk, the same talk, the same splayed legs. She didn’t know what to do or what to say, for how could she ask this stranger, whose acquaintance she just made, if he ever knew a girl named Collette and if the child playing out back on the tire swing could possibly be his daughter” (535).
Addy finally receives some closure on the issue of Sharla and what she will do when Addy passes which puts her at peace. Addy Shadd returns home through flashbacks, memories, and finally physically by the idea of having a mission to find Sharla’s father. When she completes this mission she is brought back to her past through what she thinks is her dreams and talks to Liam And Mose. Mose introduces the idea of bringing Addy to a welcome home party and that’s what she realizes its not a dream, but instead she has completed her mission and purpose in life and now can pass peacefully and happily to where she belongs.
In the book Kite Runner, Amir also finds himself having a mission to complete. Harvey Freedenberg notes “Amir’s world is shaken in 2001 when he receives a call from his father’s best friend, informing him that ‘There is a way to be good again.’ That call launches him on a harrowing journey to rescue Hassan’s son Sohrab, orphaned by the brutal Taliban, and at the same time redeem himself from the torment of his youthful mistakes.” Amir does all of that and in the process he fulfills his mission, not only of rescuing Sohrab but also becoming a better person then he was in his past. The phone call from Rahim Khan makes Amir really think about his past and he realize what needed to be done:
me live in my oblivion. But he had called me. And what Rahim Khan revealed to me changed things. Made me see how my entire life, long before winter of 1975, dating back to when that singing Hazara woman was still nursing me, had been a cycle of lies betrayals and secrets.
There is a way to be good again, he’d said.
A way to end the cycle.
With a little boy. An orphan. Hassan’s son. Somewhere in Kabul. (238) When he physically returns home he does everything he possibly can to find and rescue Sohrab and get him home safely. Once he completes this mission he is faced with the fact that he will be reminded of his past each and every day by just seeing Sohrab. The image of Hassan lives in Sohrab through their looks and as Sohrab becomes part of Amir’s family, Amir’s past becomes part of his present. Amir finally feels as ease knowing that he has made things good again and faced his mistakes. Amir was drawn back home to complete the mission of saving Sohrab and also to make his life good again.
In conclusion, the memories one makes in life are very important doors to the past. Either good or bad, they open doors to emotions and will stay forever. One has no control over their minds and has no refuge from remorseful memories. Memories can continue to haunt one with or without repentance and stay through the years. Both protagonists in the novels Rush Home Road and Kite Runner learn the meaning of past memories, and are drawn back home through memories, adoption, and thriving to complete a mission. Addy and Amir both come to realization that it’s the bad memories that always stick with one, but the good ones seem to slip through the cracks.