Guilt In Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner

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In Khaled Hosseini’s novel, The Kite Runner, the protagonist, Amir, the son of a wealthy Afghan shares an unlikely friendship with his Hazara servant, Hassan. The two boys are inseparable and Hassan’s loyalty to Amir is unwavering. Amir however, betrays their friendship. He tries to justify his disloyalty by claiming ethnic and caste differences yet any amount of reasoning cannot assuage his guilt. Even when Amir and his father flee war-torn Afghanistan to live in America, the shame Amir feels follows him for years. Twenty-six years later, Amir is given the opportunity to make up for his sins of the past and appease his guilt. In Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, the protagonist’s ability to overcome the guilt that plagues his life is dependent on …show more content…
One final opportunity to decide who I was going to be. I could step into the alley, stand up for Hassan – the way he’d stood up for me all those times in the past – and accept whatever would happen to me. Or I could run. In the end, I ran” (82). In an earlier situation, when Assef was harassing Amir, Hassan did not hesitate to protect Amir by firing his slingshot at the bully. When the roles are reversed and Hassan is in trouble, Amir cowardly runs away. In addition, he pretends not to notice the blood or the tear stains on Hassan when he returns home. The guilt of not interceding on such a brutal attack on his best friend haunts Amir into his adulthood. A second situation for which Amir carries guilt is when he frames Hassan to appear as a thief forcing Hassan out of his life. Amir takes his birthday watch and money and hides it under Hassan’s mattress. Amir then lies to his father that Hassan has stolen the items. Even though Hassan knows nothing of the items found under his mattress, he still confesses to the crime to further protect Amir. Guilt fills Amir once …show more content…
Where he failed to take action as a child, he now has the chance to do the right thing as an adult. Family friend, Rahim Khan telephones Amir and tells him to come to Pakistan. Amir realizes that Rahim Khan knows of his betrayals to Hassan for he said, “Come. There is a way to be good again” (202). Even though it was twenty-six years later, Rahim Khan understands that Amir can atone for the past by helping Hassan now. Meeting Rahim Khan, Amir learns that the Taliban has killed Hassan and his wife yet Hassan’s son, Sohrab has survived. Amir further learns that he and Hassan share the same father making Sohrab his nephew. The way for Amir to make amends for his past actions is to go back to Kabul despite the danger and rescue Sohrab from an orphanage: “Hassan had loved me once, loved me in a way that no one ever had or ever would again. He was gone now, but a little part of him lived on. It was in Kabul. Waiting” (239). Amir knows that he will never have a friend as loyal and loving as Hassan again. The best way he can repay Hassan is by helping Sohrab. Amir must be selfless and possibly sacrifice his own family’s happiness and his life to find Sohrab: “I have a wife in America, a home, a career, and a family. But how could I pack up and go home when my actions may have cost Hassan a chance at those very same things?” (238). If Amir acted differently when he was younger, Hassan may still be alive today. Amir

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