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How is are the themes of guilt and redemption explored in The Kite Runner?

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Introduction

The idea of redemption  and guilt is a key theme in The Kite Runner. With the exception of Hassan, all of the main character in the novel are presented as being on a journey of redemption for past sins, some more so then others. Although the theme of redemption is universal, it also has religious connotations, which are explored towards the end of th novel. As our protagonist, Amir's own journey of redemption is both a mental and physical one; going back to Kabul, the city of his childhood, to rescue Sohrab, thereby redeeming himself for what happened to Hassan all those years ago. After Hassan's rape in chapter 7, we see Amir's conflicting emotions gradually becoming his need for atonement and redemption. The anger at himself for not intervening, which he takes out on Hassan, is shown where he throws the pomegrantes at Hassan. Hosseini writes 'I hurled the pomegranate at him', where the agressive sounding verb 'hurled' implies Amir's frustration and increasing anger. However, after this, when Amir ignores his birthday presents,  feeling that they are 'blood money' we see his sorrow and guilt, the changes in him since the rape.  All of Amir's actions and emotions are now influenced by this desire to redeem himself; his throwing of the pomegrantes aims to provoke Hassan into physically hurting him (Amir), and he ignores the gifts out of the feeling that he does not deserve them, and that ignoring them will bring him some form of redemption. ...read more.

Middle

This is shown where he instructs the guards not to come into the room, saying that Amir and himself have to 'finish an old bit of business'. His euphemism here seems to be mocking Amir which suggests that he knows the impact that this fight will have on Amir and his redemption process. The plosive alliteration is 'bit of business' also suggests this, as well as Assef's power over Amir and his potential atonement. During the fight, Amir reflects back on his childhood memories of Hassan; the physical pain he is feeling mirrors the mental pain he has gone through since the rape. Hosseini writes 'I don't know at what point I started laughing, but I did.' The non-finite verb 'laughing' is repeated throughout this paragraph, showing that by being harmed by Assef has provided him with release from the mental pain; he is laughing with relief. Amir says that 'for the first time since the winter of 1975, i felt at peace' implying that he nows feels that his redemption is complete; he has found tranquility in the fight. However, it soon becomes clear that Amir's redemption is not over, he has to endure more obstacles to complete the cycle. Throughout the next chapters, we see the struggle to bring Sohrab back to America, ending in Sohrab attempting suicide, and becoming vacant and withdrawn. This is significant because the carefully built up trust between Sohrab and Amir being destroyed parallels the trust between Hassan and Amir being destroyed when Amir plants the watch under the mattress. ...read more.

Conclusion

 The similarities between Baba and Amir are also highlighted here; both of their redemption journeys are both physical and mental. For Amir, it is going back to Kabul, and for Baba it is the move to America. Sohrab is also presented as feeling as if he needs redemption, after he shoots Assef in the eye with the slingshot. Because he has been brought up to be very religious, he seeks redemption by going to the Shah Faisal mosque. Unlike the other characters, he is open to Amir about his guilt and fears. He says "Will God put me in hell for what I did to that man?", showing that he needs reassurance about his redemption, and also that he has inherited Hassan's sense of morals. Sohrab then goes on to say "Do you think father is disappointed in me?" showing that his father is equally as important to him as the idea of going to hell for what he did. Amir gives Sohrab reassurance, and a new chance in life, when he offers Sohrab the option of goign back to America with him. He does this at the mosque, with 'the bright lights of the house of God shining on us' which shows Sohrab's close link with his religion, and foreshadows Amir later in the novel, when he becomes more religious. In conclusion, the idea of redemption is portrayed as a universal theme, something which cannot be obtained until forgiveness is reached; not from God, but from yourself. ...read more.

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