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Sin and Redemption in Khaled Hosseini's “the Kite Runner”

By dazohray Dec 06, 2010 842 Words
Khaled Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner,” revolves around a central theme of sin and redemption. The main characters in the novel have sinned and everyone in one way or another is seeking for redemption. The novel starts by Amir foretelling us about ultimate sin in that winter of 1975 when Hassan gets raped and he chooses to do nothing. And he tells us he carried that guilt even in America, “... Looking back now, I realized I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years .” (1) As Amir retells the story of his life, he weighs each event against his sin, his betrayal of Hassan. As we learn towards the novel's end, Amir is not the only character who seeks for redemption. In the quest to find Sohrab and take him back to the US, Amir encounters Assef in a fist fight. But Amir happily takes all the punches and kicks Assef inflicts on him. In fact, he laughs the whole time his Panuncialman 2

ribs are being crushed. This is because after a long wait he finally tasted redemption, “The harder I laughed, the harder he kicked me, punched me, scratched me…What was so funny was that, for the first time since the winter of 1975, I felt at peace.”(371) Unlike the pomegranate scene in which he provoked Hassan to hit him back with pomegranates and failed because Hassan would just take the pomegranates from his hand and crush it against Hassan’s forehead, this time he felt content. The ending of the novel sums up Amir’s quest for redemption. Although it’s vague and keeps us asking for more what happens to his relationship with Sohrab years ahead, we kind of get a sense that Amir will love Sohrab like his real son, because Sohrab is his only way to “to be good again” (290). Amir tells us at the end of the novel that he got what he wanted, “It was only a smile, nothing more…But I’ll take it. With open arms. Because when spring comes, it melts the snow one flake at a time, and maybe I just witnessed the first flake melting.” (476) Amir vaguely shows us that the ultimate redemption was not physical pain that he needs to go through in saving Sohrab, but erasing the discrimination he lived with all his life with the division of the Pashtuns and the Hazara’s, this by which he can accomplish by Panuncialman 3

giving Sohrab an equal chance at success and happiness which he never have given Hassan. Another main character who commits a sin and seeks for redemption is Baba. But we don’t learn this until later in the novel when Rahim Khan opened it up to him. We learn that Baba is Hassan’s real father and that Amir and Hassan are brothersAmir is constantly trying to measure up to Baba, because he does not realize that Baba is so hard on him because of his guilt over his own sin. Baba tries to redeem or amend his sins to Hassan by “Hiring Dr. Kumar to fix Hassan’s harelip, Baba never missing Hassan’s birthday…and weeping when Ali announced he and Hassan were leaving” (288) Once Amir finds out about Baba's sin, he feels as though his entire life has been a cycle of betrayal, even before he betrayed Hassan. He blames Baba, “Baba had been a thief of the worst kind, because the things he’d stolen had been sacred: from me the right to know I had a brother, from Hassan his identity, and from Ali his honor.” (289) But having a taste of betrayal himself does little towards redeeming Amir. Also, Soraya needs Amir to forgive her before she can marry him, “You need to know…I ran away with an Afghan man when I was eighteen…” (211) In the same manner, Rahim Khan needs Amir to Panuncialman 4

forgive him for keeping Baba's secret before he dies. Rahim Khan seems to see the bigger picture of sin and redemption in the novel. He tells Amir in his letter, “I know that in the end, God will forgive. He will forgive your father, me, and you too ... Forgive your father if you can. Forgive me if you wish. But most important, forgive yourself.” (386) It’s in those lines that Rahim Khan shows the novel's ultimate message: in search for redemption, one must first forgive himself.

The central theme of sin and redemption helps Hosseini makes sense of a novel that is in flashback non-chronological order and helps draw emotions from the readers at different points throughout the novel. It makes sense about each character like why Baba seems to favor Hassan. Also, sin was a powerful tool for Hosseini to portray the violent world of Aghanistan with the Taliban and kite fighting and that there is always hope for their country like there is hope for Amir when he finally got his redemption.

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