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The Consequences Of Guilt In The Kite Runner

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I consider guilt to be an extremely valuable emotion. It helps people maintain connections to friends, family, and more. Experiencing guilt can cause one to have to repair relationships and learn from their mistakes. Every action and choice in life is followed by a consequence. In The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini the main character Amir discovers the consequences that his actions can carry, the main consequence being guilt. The central theme in The Kite Runner seems to be revolved around the guilt that Amir has carried throughout his childhood. In many cases this guilt is caused by the harsh Afghan culture and the way it’s society believes things should be ran.

In the Kite Runner, Amir carries more guilt and obtains a far more guilty conscious than all of the other characters. Throughout the novel, Amir is continuously tormented by his own actions and seemingly can’t figure out how to resolve them. Rahim Khan tells him that there is a way to redeem himself. Many things made him feel guilty, starting at birth. Amir began by feeling guilty for killing his mother during childbirth, even though it was out of his control. He seems to have been born with the inherited guilt of his father, which is expressed in the quote, “I always felt like Baba hated me a little. And why not? After all, I had killed his beloved wife, his beautiful princess, how did I? The least I could have done was to have the decency to have of turned out a little more like him.“ In my opinion this shows that Amir was going to feel guilt from the day he was born. He feels as though he was the reason that his mother was taken away from Baba, which makes it prominent that he proceeds with plenty of actions solely in order to prove himself and live up to Baba’s expectations. In order to make up for what he feels is his fault. Whenever he lets Baba down or fails to get his approval, he feels that same guilt all over again for not being able to live up to what his father wants him to be. Amir had once overheard his father say, “If I hadn’t seen the doctor pull him out of my wife with my own eyes, I’d never believe he’s my son.” Amir’s craving to gain the love and acceptance of his father turns into a constant spiral of guilt when he doesn’t succeed in doing so.

One of the most detrimental guilts that Amir felt was when he didn’t do anything to stop Hassan from being raped by Assef. This instance truly made me realize that Amir allows his guilt to define him. Although Hassan was kind-hearted and loyal, Amirs want to please Baba, far out shines his want to protect Hassan. Amir feels like a coward and immediately allows the guilt to consume him. “I watched Hassan get raped, I said to no one… A part of me was hoping someone would wake up in here, so I wouldn’t have to live with this lie anymore… I understood the nature of my new curse: I was going to get away with it.“(Hosseini 86) When Amir realizes that he’s going to get away with his betrayal, he decides to ignore Hassan. in doing so I feel as though Amir believes that blocking her son out will help him in dimming his guilt. When that doesn’t work he chooses to commit another sin by lying about Hassan stealing which is shown in the quote, “ I took a couple of envelopes of cash in the pile of gifts in my watch, and tiptoed out… I lifted Hassan’s mattress and planted my new watch and a handful of oak any bills under it.”(104) I believe the goal of this lie was to be able to get Hassan out of sight. His guilt was too overwhelming and Hassan was a constant reminder of that guilt.

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“How could I, of all people, chastise someone for their past?… I envied her. Her secret was out. Spoken. Dealt with. I opened my mouth and almost told her how I betrayed Hassan… But I didn’t. I suspected there were many ways in which Soroya Taheri was a better person than me.” Amir’s past actions haunting him. He grows jealous of Soroya because she has admitted her sins, and he has yet to admit his wrong doings in order to get that same weight lifted off of his own shoulders. It ended up taking Amir 15 years to speak his truth to Soroya. He eventually did this in order to redeem himself when Rahim Khan called him up to do so. The guilt was finally lifted when he went to retrieve Sohrab, because even though he could not save Hassan, he was able to save his son.

Although the main character that is centered around his guilt is Amir, Baba’s guilt was carried around Ali and Hassan. When sleeping with his friend’s wife, he had done one of the biggest injustices. In knowing Hassan was his son, he felt extremely guilty for not telling Hassan or Amir that they were half brothers. Eventually Rahim Khan relieved his own guilt by revealing that same secret to Amir. This not only helped Rahim Khan, but also helped Amir to redeem himself from his own guilt.

People make mistakes all the time, some worse than others. Guilt is not the most important feeling, but what one does with those feelings after they have made a mistake. The story proves that there are ways to be redeemed, forgive oneself, and receive forgiveness from others. When Sohrab and Amir begin to recover from their guilt at the end of the novel, the first glimpse of hope and redemption are reached.

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The Consequences Of Guilt In The Kite Runner. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 21, 2023, from
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