The Importance Of Forgiveness I The Kite Runner

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Khaled Hosseini’s novel, The Kite Runner, revolves around the life of the protagonist, Amir, who seeks forgiveness and redemption—alongside other major characters. These matters become a recurring theme that makes up much of the novel’s plot. It can first be seen in Amir’s early childhood. He is consumed by guilt and further tortured by it throughout his adolescence and adulthood. At first, he has no intent of redeeming himself or forgiving himself and believes his punishment is to live with what he has done for the rest of his life. Through his return to Afghanistan, Amir learns of others that have faced guilt and taken on their own personal quests for redemption. The characters of Amir, Baba, and Hassan act as models for the central themes of forgiveness and redemption.

Throughout his early childhood, Amir predominantly seeks forgiveness from his father and seeks redemption for his actions against Hassan later in life. As a child, Amir enjoys reading and writing, which is unfavored by his father. Baba attempts to mold him in his own liking by signing him up for soccer, but Amir greatly fails at the sport. Through his many disappointments, Amir comes to a sole conclusion: “… Baba hated me a little. And why not? After all, I had killed his beloved wife, his beautiful princess, hadn’t I? The least I could have done was to have the decency to have turned out a little more like him. But I hadn’t turned out like him” (Hosseini 19). This thought leads Amir to form a pledge to one day prove himself to his father. The pressure of this matter allows for hate to arise and build up within Amir, which he primarily takes out on Hassan. So much so, that it leads to a major betrayal that indirectly results in a chain of life events that ultimately end in the death of Hassan. In their youth, Hassan is a threat to Amir and his relationship with his father. He acts as a barrier that prevents Amir from receiving what he desires most, Baba’s full and unconditional love. With time, he also becomes a reminder of Amir’s weak nature, which his father despises, and severe grief. At this point in time, Amir’s inner peace is disturbed and he believes the only way to repair it is through ridding himself of Hassan. He expels Hassan from his life, but completely loses his peace through the process. Later in life, Amir is presented with a way to redeem himself—by saving Sohrab. Amir goes through great trouble to rescue Sohrab from the Taliban and Assef. In the end, his body is broken but his conscience begins to recover. After nearly facing death at the hands of Assef, Amir notes that, “… since the winter of 1975, I felt at peace. I laughed because I saw that, in some hidden nook in the corner of my mind, I’d even been looking forward to this… My body was broken – just how badly I wouldn’t find out until later – but I felt healed” (Hosseini 289). Ultimately, by finding Sohrab, Amir is able to begin his process of redemption for what he did to Hassan and find a way to begin forgiving himself as well.

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From a young age Amir is taught one major lesson by Baba: “… there is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft” (Hosseini 17). Several years after his death, Rahim Khan reveals that Baba embodied what he taught against and despised the most—a thief. He confesses that Hassan was Baba’s child and that he stole Amir’s right to a brother and Hassan’s right to his identity. It is noted that Baba wanted the truth to be known, but his nang and namoos were at stake—the highest priorities of a man. Therefore, as a result Baba found other individual and unique forms of action to find redemption. Rahim Khan upholds the fact “… that good, real good, was born out of your father’s remorse. Sometimes, I think everything he did, feeding the poor on the streets, building the orphanage, giving money to friends in need, it was all his way of redeeming himself” (Hosseini 302). Baba could never come forward and confess the truth, but he was able to bring about happiness in the lives of others. Although Baba’s actions were charitable and of good intent, they never impacted those that he truly affected, which ultimately prohibited him from ever reaching inner peace.

Unlike the other characters, Hassan is a victim of others’ betrayal and neglect. Although being so, he shows that it is not in his nature to be resentful and ungrudgingly forgives those that have hurt him. Hassan’s story of betrayal begins at birth. He is abandoned by his mother days after she gives birth to him and is raised as a servant. While his early life is tragic, he is never phased by it. Instead, Hassan lives contently throughout his childhood, alongside Amir, until the day he is assaulted and raped by Assef. At this time, he loses his smile and is driven out by his friend. Once again, Hassan goes against the norm portrayed by the other characters who face similar dilemmas by moving on and forming a happy life. First, his mother reappears in his life at the gates of his childhood home. Rahim Khan notes that “[h]e took Sanaubar’s hand in both of his and told her she could cry if she wanted to but she needn’t, she was home, he said, home with her family” (Hosseini 210). Through this, Hassan takes a situation that has the potential to be escalated, but makes the most of it in order to better the lives of others and his own. This case of forgiveness shows the true strength of Hassan’s compassion and loyalty to those he loves. This can be seen again in his letter to Amir. Within the letter, Hassan tells Amir, “… I dream that someday you will return to Kabul to revisit the land of our childhood. If you do, you will find an old faithful friend waiting for you” (Hosseini 218). It is clear that Hassan has, once again, forgiven a major figure in his life that has caused him pain. In the end, Hassan is murdered by the Taliban, but lives his best life by being forgiving and allowing others to redeem themselves.

Overall, the central themes of forgiveness and redemption make up the plot to The Kite Runner. The characters of Amir, Hassan, and Baba face their own dilemmas concerning the matter and attempt to reach the same goal—peace through redemption. Each character has their own unique way of finding their goal. However, in the end the audience is left with a single question: did they find peace? With what is provided, the audience can conclude that Hassan is the only character that finds definite peace at the end of his painful journey. Unlike Hassan, Amir and Baba’s positions do not receive explicit closure. To begin with, Amir’s story is not over and can’t be as easily interpreted as Hassan’s as a result of this. He has rescued Sohrab, but has not achieved his main goal. However, Amir’s story at the end of the novel indicates a small advance towards the peace he once had in his childhood. On the other hand, Baba’s story does not end similarly to Amir’s. Baba’s late life is detailed throughout the entirety of the novel until his death. It is revealed that he lives an honorable life in hopes of redeeming himself, but dies with his secret and is never able to find true inner peace as a result. Overall, the recurring themes of forgiveness and redemption highlight key factors through the characters in order to teach an important lesson on the necessity of forgiveness and how difficult it may be to give to others and sometimes even ourselves.

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The Importance Of Forgiveness I The Kite Runner [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2022 Jul 4]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-importance-of-forgiveness-i-the-kite-runner/
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