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The Kite Runner: Is Amir a hero?

By helas Sep 17, 2007 1051 Words
In Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, we see that the character Amir can be defined as a hero. A character who seeks to redeem himself in a world where there can be good. Yet the Kite Runner can be interpreted in many different ways, not just the character Amir. Perhaps it represents a longing for something out of reach or something more symbolic such as an emotion. But within the novel, The Kite Runner can be focused very thematically with the character Amir. He becomes a hero after finding what truly matters in the world and suffers to obtain that goodness.

A selfless nature is what separates the hero from an ordinary person. In The Kite Runner Amir believes that by capturing the winning flag at the kite tournament he'll be able to gain his father's respect. The character Amir is very selfish, by his longing for the kite. He has total disregard of the help he has received by his best friend Hassan, one of the best Kite Runners. Amir believes that by capturing this kite he'll become a hero to everyone.

All I saw was the blue kite. All I smelled was victory. Salvation. Redemption. If Baba was wrong and there was a God like they said in school, then He'd let me win. I didn't know what the other guy was playing for, maybe just bragging rights. But this was my one chance to become someone who was looked at, not seen, listened to, not heard. (P. 69, Par 4)Amir believes that this is his way to become better than anyone else, including his friend Hassan.

When he finally wins the tournament, he thinks of himself as a hero. Yet it is Hassan who runs off to capture the winning tournament Kite. When Amir cannot find Hassan after the tournament he goes looking for him. There, before him, stands Hassan, the Kite and his enemies Assef with his two followers are intent to harm Hassan. It is here when Amir has the choice to either run or help his friend. It is this decision that ultimately decides whether he is a hero and not the Kite Tournament as he thinks.

I had one last chance to make a decision. One final opportunity to decide who I was going to be. I could step into that 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. (P. 82, Par 2)Though Amir is upset with himself for doing this he quickly forgets when he sees how happy Baba is with him. Amir is selfish.

Redemption cannot be received without suffering. Because of what Amir sacrificed, the friendship with Hassan, for the Kite, Amir begins to experience loss on a grand scale. When at first he begins losing his friendship with Hassan he despairingly searches for punishment. "I hit him with another pomegranate, in the shoulder this time. The juice splattered his face. "Hit me back!" I spat. "Hit me back, goddamn you!" I wished he would. I wished he'd give me the punishment I craved… (P. 98, Par 5). Further in the novel, Amir is unable to step off the path and be honest with what he's done. Because of his cowardice he destroyed a 45 year relationship between Baba and Rahim Khan. Later in the novel, Amir is still unresolved and needs a sense of forgiveness. When Soraya tells Amir about her past, he envies her.

I envied her. Her secret was out. Spoken. Dealt with. I opened my mouth and almost told her how I'd betrayed Hassan, lied, driven him out, and destroyed a forty-year relationship between Baba and Ali. But I didn't. (P. 174, Par 6)This shows that Amir has not yet forgotten nor dealt with his past mistakes. He attempts to live a happy life yet still cannot atone. Ultimately he is plagued by his remorse but there is an underlining urge to go to his friend Hassan.

"Come. There is a way to be good again, Rahim Khan had said on the phone just before hanging up. Said it in passing, almost as an afterthought. A way to be good again. (P. 202, Par 2). When Amir received the phone call from Rahim, Amir made the decision to fly to Pakistan to see his sick friend Rahim Khan. Amir knows that Rahim knew all these years of what he'd done and it's his chance to help. When Amir learned of Hassan's death, he decides to find his son. This shows both a desire to redeem himself for his past mistakes, as well as the opportunity to take care of Sohrab, Hassan's child as his own. When Amir goes to Assef, his childhood nemesis, where Sohrab is, and fights him to reclaim Sohrab, Amir redeems himself.

"WHAT'S SO FUNNY?" Assef bellowed. Another rib snapped, this time left lower.

What was so funny was that, for the first time since the winter of 1975, I felt at peace. I laughed because I saw that, in some hidden nook in a corner of my mind, I'd even been looking forward to this. (P. 303, Par 2)This shows Amir finally is at peace with himself as he had saved Sohrab becoming a good person. Yet, not until after Amir breaks a promise with Sohrab, after he had recovered in the hospital, does Amir make peace with Hassan and Sohrab.

"You know, I've done a lot of things I regret in my life," I said, "and maybe none more than going back on the promise I made you. But that will never happen again, and I am so very profoundly sorry, I ask for your bakhshesh, your forgiveness. (P. 374, Par 1)Amir, by saving Sohrab and atoning for the betrayal of Hassan, has made himself into a good person.

Amir has proven that an ordinary person has the capability of becoming a hero by enduring their own challenges. By risking his own life in an attempt to redeem himself for his betrayal, shows how selfless he's become and how much of a friend he is. It is because of Amir's strength, the change in him as a person, and his overall devotion to his friend Hassan, is what makes Amir a hero.

Bibliography:Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runne, 2004 Bloomsbury publishing.

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