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Guilt and Redemption
Transcript of Guilt and Redemption
Lucy Ray, Chloe Whitham, Hannah Rokholm, Jacob Jung
In Khaled Hosseini's novel The Kite Runner, the guilt acquired from wrong actions ultimately leads to good deeds and redemption.
Baba battles feelings of guilt due to his:
Betraying his best friend
Hiding the truth from his sons
Inability to openly love and help Hassan as he would like to
On the day of Amir's graduation, and the peak of Baba's pride, Baba expresses his guilt by saying, "I wish Hassan had been with us today" (p133).
"Sometimes I think everything he did, feeding the poor on the street, building the orphanage, helping friends in need, it was all his way of redeeming himself"
"What if our badness and mistakes are the very thing that set our fate and bring us round to good? What if, for some of us, we can't get there any other way?"
"[Hassan's] staying right here with us, where he belongs. This is his home and we're his family"
"Baba never missed Hassan's birthday.... Baba met Hassan's wary - and puzzled - eyes. 'I have summoned Dr. Kumar from New Delhi. Dr. Kumar is a plastic surgeon' ... [Hassan] whispered it again. 'Tashakor' Thank you. ... He was smiling."
Baba never tells Amir or Hassan the truth- that Hassan is his son.
He does, however
raise Amir to treat Hassan like family
, and they become as close as brothers.
When Amir asks Baba if he would consider getting new servants, Baba becomes very angry and tells Amir to treat Hassan like family, because Baba knows he is, in fact.
Baba responds to his guilt by dedicating his life to doing good and helping others.
Everyone Amir meets says that Baba was a great man and that he was always there to help whomever was in need of it.
Sanuabar feels guilt for:
Having left her husband and son to join a group of traveling performers
Not valuing her son's life; she didn't hold him when he was born
Baba is comparable to Spiderman. He feels guilty about one wrong deed, and so he makes himself a better man and lives to help others.
Question: To what extent do you feel Baba has redeemed himself?
"You smiled coming out of me, did anyone tell you? And I wouldn't even hold you. Allah forgive me. I wouldn't even hold you." p210
"It was Sanaubar who delivered Hassan's son that winter of 1990." p211
"You should have seen Sanaubar with that baby, Amir jan. He became the center of her existence... When he caught a fever, she stayed up all night, and fasted for three days." p211
"She looked calm, at peace, like she did not mind dying now." p211
By delivering Sohrab,
Sanaubar is reinstated as a member of the family
Previously, she had rejected her family by leaving them for the group of traveling performers.
She regrets never being a mother to Hassan, and to redeem herself
she becomes not only a mother to Hassan but a grandmother to Sohrab.
Although Baba did many great things in response to his guilt, he never directly reconciled himself with Amir and Hassan by telling them the truth.
Amir greatly admires Baba, until he learns that Baba had deceived him for his whole life. At this point he questions his father's greatness.
" And now, fifteen years after I'd buried him, I was learning that Baba had been a thief. And a thief of the worst kind, because the things he'd stolen had been sacred..." (p225).
When Sanaubar left her family, she acted selfishly and made herself the center of her own existence
On her path to redemption she stops putting herself first and
begins to value her family.
She focuses her attention on Sohrab, and
learns to love others before herself.
While in America, Baba acquires an ulcer, which ultimatley becomes the cancer that kills him. Ulcers are caused by stress, so it could be said that the guilt that Baba feels is what leads to his death. Even Baba never truly feels that he has redeemed himself.
However, he accepts that he has done good in his life, despite this one mistake. In the end he dies peacefully.
" 'There is no pain tonight.'... Baba never woke up" (173).
She finds peace and contentment in the family she returns to.
In the end Sanaubar redeems herself by fixing her relationships and receiving forgiveness.
She is able to die in peace.
We can see that she is fully forgiven by Hassan when he buries her under the pomegranate tree.
This shows that despite everything, Baba loves Hassan. He is willing to spend a great deal of money on Hassan.
He also knows how much this gift will mean to Hassan, and how it will improve his life, which is evident in Hassan's reaction.
Baba trys to redeem himself by taking care of Hassan as much as he can without ruining his reputation.
Question: If you were in Hassan's position, would you accept Sanuabar back into your life after she had abandoned you and been absent for so long?
Upon the return of his mother, Hassan runs away and stays out by himself for the entire night. When he comes home he welcomes Sanuabar with open arms. Why do you think Hassan accepts her back?
Amir struggles with guilt for the majority of the novel; it is something he acquires from a very young age.
As a child, Amir feels guilt because he believes Baba holds him responsible for his mother's death, therefore he is forever trying to win Baba's love and approval.
Amir grows up with Hassan, who has many admirable qualities. Amir constantly compares himself to Hassan, noting how Hassan is more honest, loyal, and courageous than Amir could ever be.
At the age of twelve, Amir witnesses Hassan's rape, and does nothing to stop it. He carries this guilt with him as he ages and grows into a man.
One possible reason for Hassan's forgiving nature could be his devotion to his religion. An important aspect of Islam is forgiveness. In order to receive Allah's forgiveness, Hassan must forgive those who have done wrong towards him, including his mother Sanaubar.
" 'Do you want me to run that kite for you?' ... I thought I saw him nod. 'For you, a thousand times over,' I heard myself say. Then I turned and ran" (371).
" I laughed because I saw that, in some hidden nook in the corner of my mind, I'd even been looking forward to this...My body was broken...but I felt
. Healed at last. I laughed" (289).
When one feels guilt for their wrong actions, this prompts good deeds, which propagates in their redemption. Baba, Sanaubar, and Amir all seek redemption for their wrong deeds which leads them to good actions and becoming better people.
" There is a way to be good again."
Text to Self
" 'Thank you Baba. Are you all right? Do you feel up to this?' 'Up to this? It's the happiest day of my life, Amir,' he said, smiling tiredly" (166)
Text to Text
Think back to the Crucible. In what ways does John Proctor experience guilt? How does he redeem himself?
Baba, Sanaubar and Amir are prime examples of guilt leading to good.
Growing up in Kabul, Amir never feels as if Baba loves him. He constantly strives to win Baba's pride and affection.
On the day of Hassan's rape, Amir's quest for Baba's love outweighs his sense of loyalty to Hassan. He sacrifices Hassan for the kite, but regrets this for the rest of his life.
When they move to America, Amir finally becomes someone Baba can take pride in. He becomes a caretaker for Baba, a loving husband, and a published author.
After witnessing Hassan's rape, Amir feels intense guilt about failing to stand up for his friend, yet he tells no one, and continues to suffer the burden of guilt.
Hassan remains loyal and won't give Amir the punishment he feels he deserves. So Amir commits another dishonest act and has Hassan sent away.
When he returns to Kabul as an adult, Amir sets out to find Hassan's son. In order to rescue him from Assef's abuse, Amir takes a terrible beating, but he accepts it, because he finally feels he has gotten what he deserved for abandoning his friend all those years ago. He is willing to sacrifice himself for Sohrab's freedom.
Amir redeems himself by adopting Hassan's son and saving him from a harsh, orphan life. He welcomes Sohrab into his family back in America, but at this point, the boy's life has been too much for him to cope with and he is suicidal and depressive.
Amir sees a glimmer of hope at the end of the novel, when he shows Sohrab how to fight kites and then, just as Hassan had always run kites for him, he runs the kite for Sohrab
In contrast with the characters previously discussed, those who feel no remorse for the wrong that they do will not seek to fix their mistakes, and therefore, will never really attain redemption.
Think of Assef. He does not feel guilty about what he did to Hassan, and so instead of growing into a better person, he becomes a man who takes pleasure in hurting others, and has no problem with committing crimes as serious as murder.
Mayor Rob Ford could be seen as an example of how lack of guilt does not lead to redemption. In your opinion, has Ford made an acceptable effort to set right the mistakes he has made? Is he on the road to redemption?
Rob Ford denied his use of illegal drugs for months, and downplayed his alcohol abuse and inappropriate public drunkenness. He made an apology, but made no move to step down from position as mayor, or to address his drug/alcohol problems. He is currently in a rehab facility, but will this be enough to redeem his image in the eyes of the public? The mayoral election will determine this....
Amir says that if he had done something to stop Assef on the fateful day that Amir won the kite, the rest of his life would have turned out differently. In what ways do you think this is true?
What good came from Amir
taking action? (think about the bigger picture)
Likewise during WWII Japan joined the Axis Alliance. This brought fear to the Canadian government in case the Japanese Canadians would revolt against them. Did this grant the government the right to ruin the their lives?
These Japanese Canadians who have called Canada their home for many years were stripped of all their possessions and placed into internment camps.
In 1988 the Canadian government had a public apology to all Japanese Canadians for their actions during WWII, providing compensation packages, "Settlement that Heals".
Does waiting 40+ years to provide people, that are still alive, compensation show true redemption for their actions? Did the Canadian Government ever truly feel guilty for their actions? Is paying people off redeeming? What do you think?
Collection of boats that was taken from Japanese Canadians:
Japanese Canadians no longer had rights as Canadian citizens, they would have to walk around with an identification tag. Their livelihood was stripped away, forced into camps and told to work. Most of the people who were placed into the internment camps were dead at the time of the apology, only the children at the time received compensation.
Canadian soldiers watch over the transportation to the internment camps.
John Proctor feels guilty because he has betrayed his wife Elizabeth Proctor, by lusting after a much younger lady Abigail Williams.
Not only has he betrayed his wife, but he has also betrayed one of the ten commandments, by committing adultery, therefore living a life in sin.
He also decides to lie by agreeing that he is a witch in order to reduce the punishment he will receive.
John Proctor redeems himself by telling the court that he did indeed have an affair with Abigail Williams. He does this to show his true love for his wife Elizabeth Proctor.
He also proves that he will no longer live a life full of lies when he rips up his confession saying he is a witch
Text to Text
John Proctor is not the only character that we have studied in the past who shows guilt. Last year we looked at Fahrenheit 451 and noticed that Montag was another one of these guilty characters.
In the movie Brother Bear, Kenai is cursed to become a bear after unjustly killing one. He later befriends the cub of the bear he killed, and experiences large amounts of guilt.
Like Kenai, Amir sees himself as a monster after realizing the enormity of his wrong-doings
Kenai's guilt leads him to reevaluate his beliefs. He learns to appreciate other living creatures and to let go of his prejudice. In the end, he receives forgiveness and his curse is lifted.
Kenai is reformed by his guilt
Guy Montag works as a fireman in his local community. (Remember, a fireman in these times does not extinguish fires but starts fires.) Firemen are called to burn houses that contain books within, to make sure no one in society can become more intelligent than those in power.
Montag begins to feel guilty when he starts to become fascinated by books.
He feels guilty because he knows that it is against the law and that he must lie to keep this a secret.
Not only is he interested by books, but he also feels guilty for burning a house that has a lady in it. This lady was willing to die with her books rather than live without them.
Just as it is true in our own lives, guilt leading to good is also an important concept in
The Kite Runner .
Who remembers how Guy Montag redeems himself?
Montag redeems himself by standing up for what he believes in. He believes that books are important to society and that everyone should have a chance to read.
Montag goes to Faber, a retired English professor, to get help and carry through with his redemption.
Obviously Amir allowed Hassan to be seriously hurt, physically and emotionally. However, if Amir never experienced the guilt that plagued his life, he may not have become the good person that he is in the end. He might have never learned what it meant to be as loyal and loving as Hassan, and he may remained as cowardly and selfish as he was as a child.
“America was different. America was a river, roaring along, unmindful of the past. I could wade into this river, let my sins drown to the bottom, let the waters carry me someplace far. Someplace with no ghosts, no memories, and no sins.” (136)
In Rahim Khan's letter to Amir, he writes
I have a friend who used to lie to her parents a lot.
One day she got caught, and her lies made her family very sad.
She realized how much she was hurting her family by lying to her parents
She made a decision not to lie to her parents or to anyone anymore.
Her guilt led her to become a better person.