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The Nature of Redemption in The Kite Runner Essay


The kite runner by Khaled Hosseini is a novel set in war-torn Afghanistan of 1975 and follows the redeeming story of Amir, who at the beginning is a young Pashtun boy who is best friends with Hassan, his servant and a Hazara. Their friendship is broken off abruptly when Amir witnesses Hassans rape and is too scared to defend him. Towards the end of the book, Amir is a grown man searching through memories of his past and unraveling a series of secrets that ultimately encourage him to find a way to be good again. This novel explores the way in which the abuse of friendship can permanently damage people and have lasting consequences, as well as how redemption can set a person free. The ending of the novel was effective because it resolves many of the conflicts and problems Amir faced as a child, as well as create parallelism with the beginning. It ultimately explores the nature of redemption by Amirs efforts to make up for his actions.

The ending of the novel resolves many conflicts and problems Amir faces as the story progresses. Amir yearns for his fathers attention yet he is in some way blamed for causing his mothers death, causing Baba to be cold and indifferent towards him. When Amir wins the kite tournament and Hassan runs down the last kite for him, he gets raped because he would not give up the kite for Amirs sake. Despite witnessing this, Amir is too cowardly and does not intervene. The guilt he feels consequently would always plague him for the rest of his life. Not only this, but when Amir frames Hassan for his missing watch, Hassan leaves and Amirs guilt grows even stronger he knows that he had destroyed their friendship, even if Hassan was willing to remain loyal to him till the very end. Amirs guilt affects all the relationships that he would later have. When he receives a phone call from the dying rahim Khan telling him theres a way to be good again.

Amir leaps at the chance for redemption and returns to Afghanistan from America in order to rescue Hassans son, Sohrab. Sohrab was being kept by his childhood bully Assef, the same boy who had raped Hassan. This conflict is resolved as he finally faced up to his fear and stands up to Assef for Sohrab. This caused a little of his guilt to fade. His most important resolution is to forgive baba whom he had idolized and hated with the discovery that Hassan is actually his half brother, and realizes why he was treated the way he was. Hassanbabas other halfthe half thatin the most secret recesses of his heart, Baba had tough of as his true son. His anger at his father is almost immediately gone as he finds forgiveness within himself and his pain fades without his even realizing it. Amir now begins to focus on redeeming himself to Sohrab in order to make up for what he had done to Hassan and their friendship.

The novels ending parallels the beginning in the sense that he is in America both instances, only instead of the heavy realization that his painful past had claw(ed) its way out. ,at the end he is doing his best to come to face with his past and begin to atone for his sins. Sohrab had cut himself after being told that Amir could not take him away and that he would have to go to an orphanage. Amir finally succeeds to bring him into America to live as his son; Sohrab is traumatized and would not speak at all. Faced with Sohrabs silence, Amir bravely persists in trying to help him to get better. At the end of the book, they walk to a park and Amir sees kites circling the sky. This draws a symbolical parallel to the beginning when he had seen some kites and remembered his past of unatoned sins. And his loyal friend Hassan. He had not flown a kite since that day, at the age of twelve in 1975 when he had betrayed Hassan. Back then it was for very selfish reasons- he had wanted to prove himself worthy of Babas love and attention. But now he flies a kite for a completely selfless reason- to make Sohrab smile. His heavy burdened heart is set free once more. The kite symbolizes innocence, freedom and the purity of friendship. When Amir uses an old trick of Hassans to cut down a kite for Sohrab, he remembers back to the way Hassan would always run a kite for him. When he sees a glimpse of a smile, he says For you, a thousand times over. These parallels with the beginning when he was living a life buried with secrets in America and remembered Hassan, his always loyal friend whom he had wronged.

The ending of the novel effectively explores the nature of redemption through the way in which Amir changes in his journey to atonement and is finally able to let go of his guilt. A main conflict in the novel is the social chasm between Pashtuns and Hazaras and this initially causes Amirs fear and insecurities toward his friendship with Hassan. Amir begins to redeem himself by hearing of Hassans death and learning that Hassan never bore him any hate. Even after he and his father Ali had left, and Sohrab was born, he told Sohrab only good things about Amir. Amir realizes that all along he didnt need Hassan to forgive him for what he did, but he needed to forgive himself. In the letter Hassan wrote to Amir he says I dream that my son will grow up to be a good person, a free person, and an important person. Rahim Khan urges him to find Sohrab and bring him up in a better life. At first Amir refuses because he doesnt want to risk his life by going back to Kabul, but as his feelings of loyalty and debt to Hassan overpowers his fear, and he takes the first step at his chance at redemption. He feels that he has to make Hassans dream come true- that is how he will redeem himself for what had happened all those years ago. Sohrabs role is incredibly important in the ending because he was his fathers son and their identities nearly overlap in Amirs mind. At the very end, when Amir flies a kite for Sohrab and he is holding the spool for him, Amir pictures that he was with Hassan once more, that Hassans hands were holding it for him, as if they were children once more. He thinks back to a happy memory of him and Hassan flying a kite together. It is the first pure memory of Hassan he has thought of since the rape.

A major change in Amirs character can be seen in the end through his response when General Sahib demanded to know why there was a Hazara boy living with his Pashtun daughter. In the beginning when Amir had been confronted by Assef about being Hassans friend. Amir is embarrassed and almost blurts out that he did not think Hassan was his friend, that he was only a servant. He realized then that he only played with Hassan when no one else was around. This part of his character had been influenced by Baba, who was so successful that society held him in such high esteem that honour and status was everything. However, through his journey to redemption Amir rights a lot of the wrongs that he had done, including acknowledging his own guilt as well as overcome his prejudices. By realizing that Hassan was, and meant much more to him than a friend, he overcomes all his fears of being ridiculed for associating with Hazaras. He stands up for Sohrab when General Sahib questions him and replies with The boy sleeping on the couch is Hassans son. Hes my nephew. We can see that he is no longer troubled about what society thought of him, but realizes the importance of taking care of Sohrab in order to make Hassans dream come true.

To conclude, the kite runner by Khaled Hosseini is a powerful novel about a mans journey to redemption. Amir finds forgiveness and peace in his attempts to make up for his sins and grows as a character. The ending of the novel is effective because it effectively make the story come full-circle as many problems are resolved as well as link back to the beginning to create a sense of parallelism. It ultimately explores the nature of redemption and what it signifies for a persons conscience as we see it acting out on Amir. We realize also what a huge impact betrayal can have on a friendship, as well as how the truth is able to set someone free.

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