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The Kite Runner: Guilt

Essay by   •  July 19, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,706 Words (7 Pages)  •  3,728 Views

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The past is something some people try to forget. This is the case for Amir, the main character in the book, The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. He has a very upsetting past and cannot seem to get it out of his mind. This causes him constant pain and regret. This in turn persuades Amir to involuntarily travel the distance to get Sohrab because of the guilt felt from what had happened in the past.

Best friends are inseparable, at least most people believe. Amir and Hassan are two boys who as young children were always together and were practically brothers. They played, laughed, and learn how to talk together. "But we were kids who had learned to crawl together, and no history, ethnicity, or religion was going to change that either" (Hosseini 25). Amir was the son of a rich man, and Hassan and his father were their servants. These servants, Hazaras as they are called in Afghanistan, were like family to Amir and his father. "...inseparable playmates despite their difference in caste" (Graves). Amir and Hassan were always together and share a special bond they thought would always stay with them.

One event can change a person's life. This is the case for both Amir and Hassan. "...during a kite flying tournament that should be the triumph of Amir's young life, Hassan is brutalized by some upper-class teenagers" (Hower). This event alone sends Amir on a whirlwind of guilt and feelings of failure. When Hassan was being attacked, Amir made no effort to help his "best" friend. "Rather than step in and fight Hassan's attackers, Amir freezes, remains hidden and eventually runs away in fear" (Hacht 88). Because of his actions, Amir feels guilt for the rest of his life. He is now forever haunted by what he saw, and how he did not help when his friend was in trouble. "His failure to stand up for Hassan in his moment of need becomes a burden he carries for much of his life" (Hacht, 88). Hassan and Amir quickly drift apart, and Hassan never leaves his hut. Hassan practically becomes a hermit and Amir almost never sees him.

This event causes Amir to both doubt and find momentary glory. Amir decided to keep the attack to himself, which would soon begin to eat him alive. Before he can truly start to feel bad, he realizes he now has free time to spend one on one with his father. "Against the backdrop of his guilt, Amir takes advantage of the opportunity to enjoy his father's company" (Hacht 87). Amir needs to feel special by his dad for once, so he enjoys having talks and going on trips with just his dad, and not having Hassan tagging along. Soon Amir realizes what he has done and the guilt begins to wash over him.

Amir feels the guilt, and can no longer see Hassan walk around the house. Hacht says, "Overwhelmed with gifts and praise, and haunted by guilt, he takes some of the money and a brand new watch and plants them in Hassan's bed" (87). This causes Hassan and Ali to leave Amir and Baba. Baba is very upset by this, but Amir sees this as a form of relief. Without Hassan around Amir is not constantly reminded of the betrayal he committed.

Now with Hassan and Ali gone, Baba sees little reason to stay in Afghanistan. He decides to move Amir and himself to America, which makes Amir very happy. "I wanted that, to move on, to forget, to start with a clean slate. I wanted to be able to breathe again" (Hosseini 105). Amir was willing to try anything to get rid of his guilt. The guilt of not helping his friend begins to crush his life; he feels it all around him. Once they get to America, Amir states, "For me, America was a place to bury my memories" (129). Amir believes he can finally get away from his past. This does not last long. Amir thinks about Hassan and what might have happened to him. He wonders where Hassan is and what his life is like. Amir is always thinking about Hassan, showing the guilt in the back of his mind. "And even as Amir grows to man-hood, settling comfortably into America and a happy marriage, his past shame continues to haunt him" (Hower).

Life is finally settled for Amir in America when Rahim Khan, a family friend from Afghanistan, calls. Rahim khan has a faint idea of what happened and has found a way for Amir to finally stop feeling the guilt from his past. "I knew it wasn't Rahim Khan on the line. It was my past of unatoned sins" (Hosseini 1). Amir is told to come to Pakistan to meet with Rahim Khan. He soon finds out about Hassan's son, Sohrab. He learns all about the trouble he is in. Hassan had died from the war, and his son is now in an orphanage. The orphanage is a very bad place for a child living in Afghanistan. The children

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