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Kite Runner Essay

2087 words - 9 pages

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini, follows the maturation of Amir, a boy from Afghanistan, as he discovers what it means to stand up for what he believes in. His quest to redeem himself after betraying his friend and brother, Hassan, makes up the heart of the novel. For most of the book, Amir attempts to deal with his guilt by avoiding it and refusing to own up to his mistakes. Because of his past, Amir is incapable of moving forward. His entire life is shaped by his disloyalty to Hassan and his desire to please his father over helping his friends. Throughout the novel, his attempts to atone for his sins end in failure, as neither physical punishment nor rescuing Hassan’s son, Sohrab, from ...view middle of the document...

He saw victory as a way to redeem himself before his father, to prove that he was worthy of his love and affection. This is the main drive behind Amir’s decision, a decision that will come to haunt him for the rest of his life. After Amir wins the tournament, Hassan runs off to bring the kite back, but does not return. Amir sets off to find him and sees Hassan surrounded by Assef and two other boys, Kamal and Wali. Assef tells Hassan that they will let him go only if he hands over the kite. Hassan refuses and Assef rapes him. Amir watches, struggling between helping out his friend and running away: “I could step into that alley, stand up for Hassan… and accept whatever would happen to me. Or I could run. In the end, I ran… Maybe Hassan was the price I had to pay… to win Baba” (77). The kite turns into a symbol of Amir’s betrayal. He was not loyal to Hassan the same way Hassan was to him. He chose to please his father instead, which actually went against his father’s teaching, as Baba always taught Amir to stand up for what he believed in. The kite becomes the beginning of the full circle Amir must go through in order to make up for his mistake.
While Amir and Hassan are young, carefree, and as close as a servant and master can be, they carved their names into a pomegranate tree. Beneath the tree, Amir and Hassan spent hours together reading and talking. However, after Hassan’s rape, Amir taunts Hassan and tries to get him to hit him with a pomegranate. The pomegranate tree becomes a symbol of physical punishment and demonstrates how pain does not lessen guilt: “’Hit me back!’ I spat… I wished he would. I wished he’d give me the punishment I craved, so maybe I’d finally sleep at night. Maybe then things could return to how they used to be between us.” (92). Amir pelts Hassan with pomegranates, hoping to get retribution in return. He believes that a physical punishment would make up for not stopping Assef’s violent actions. When Amir finally stops, Hassan picks up a pomegranate: “He walked toward me. He opened it and crushed it against his own forehead. ‘There… are you satisfied? Do you feel better?’” (93). The tree serves as a source of division between Amir and Hassan. Amir wants Hassan to hit him with the pomegranate fruit in order to inflict a physical punishment and lessen his guilt; instead, Hassan breaks the fruit over his own head. Not only does it show Hassan’s loyalty in refusing to hurt Amir, it also conveys his ideas on what redemption is. Hassan demonstrates that brutality won’t make Amir feel better about himself or his actions. Amir was trying to get Hassan to atone for him – he needed Hassan to hit him in order to feel as if he redeemed himself. However, Hassan realized this and he hit himself instead. He was showing Amir that atoning for one’s sins has nothing to do with cruelty and revenge. Hassan is not supposed to do anything for Amir’s redemption; rather, Amir has to take responsibility and make up for his mistakes on his...

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