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Kite Runner Analysis

Visually demonstrate your understanding and insight about character, theme, symbolism and/or figurative language within the novel, Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.
by

Kevin Cruz

on 12 May 2011

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Transcript of Kite Runner Analysis

The Kite Runner:
An Analysis by Kevin Cruz Theme of Sin and Redemption 1.) The difficult task of overcoming guilt can only achieved by seeking one's own redemption.

2.) The affliction of guilt often manifests itself into a seemingly unbearable burden in which redemption is the only escape.

3.) The healing power of redemption is capable of restoring even the most deeply rooted sense of guilt. The theme of Sin and Redemption plays such a prevalent role in "The Kite Runner." In this novel, Khaled Hosseini illustrates the power of guilt through the internal struggle of its protagonists and its ability to consume their entire lives. In spite of this, Hosseini reassures his audience with a message of redemption. As the characters develop throughout the novel, they discover their own respective paths towards redemption for their past sins and evetually overcome them. Hosseini's message of the power of sin teaches his audience that the gravity of suppressing one's guilt has serious consequences and that it is capable of manifesting itself into a driving force that devours all aspects of one's life. He also illustrates that, in order to escape from this cycle of sin and regret, one must discover their path to redemption. Characters Symbolism and Figurative Language Personal Thoughts:

Khaled Hosseini fully captures the psychological, emotional and even physical struggles of the protagonists, Amir and Baba, to emphasize the cycle of guilt and the necessity to seek atonement for their past sins.

The character of Baba serves as a powerful portrayal of the theme of sin and redemption. His ability to suppress his guilt over the years and keep the secret of Hassan being Amir's brother hidden highlights the fact that despite one's efforts, guilt is still capable of manifesting itself into a driving force that can consume one's own life.

The powerful image of the bear in Amir's dreams illustrates his gradual path towards redemption. At first Amir could not tell Baba apart from the bear. This represented his fear of never obtaining that sense of acceptance from his father as a child. Although, after the climax of the story, Amir has the same dream again, except it he who is the one fighting the bear. This could be interpreted as Amir overcoming his guilt ridden past and finally satisfying his father's moral standards by becoming "a man who can stand up to anything." My body was broken-just how badly I wouldn't find out until later-but I felt healed. Healed at last. I laughed. - (Page 289) "Sometimes, I think that everything he did, feeding the poor on the streets, building the orphanage, giving money to friends in need, it was all a way of redeeming himself." (Pg. 316) "Sometimes, I think everything he did, feeding the poor, building the orphanage, giving money to friends in need, it was all a way of redeeming himself." (Page 316)
-Rahim Khan speaking about Baba's Redemption "For you, a thousand times over." (page 391)
-Amir says this while running the kite for Sohrab. This action symbolizes Amir's redemption for his past sins against his brother, Hassan. "I believe that true redemption is when guilt leads to good." (Page 316)
-Rahim Khan's letter to Amir "A man who has no conscience, no good, does not suffer. I hope your suffering comes to an end with this journey to Afghanistan." (Page 315)
-Amir's journey to Afghanistan in order to rescue Sohrab illustrates his first step towards redemption. Hassan’s rape is a symbol and the source of Amir’s overwhelming sense of guilt throughout the novel. This defining moment in Amir's life plunges him into a seemingly endless cycle of remorse for not choosing to take action against this injustice. Towards the end of the novel, Amir finds the strength within himself to seek redemption as he ventured back to Kabul to rescue Hassan's son, Sohrab, from the Taliban. This leads him to a violent confrontation with Assef, who was keeping Sohrab as a slave. It is through the injuries he suffered from this confrontation that Amir finally discovered that sense of redemption that he had been searching for throughout his life. As a child, he could not fulfill the moral standards set forth for him by Baba, but as a man, he finally atoned for his past sins by proving that he has the courage to stand up for what is right. A strong sense of guilt within the character of Amir is deeply rooted in his childhood and permeates into all aspects of his life well into adulthood. At an early age, he develops this sense of guilt as he blames himself for the death of his mother. Despite the reassurance he received from Baba and Rahim Khan, these thoughts foreshadow Amir's future internal struggle with guilt and his eventual redemption. In addition to this, Amir constantly sought after his father's approval. In the beginning of the novel, Amir overhears Baba say that a "boy who can't stand up for himself becomes a man who can't stand up to anything." (Pg. 29) In doing so, Baba exposes one of Amir's character flaws - cowardice. It is through this sense of cowardice, combined with his obsession with gaining his father's approval, that cause Amir to let Assef rape Hassan. This event serves as a catalyst that plunges Amir into a seemingly endless cycle of guilt and remorse.

Amir's path to redemption began with an extremely violent experience at the hands of his childhood nemesis, Assef. In the climax of the novel, Amir returns to Kabul to rescue Hassan's son, Sohrab, in an attempt to redeem himself for the sins he committed towards Hassan in the past. In spite of the numerous injuries he suffered after this altercation, his deep sense of guilt had finally been healed. The character of Baba is deeply conflicted with an overwhelming sense of remorse for the sins of his past. The character of Amir powerfully illustrated Baba's struggle as he said that "Baba had wrestled bears his whole life." (Page 183) These metaphorical "bears" represented the various events and actions that he had taken in life that led him to his cycle of guilt. One of the key aspects of this cycle is his reluctance to praise Amir and express his love for him due to the fact that Amir could not fulfill the moral standards that were set for him. Furthermore, he had also committed a sin in the eyes of Afghan culture. Being a Pushtan, he had committed a sin punishable by death, by sleeping with a Hazara slave so that his closest friend could bear a son. The moral objectionability of this action has always haunted Baba.

In spite of his shortcomings, Baba found redemption in various forms. In Rahim Khan's letter to Amir, he says that "sometimes, I think that everything he did, feeding the poor on the streets, building the orphanage, giving money to friends in need, it was all a way of redeeming himself." (Pg. 316) "He has been wrestling with bears his entire life." -Pg. 183 The bear symbolizes various aspects of the lives of Amir and Baba. Throughout the novel, Amir is plagued by dreams of Baba fighting this bear. This illustrates the distant relationship between the two characters. Amir could never see himself fighting this bear, which reflects his inability to satisfy the standards that his father has set for him. Later in the novel, when he is in the hospital in Peshawar, Amir has another hallucination. He sees his father fighting this bear again, but contrary to his past dreams, when the battle is finished, it is not Baba fighting this bear, but himself. This symbolizes the fact that Amir had finally taken his first steps towards his own personal redemption. The bear could also represent Baba's cycle of guilt. His reluctance to express his love for his two sons and the shame of sleeping with a Hazara slave so that his closest friend could bear a son has plagued him throughout his entire life.
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