Amir and Redemption

‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini was written in 2003 and it is an extremely popular novel. The book is an epic tale of friendship and betrayal, and of the need for love and redemption. As our course theme is redemption, ‘The Kite Runner’ is a great book to help us explore it. To start we are going to look at Amir.

Amir is the protagonist of ‘The Kite Runner’. He was born into a privileged Pashtun family, and grows up in Kabul, Afghanistan. Amir was raised by his father Baba as his mother died in childbirth. This loss shapes him in a negative way as Baba and Amir have a conflicted relationship. He feels that Baba is angry at him and perhaps blames him for the death of his mother, “Did he ache for her, the way I ached for the mother I had never met?” As a parallel, Amir aches for his father who is emotionally and metaphorically missing in his life. Amir is also conflicted about his identity, he is interested in books, he is thoughtful but not very athletic. He is quite introverted and he prefers to write stories in his notebook rather than play soccer, much to his father’s dismay. Amir wants to be the sports-orientated, brave man that he believes Baba wants him to be. Amir wants a better relationship with his father and is strongly motivated by the wish to make this fantasy a reality—ultimately with tragic results. Amir is constantly trying to earn his father’s approval but he struggles to get his father’s attention. He becomes jealous when his father pays more attention to Hassan, the son of the family servant Ali. Amir finds that the only way to gain his father’s limited approval is to win the traditional kite-flying contest. Hassan always knows exactly where a kite will drop once its string has been cut. He becomes Amir’s kite runner chasing down fallen kites as Amir works his way to winning the competition. Amir then commits the shocking act that requires redemption. He encounters his best friend being bullied, and then raped by Assef, but does nothing to stop or even acknowledge this act.

Amir is haunted by his childhood betrayal of Hassan, and he eventually travels back to Kabul to put things right . Throughout the novel Amir wants to be a good person and he is constantly upset by his own shortcomings, particularly in his relationship with Hassan. He needs to find redemption.We see how Amir is released from guilt as he negotiates the memories of his betrayal of his childhood friend. We understand what it takes to to be good again.

Who else in the novel is seeking redemption?


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