Kite Runner and Atonement Paper

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“True redemption… is when guilt leads to good”, is a statement that can be viewed in both Kahled Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner and Joe Wright’s film ‘Atonement’, with betrayal and redemption being the cardinal binaries found within both texts. The protagonists of the stories, Amir and Briony, respectively, both commit acts of betrayal that have devastating consequences. Within both texts we see the main characters do what they see necessary to atone for their sins and to achieve true redemption.

In both texts there are a number of betrayals that start off as minor incidents but quickly snowball out of control, leading to the major betrayals. In The Kite Runner Amir continually betrayed Hassan’s trust, foreshadowing for later events. Whilst reading to Hassan, because he was illiterate, Amir would often tell his own version of the story. In one incident, Hassan asked what the word “imbecile” meant and Amir took advantage of this, telling Hassan that it meant “smart, intelligent” and used it in a sentence, “When it comes to words, Hassan is an imbecile.” The idea of betrayal of trust is mirrored in “Atonement”. Briony reads the letter meant for her sister Cecelia, give to her to deliver by Robbie. This is the first incident of betrayal in the film. She reads the letter, knowing that she shouldn’t. She doesn’t fully understand, but the letter, one certain word in particular, paired with an earlier scene she had witnessed between Cecelia and Robbie by the fountain; lead her label Robbie as a “sex maniac”.

Class differences, evident in both texts, also leads to further betrayal. Both protagonists grew up in privileged, upper-class households. Throughout his life, Amir treated Hassan as less than a friend because of the class difference. The audience is positioned, from the beginning, to see the obvious class differences between Amir and Hassan’s families and Amir’s view of superiority over Hassan. Amir sees Hassan as a servant, even though Hassan adored him...
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