Essay, Pages 5 (1004 words)
In the novel, The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini, the main character Amir goes through many challenges in pursuit of redeeming himself. Amir is faced with lots of decisions and he does not typically make the right choice. These decisions fill Amir with guilt and self-condemnation. The most significant cause of his guilt occurs when he fails to intervene during a sexual assault on Hassan, his best friend. Following the event, Amir tries to create distance between himself and Hassan, but he eventually realizes he can not suppress his guilt and it is this realization that pushes him to seek forgiveness.
There are many instances of Amir trying to gain redemption for not intervening in Hassan’s rape. The first being him going back to Kabul, the place of his childhood, as an adult. When Rahim Khan, an old family friend, calls Amir, he urges Amir to come to Pakistan because he is sick. Amir says that this is his reason for going; however, there is a significant underlying purpose that both he and Rahim Khan know.
Amir has unfinished business back in Kabul that has been eating at him ever since the winter of 1975 when Hassan’s rape occurred. Once in Pakistan, Amir is faced with the decision of whether or not to go to Kabul to help Sohrab, Hassan’s son, who is in an orphanage. Rahim Khan encourages him to go as a way to find redemption for what has been haunting him from his past. Amir talks about how the phone call revealed to him how his entire life “ had been a cycle of lies betrayal and secrets” (226).
He feels like going to Kabul could end the cycle, like it is a way to “be good again” (226). Amir is at first very hesitant to go, but he realizes that the very things he cares about so much; his wife, home, career, and family, he deprived Hassan of by isolating himself, following the rape, when Hassan most needed support. Thus Amir feels entitled to go. Despite it not being specified Amir decides to travel to Kabul in hopes of making things right through Sohrab in a way he could not with Hassan.
Once in Kabul, Amir’s aspiration of redemption continues. Upon arriving at the orphanage to rescue Sohrab from the terrible place Kabul has transformed into, Amir is faced with the question of how badly he wants to find Sohrab. Amir’s answer to the question is that he, “would not leave Afghanistan without finding Sohrab” (255). This answer alone serves as a representation of how committed Amir is to saving Sohrab and gaining redemption from the wrongdoings of his past. Amir is willing to go through any challenge necessary to get Sohrab. Prior to this it appeared that Amir was only going to save Sohrab because he felt he had to, but he now realizes he actually wants to. In addition, in Kabul, Amir comes face to face with Assef, the man who raped Hassan. Assef tells Amir that they have “unfinished business” (286), by which requires a fight to settle. Although Amir ends up with many injuries, “ for the first time since the winter of 1975 [he] felt at peace” (289). Hassan had stood up for Amir countless times and went through much pain in order to do so, but it is now Amir’s turn. Instead of running as Amir had when he let Assef rape Hassan, he is finally standing up for what he cares about. Amir finally fights his own battle. Though he does not put up a good fight, Amir feels at peace because he finally has gone through some of the pain he put Hassan through.
Once Amir does have Sohrab he continues in his pursuit of redemption. The first way he does such is by making promises to Sohrab. One particular promise Amir fails to keep sets him further back in the eyes of Sohrab. The promise was that he would not send Sohrab back to an orphanage. In America, Amir continues his pursuit of redemption in another instance of standing up to someone he typically would not have, General Sahib, his father-in-law. When the General asks about what he is supposed to tell everyone about why the “ Hazara boy” is living with Soraya and Amir, Amir tells him, “ That boy sleeping on the couch is my nephew…And one more thing, you will never again refer to him as ‘Hazara boy’ in my presence. He has a name and it’s Sohrab” (361). Amir finally stands up to racial discrimination, for Sohrab, unlike how in the past he would disregard people’s comments about Hassan. The last instance of redemption for Amir is when he runs the kite for Sohrab, just as Hassan had done for him in the past. Before Amir does so he tells Sohrab, “ for you, a thousand times over” (371). This is the same thing that Hassan had said to Amir, and it truly signifies how Amir is willing to do anything for Sohrab, the way Hassan was willing to sacrifice for him.
Though, by the end of the novel, Amir does not fully gain redemption and forgiveness he has made an initiation to achieve it. He gets Sohrab to smile. Amir realizes that Sohrab’s smile does not specifically mean anything, but he does understand that his redemption will take lots of little drops to make a big wave, and Sohrab’s smile was the first drop. This initiation was all sparked by a single phone call, a reminder of his past by which he tried so hard to suppress. Amir’s pursuit of redemption represents exactly how it is in the real world. Often times people try to forget about bad things from their past, but sooner or later it is made clear that you can not bury such things. When faced to deal with such traumatic events, just like Amir, it takes many little actions in order to fully redeem oneself, if one ever does truly gain redemption.