Khaled Hosseini, in his novel The Kite Runner, used the violent rape of his childhood friend Hassan to represent a turning point for the main character Amir. Hosseini uses foreshadowing from the beginning of the novel to hint to significant dark events which were to affect the narrator’s life. The turning point sees the beginning of Amir’s life of guilt and his journey of redemption. When Amir is given the opportunity to travel back to Afghanistan and rescue Hassan’s son, he is able to finally redeem himself and start a new page of his life.
Amir is from the wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul, He has a friend named Hassan who is a Hazara and also his servant. Hassan and his father Ali are both servants to Amir and his father Baba. Amir has always wanted to impress and please his father and joins in on an event of running kites where the last person to have their kite in the sky is the winner of the event. When amir is the winner of the kite running competition he is so pleased knowing that his father will be proud of him. Hassan leaves and runs down the kite for Amir. Amir eventually follows and spots Hassan in a corner with a few of the town’s bullies. He looks closer and sees that Assef is raping Hassan and Amir has no idea of what to do. “Behind him, sitting on piles of scrap and rubble, was the blue kite. My key to Baba’s heart.” This is showing that he is very focused on getting the kite to look past his his friend being assaulted by Assef. Assef thought that he was very superior when compared to Hassan because Hassan was a Hazara who thought that Assef thought were vermin. Amir only wishes to impress Baba so he focuses his whole life trying to do so. He will try and win the kite competition, he will even look past his friend getting raed to try to win his affection. Amir runs away and hides before Hassan can see him. Amir is tormented by the guilt of abandoning his friend from being raped however, “He had the blue kite in his hands; that was the first thing I saw. And I can’t lie now and say my eyes didn’t scan it for any rips.” Amir valued trying to fix his relationship with Baba over his friend even though he knew his friend had just been raped. Amir was so focused on the kite and trying to get it that he was eyeing up the kite and making sure it was okay to please his father. Amir is a coward for not stepping in and defending Hassan. It is hard to like Amir at the start of the book because that is what Hosseini wants for us to do. I think he wants us to dislike Amir so that we are wrong and also learn how to forgive as the reader. Amir brings the kite to Baba and “Baba held me close to him, rocking me back and forth. In his arms I forgot what I had done. And that was good.” Amir finally got what he wanted. He achieved his goal to get his father’s approval but at the cost of being a coward and giving up on helming his friend. The way Hosseini writes this “rocking me back and forth” as a reader you assume he is young and needs to be saved from what he has seen as he is only twelve and very innocent himself. Amir and his father flee to America due to the war and Amir never forgets what he has done as when he is in America it haunts him and follows him for the rest of his life.
Life in America is full of guilt for Amir. He’s haunted by the memory of leaving Hassan when he was in need. Amir has a wife and a home in America until one day Rahim Khan cals Amir. Rahim Khan tells Amir that Hassan found a lovely wife and has a son called Sohrab but both parents have died, so he gives Amir an opportunity that he jumps at to go and say Sohrab. Amir wanted to be a good person and find Sohrab in Afghanistan because his guilt was holding him bak in America. Amir chooses this selfless desire to save Sohrab because he didn’t have to go back to Afghanistan and save Sohrab. “I realised something I would not leave Afghanistan without finding Sohrab.” Amir is on a mission to find Sohrab. He is determined to find Sohrab and he doesn’t know what has been happening to Sohrab right now, he could be getting hurt, raped, tortured or sexually abused. This shows a good side of Amir trying to rescue a boy from a dangerous situation. I believe that to Amir there is a deeper reason than just helping Sohrab. Amir wants to redeem himself from all the guilt of Hassan. He wants to be good again and the only reason he thinks this can happen is for redemption by rescuing Sohrab. When Amir finds Sohrab the person who was raising him was Assef the same man who raped his father. Amir and assef got into a fight until Sohrab used his slingshot and shot a stone at Assef taking out his eye. “I hadn’t been happy and I hadn’t felt better not at all. But I did now. My body was broken – Just how badly I wouldn’t;t find out until later – but I felt healed. Healed at last. Amir felt healed at last, this is what he went to Afghanistan for. To go find forgiveness and redeem himself from the past. Amir still has so many regrets and feels like he needs to do more to achieve this redemption. Amir felt he had to go and save Sohrab from Afghanistan.
Amir never just rescued Sohrab. Amir takes Sohrab back to his life in America with his wife and they live as a family. Amir wants to do good for the ill way he treated Hassan. Amir believes treating Sohrab in a good way will help Amir be proud of himself. “I wanted to pull him close, hold him, tell him the world had been unkind to him, not the other way around.” Sohrab thinks he’s dirty and full of sin and I’m terrible because he was raped. Like father like son. Both have been sexually abused by Assef. Amir is trying to spare Sohrab from all those years of blame and guilt. Amir was not raped by Assef but he has watched Assef rape Hassan which would have been traumatising for a young child to see. He blamed himself a lot for that because he could have stepped in and helped Hassan and taken a few punches himself but he left and ran away and pretended to see nothing. The difference between Amir and Sohrab is that Amir had a choice but Sohrab did not. Amir watched Hassan go downhill after the sexual assault and he does not want Sohrab to do the same thing. “A kinship had formed between us too. What happened in that room with Assef had irrevocably bound us.” With Sohrab helping Amir fight his battle it was challenging for them both and it brings them closer together. The desperation that Amir has to keep Sohrab and bring him back to the USA is so he can protect him and keep him safe and replace Hassan as a father figure. To make sure Sohrab has a father figure to look upto.
In conclusion Amir’s whole life has been filled with guilt and he has been trying to redeem himself in any different ways.