Analyse how a key idea (or ideas) in the text(s) were used to comment on society’s perception of guilt and/or redemption.
The novel “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini, is used to comment on society’s view of guilt and redemption through the main character, Amir. Hosseini uses Amir’s personal guilt towards characters such as Hassan, Baba and his mother as ideas to comment on society’s perception of guilt and redemption. The story is about Amir’s life as he grows up in Afghanistan through the times of the Russian invasion and later the rise of the Taliban, during this time he is forced to make important decisions, unfortunately, the decisions he makes lead him down a road of guilt which then come back in his later life to haunt him. In this essay I will talk about the actions he took and influence this had on his life.
Paragraph One: Amir vs his guilt for Hassan
Amir’s life is riddled with guilt, the place where this all stemmed from was when Hassan was violated in the alleyway and Amir did nothing to stop it. Many flow on effects came from this such as losing their friendship, Hassan moving away, and ultimately Amir ends up saving Hassan’s son from a war-torn Afghanistan. When Amir is living in America he lived by an out of sight, out of mind attitude. It is not until he receives a phone call from his father’s old friend, Rahim Khan, that he is forced to confront his guilt from the past. On the phone Rahim Khan tells Amir “there is a way to be good again”. This hints that he might have know about Amir’s actions for all this time. This was a frustrating moment for Amir. Has all of the pain of not telling anyone been for nothing? How much does Rahim Khan really know? I believe Amir became extremely intrigued by these questions and had to know the answer. This is the reason he flew back to Afghanistan. His path to redemption eventually leads him to find Sohrab, Hassan only son. Once finding Sohrab, Amir is faced with a difficult choice, he can adopt Sohrab or leave him on the street to fend for himself. To save Sohrab Amir is forced to stand up to Assef, the school bully turned Taliban leader. Assef beats him to within an inch of his life, but Amir laughs as this happens because he finally feels as if he has paid for his actions towards Hassan and for the first time in almost 26 years, his conscience is free. Amir sees this as a way of redeeming himself for what he did to Hassan all those years ago. This can be seen in real-life prison inmates, in order to come back into society they feel as though they have to pay a price for what they did. Sohrab is Amir’s ‘prison sentence’, his way of giving back what he stole.
Paragraph 2: the relationship of guilt between Baba and Amir
During Amir’s life, he feels as though he let his father down. The guilt Amir feels toward Baba for being a disappointing son and betraying Hassan is ironic because Baba is the much the same. Baba betrayed Ali, his best friend since birth, a “brother from another mother”. He slept with his wife, and she then ran off into the hills, hurting Ali even more. When Amir betrayed Hassan, he ran off in the same way that his mother did. The writer does this to show that two people, one, a respected man with lots of power, and the other, a cowardly boy are really very similar. They both have awful things on their conscious but it is how they deal with it that changes how they are viewed. Baba chooses to deal with it by building an orphanage and giving back to the community. Amir chooses to deal with it by burying it inside him, hurting his friends and the people he loves. He only stands up for what he has done after talking to Rahim Khan “And that, I believe, is what true redemption is, Amir Jan, when guilt leads to good.” I believe this is what caused Amir to adopt Sohrab, it was his way of Building an orphanage, and giving back to his community.
In conclusion, “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini, was an interesting novel that raises many discussions on guilt and redemption through the use of characters such as Amir, Hassan, and Baba. The main ideas I discussed were Amir’s search for redemption, the relationship between father and son and how it is not what you do, but how you deal with it that defines you.