Great Themes in Literature
March 15, 2010
The Transition through Adolescence
The arduous journey through adolescence can be marred by scarred memories but can be compensated with satisfaction by achieving redemption for the wrong done. In The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, the main character, Amir experiences a drastic incident when witnessing the rape of his loyal friend Hassan. Not only will this event leave a scar of his youth embedded in Amir’s heart and soul but will be an eternal devil nestled upon his shoulder. As he transitions from adolescence to adulthood, Amir will learn to gradually let go of his emotional guilt and the sense of betrayal he feels internally. When forced into challenging situations the characteristics of maturity arise and influence Amir to let go of his past and forgive. Even people who consider themselves to be weak can redeem themselves when challenging opportunities arise. His attempt to deal with his guilt by avoiding it does nothing toward redeeming himself, and thus his guilt endures which is why he cringes every time Hassan’s name is mentioned. The development of Amir to become good again in the transition from adolescence to adulthood accounts for the forgiveness and redemption by making right his past wrongs against Hassan by saving Hassan’s son Sohrab, indicating that even people who consider themselves weak can create good out of remorse.
Growing up in a socially diverse environment divided into a hierarchy can stimulate betrayal in how we treat humans due to the instability and mental insecurity individuals struggle to overcome. Amir initially, demonstrates his betrayal to Hassan and forces himself to believe that the reason he ran was due to every human’s innate cowardice. Amir explains how he actually aspired to cowardice, “I ran because I was a coward” and “that what I made myself believe” (77).
... effects that guilt can have are shown through the events in Amir’s life. After seeing his closest friend, Hassan, brutally raped ... climb toward one’s redemption. Amir experiences many psychological problems, like insomnia, directly after witnessing Hassan being raped by Assef. ... 92). The author shows that Amir is aware that his selfish personality caused the outcome of Hassan’s life. Though he ...
Amir also betrayed Hassan because he knew that he would not be able to help Hassan “because the alternative, the real reason [he] was running, was that Assef was right: Nothing was free in this world” (77).
The fear of not being able to help Hassan without a battle proves that Amir was not courageous enough to endure in this process. A sense of betrayal continued to build up in Amir’s soul and mind and like Baba they both “betrayed the people who had given their lives” (226) for them. The one person who had always fought for Amir and never let him down was the same person Amir betrayed, the one person who had continuously stood up and fought for him and respected Amir in all mannerisms. Therefore, years after the incident guilt still existed in the mind and soul acting as the devil “those thorny old barbs of guilt bore into me once more, as if speaking his name had broken a spell, set them free to torment me anew” (202).
The devil did not disappear but tried to torment Amir as Hassan’s name rang in his ears. Thankfully, when getting the call from Rahim Khan, Amir embarks on a journey that will strip away all of his protective layers. Layer by layer, Amir eventually losses the weight of guilt and he is able to find forgiveness.
The only way complete forgiveness can occur is when one forgives oneself, and that will only occur when one has truly attempted to atone for the mistakes one has made. Building up like a powerful storm in his heart and weighing down his body like an anchor, Amir has always struggled with guilt. Upon returning to Afghanistan, Amir realizes that the enduring situation he has originally abandoned, turned into a situation in which “disoriented, he has to reevaluate his surroundings, reorient himself” (224).
Gradually, it is becoming evident that it is time for Amir to forgive himself for the wrong and devastation he has caused to both his life and others. Rahim Khan continuously tells Amir that there is nothing wrong with being a coward and making a mistake in life. Making a mistake is innate in every human and is part of every adolescent. As Rahim Khan explains, “there is nothing wrong with cowardice as long as it comes with prudence” and every individual learns from the mistakes they make “but when a coward stops remembering who he is, god help him” (275).
... second is Michael’s feelings of guilt for “betraying” Hanna by not acknowledging her at ... struggle with future relationships. His feelings of guilt for comparing his wife to Hanna lead to ... her rights by getting divorced. His feelings of guilt ruined his marriage. During Hanna’s ... the pool. The third example is the guilt that ...
In the process of adolescents, it is vital to learn from the mistakes you make. Amir, the coward, cannot cease the importance of positive moral values but needs to discover a way to redeem himself. He realized, “what had I done, other than take my guilt out on the very same people I had betrayed” (303), producing a harmful heart when trying to forget it all. What Amir needs to realize is that, tortured souls who have sinned and betrayed are capable of becoming good again. Unlike Amir, “Baba found a way to create good out of his remorse” (303) by forgiving himself for the mistakes he made. By burying his memories and trying to forgive and forget, Amir digs a deeper hole in which eventually will be unable to escape from. It is the self-confidence that Amir needs in order for redemption.
The Kite Runner shows that true redemption is only possible through acts of altruism, bravery, and loyalty. By evoking these qualities an individual can be alleviated from and obtain a conscience free from guilt. Aware that Amir is striving to redeem himself in the mistakes he made as a youth, Rahim Khan, the only figurine left in Amir’s life offers advice to Amir. Rahim Khan tells Amir that “there is a way to be good again, a way to end the cycle” (227) and it stars with a little boy, an orphan, Hassan’s son. Although encountering numerous obstacles in his journey in Afghanistan, Amir was able to retrieve Sohrab and eventually bring him back to America to live with Amir and his wife. It was at a kite flying tournament for the Afghan community in America where Amir noticed something forming across Sohrab’s face, stretching from check bone to check bone “only a smile, nothing more” that “didn’t make everything all right, it didn’t make anything all right” but was “only a smile” (371) sincere and infectious. Such a tiny thing, “like a leaf in the woods, shaking in the wake of a startled bird’s flight” (371) so tiny and unexpected but portrayed at the start of a series of events in which that same smile would be broadcasted after various occasions in the future. After so many years of mental instability Amir “felt at peace” for “the first time since the winter of 1975” because he was “healed at last” (289).
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It is true redemption when “guilt leads to good” (302) after suffering for so many years. Finally making right of his wrongs, Amir ponders “if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain, gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night” (359).
No longer was Amir weighed down with guilt in his heart, no longer was Amir striving to forgive himself for the wrong he had committed, no longer would Amir cringe at Hassan’s name, because Amir had become good again through redemption.
The Kite Runner shows that people who bottle their secrets up are haunted by their past until they confront their mistakes. Amir finally realized that the past could not be changed or altered to what he wanted his life to become. In his transition from adolescents Amir begins to understand his goal in life, to care for Sohrab. Amir needed to repay Hassan, even though he knew that he could never emulate the loyalty and trust Hassan gave him. Finally able to forgive himself, Amir was able to turn his guilt into productivity. He finds redemption. It is evident that Amir would have done anything for Hassan if he were still alive “for you a thousand times over” (371).
The transition through adolescence is like spring “because when spring comes, it melts the snow one flake at a time” (371) similarly to the effect that after an adolescent makes a mistake forgiveness melts it through redemption. It is innate for humans to make a mistake but the transition from adolescence to adulthood is how we can learn to resolve the mistakes made. Although Amir shows acts of cowardice and disloyalty in his childhood, it is his ability to learn forgiveness and his motivation to save Sohrab at the end of the text, proving that despite Baba’s ideal image, Amir does become a man who obtains purpose and redemption. Amir becomes the “kite runner”.
... character, Raskolnikov is stricken with guilt and suffering that eventually leads to his confession and redemption. In today’s modern America ... , and Raskolnikov’s 18th century Russia, guilt plays a pivotal role ... will suffer for his mistake. That will be punishment-as well as the prison. ” (Dostoyevsky 336). Guilt is commonly understood ...