Atonement in The Kite Runner

Major characters in novels usually undergo a change of some sort. In a novel you have studied, how is the change in a major character linked to a key theme or themes?

Atonement would be a great theme to discuss in the essay topic above. The Kite Runner suggests that individuals can atone for the the bad things they have done in their past. Hosseini suggests that atonement is possible if the person who seeks redemption first admits their guilt. Hosseini explores the ideas of guilt and atonement through Amir and to a lesser extent through Baba. Rahim Khan explains the positive value of the guilt that has haunted Amir for years by showing him that it can lead to true redemption. In the novel  by exploring the ideas of guilt and atonement through Amir, Hosseini is able to show the debilitating effects on his life. Amir is so haunted by his past that he fears that he and Soraya can’t have a child because he is being punished for his childhood sins. Even though Amir believes this he finds it hard to confess his sins to Rahim Khan and his secret can be compared to Soraya’s openness. Soraya has been able to move on because she has accepted her past and confessed her secrets. When discussing atonement show how Hosseini develops this idea through the development of Amir’s character. We see Amir grow in maturity, partly due to his separation from Baba as he now can accept the opportunity to atone. Rahim Khan as Amir’s mentor and friend helps to support the ideas about redemption and why it is still possible. Through Rahim Khan we see that Amir must complete his journey to achieve redemption. When Amir confronts Assef he also confronts his past cowardice and at last feels healed. By rescuing Sohrab he is not only reliving a past wrong doing he is also correcting it.

3 thoughts on “Atonement in The Kite Runner

  1. Pingback: Check out this post « english@kkc

  2. The novelist Khaled Hosseini uses many stylistic devices such as foreshadowing, fragmented narrative and interior monologue to highlight the theme of atonement. In The Kite Runner, the novelist Khaled Hosseini implores that one can only atone their sins once they have admitted to their guilt and chose to seek redemption. In chapter 12 the theme of guilt reappears as Soraya, Amir’s wife, admits her past of running away to Virginia with another Afghan man. Even though Amir is stung by the thought of Soraya losing her virginity to another man, Amir still “envies her” because he is a coward and cannot pluck up the courage to confess his sins. However, it is only till chapter 24 where he reveals his past to Soraya. Amir finally admits his guilt and is on the path of redemption. He knows he must take on a new found maturity to look after Sohrab and rescue him from the taliban-Assef. The is evident in chapter 22,which takes the form of an adventure novel, as Amir sacrifices his well-being for Sohrab. In the ultimate lines of the novel Amir has redeemed himself to some extent as he repeats the lines of Hassan, “For you a thousand times over”. This is one of the most pivotal moments of the novel and Amir’s journey as he has now relieved his sins. Amir has now become the kite runner, hence the title of the novel. We know that Amir has developed and grown as a character from childhood into manhood as he helps ease his nephew’s transition from Afghanistan to America after facing turmoil.

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