7th August 2017

Kite runner Essay

 Analyse how a key idea (or ideas) in the text(s) were used to comment on society’s perception of guilt and/or redemption.

In the text The “Kite runner” by Khaled Hosseini Amir is a main character that is used to show guilt and redemption in a way that is relatable to society. Firstly in this text i will discuss how Amir initially deals with his guilt after not defending and watching his lifelong best friend being raped in a cold Kabul alleyway. I will explain how Amir ran away from his guilt and the horrible incident that occurred by pushing his friend Hassan further away each day, and how this relates to modern society. I will also discuss how decades later while living in a safe, clean first world country with no conflict Amir is still not satisfied or completely happy with his life as he still has the guilt about Hassan bearing down on him. Amir’s guilt haunts him on a daily basis causing him to to risk his nice life in America and his “beautiful wife” to return to Afghanistan in search of final redemption. Lastly I will talk about how Amir feels “redeemed” and “cleansed” lying in hospital beaten up severely by Assef in order to rescue Hassan’s boy Sohrab. Amir feels finally “punished” at last causing him to feel redeemed for the the actions he has has been guilty about for decades.In the Novel “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini, Hosseini uses Amir to show the readers the link, similarities and differences between guilt, redemption and societies perception of them.

Being raped, or witnessing someone being raped is a horrific experience that will stick with the victim or witnesses and haunt them forever. When Hassan got raped in an alleyway while running a kite for his beloved best friend Amir, it triggered Hassan’s life to fall apart. It was the trigger event that broke down the strong brother like friendship these two boys possess. This significant trigger event in the text caused Amir to forever feel guilty and have the weight of searching for redemption on his shoulders for the next 26 years. Struggling to bury his past and move on, Amir said “It’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out” This quote shows the reader that Amir has tried to bury his past but it always resurfaces and “claws” its way out. This quote suggests that reflecting on the past is a painful process for Amir as the word “claw” which is a violent act and links to pain is used. In society generally most people believe that people that have made mistakes and have caused hurt to others need to be punished before they are redeemed. In modern society this punishment is usually going to prison if the crime or mistake was bad enough and can sometime mean paying with your life. Mike Anderson was arrested for robbing a Burger King at gunpoint. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison, released on bail, and told to await orders on when to show up to serve his time.The orders never came. Due to a clerical error, Anderson never went to prison. Instead of using his freedom to commit more crimes, Anderson started his own construction business, became a youth football coach, and volunteered at his local church. He also got married, had three children, and became a well-liked member of his community. However Anderson’s past and mistakes did come back and get him 13 years later when the state discovered their mistake and sent Anderson to jail for one year. This is a modern real life example of someone that has put their past and guilt to the side and got on with life like Amir has. This is a similar real life scenario to Amir as he put his guilt about Hassan to the side and carried on with his life in America until the phone call from Rahim Khan came 26 years later. Amir said “looking back now, I realise I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years” This makes me wonder why people do such stupid things without thinking twice about doing them, then change their morals and feel guilty about their actions and then go and change their lives for the better. This teaches me that you need to think in depth about your actions to avoid feeling guilty and regretting the decisions you have made in the past.

When something bad or negative happens the people involved have the choice of how they are going to deal with the aftermath. Sometimes this brings the people that were involved closer together and sometimes it pushes them further apart. After the trigger event of Hassan getting raped by Assef in the alleyway the two young boys life long friendship fell apart in a matter of days. Amir transferred the blame of his actions onto Hassan in order to relieve him from guilt. Amir did not stick up for Hassan or defend him in the alleyway, the consequence of this was feeling a constant sense of guilt that affected his day to day life in a negative way. Baba says “A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up for anything” Baba says this about Amir because he believes that Amir is soft and needs to stand up for himself and others. Amir never stands up for himself or others because Hassan is always there to protect him. When Hassan is the one that needs standing up for and protecting Amir shows his cowardness and stands back helplessly. We see this trend occurring in modern day society as people blame their actions and mistakes on others to try and make themselves feel better about the situation they have got themselves into. A real life example of this is Donald Trump blaming innocent Muslims for terrorism and the safety of U.S citizens when only a small number of them take part in this horrible act. This is similar to Amir and a link to real society as Donald Trump is generalising Muslims and finds it easier to blame a whole religion because he can’t stop the few that take part in these acts of terror. Like Donald, Amir is trying to take the guilt he feels away by saying Hassan was not a very good friend to him. Amir becomes extremely selfish, and feels like he needs to move his guilt to the side and carry on with his life. Another similarity between Donald and amir is that there actions are driven by fear. Amir is fearful of the consequences of sticking up for Hassan in the alleyway, just like Donald trump’s actions towards the terrorist groups are motivated by the fear of them affecting his country. He does this by trying to move the constant reminder of his guilt, Hassan, out of his life. Amir does this in a brutal way trying to provoke Hassan by pelting Him with pomegranates and yelling at Him to hit him back. Not only does Amir provoke Hassan, he takes his birthday money and a watch that Baba gave him and puts them under Hassan’s mattress. Amir tells Baba that Hassan stole them, and when Ali and Hassan return, Baba asks Hassan if he stole the money and the watch. To Amir’s surprise, Hassan says he did. This is yet another sacrifice Hassan made for Amir when he had been betrayed by him.

“I was the snake in the grass, the monster in the lake. I wasn’t worthy of this sacrifice; I was a liar, a cheat, and a thief. And I would have told, except that a part of me was glad. Glad that this would all be over with soon. Baba would dismiss them, there would be some pain, but life would move on. I wanted that, to move on, to forget, to start with a clean slate. I wanted to be able to breathe again.” This quote shows Amir knows he is doing something selfish, it links back to society again as usually people feel like they have to protect themselves and put themselves first even if it means treating someone else unfairly. This has taught me that in order to be a good person, you need to stay as true to other people as possible. On a whole this teaches society as a whole that it’s better not to be deceitful or lie like Amir did about Hassan’s actions. I Think Amir has acted like the “coward” he has been described as because he has not accounted himself responsible for his actions and been selfish in the he has pushed Haasan out of his life. We see this regularly happening in society, we can learn from this and change together by staying completely honest with one another and not doing anything we know is bad.

26 years later Amir finds himself living in a clean, safe first world country with a wife he adores. He has buried his past and even though life is good, the weight and guilt of Hassan is still on his shoulders and bears on him everyday. Struggling to go about his day to day life in San Francisco without thinking about his friend Hassan and that alleyway 26 years ago Amir continues to try and out his guilt to the side and carry on with life. When Rahim Khan an old family friend calls Amir from Afghanistan saying for him to come back, Amir realises his guilt and past has caught up with him. Amir realises that if he wants to seek redemption he will have to sacrifice everything he has in America including the wife he loves. Rahim Khan says “There is a way to be good again” to Amir on the phone to convince him he needs to come back to Afghanistan and get redemption.This links back to the way society views guilt and redemption. Society has a perception that once a sin has been committed someone needs to be punished like going to prison or needs to do something good to be able to redeem themselves and clear their name. Amir has not served punishment or put his mistakes right and he feels guilty because of it. An example of this in society is Joshua Milton Blahyi, a Liberian warlord that admitted to recruiting child soldiers as young as nine years old, sacrificing babies to ensure divine protection in battle, slitting open the bellies of pregnant women, chopping off limbs of peaceful villagers, and eating human hearts. He estimates that he has killed at least 20,000 people. Although this man has committed far worse sins than Amir, the concept of not being punished for the sins he committed and living with the weight of his past and guilt on his shoulders bears down on him every day. Joshua Milton admits that if prosecuted he would go to prison or face the death penalty in order to redeem himself. Although Amir is not going to prison he is putting his life at major risk, and risking the nice life he has in America to seek redemption. Generally in Society people will bury their problems but will take the chance to make it right and seek redemption if an opportunity arises. Society’s perception of people that do the wrong thing is that they need to be punished and suffer or “do their time” in order to redeem themselves and live a free happy life. Amir suffers severe injuries in the process of redeeming himself and rescuing Hassan’s son from the Taliban. This makes him feel “punished” for his sins and gives Amir a feeling of being cleansed. This links back to modern day society as when people have been punished for their sins they feel redeemed and do no longer feel guilty. This gives them a second chance at a happy life. Amir receives a second chance at having a guilt free, happy life with Sohrab in his company.

I have talked about how Amir initially deals with his guilt after watching his friend being sexually assaulted. By pushing Hassan away, Amir is burying his past and trying to put his guilt to the side and move on with his life. Hosseini uses Amir to show guilt and redemption in a way that is relatable to society, by explaining in depth the way in which Amir pushes Hassan out of his life by framing him for stealing and causing him to move out. I have talked about the ideas related to feeling guilty and finding redemption as Amir did 26 years later when he decided to take the trip back to Afghanistan to gain redemption, to finally lift the weight of the betrayal of his friend, Hassan, 26 years previous off his shoulders. Amir feeling “punished” in hospital beaten up and barely able to move provides a feeling of being redeemed for amir. The guilt Amir has put in his past all these years was lifted off his chest and he finally realised it in that moment. In the text the “kite runner” by Khaled Hosseini Amir is used to show guilt and redemption and how it is relatable to society in many ways.

Sam Howard


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