“No man can walk so long in the Shadow that he cannot come again to the Light,” wrote Robert Jordan in his novel The Great Hunt (671). In his first book, The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini shows how one great ‘sin’ can poison a person’s life for many years until one reaches redemption. The story describes the life of Amir – a son of a rich Pushtu businessman – who once betrayed his friend Hassan by not helping the latter when he was beaten and raped. Amir’s guilt for many years only resolves when he decides to return to Afghanistan from the U.S., where he immigrated after the Soviet Union invasion to rescue Sohrab – Hassan’s son. In this regard, the current essay will discuss the five steps that Amir had to take to earn redemption.
Amir’s Steps to Redemption
The first step that Amir takes in the path toward redemption is a feeling of guilt for his betrayal of Hassan. In this regard, the author suggests that without regret, there is no need for redemption, which is clearly demonstrated by Assef’s character, who did not feel any repentance for his past actions. Indeed, at first, Amir tries to justify his cowardice and reasons, “He [Hassan] was just a Hazara, wasn’t he?” when he lets Assef rape his friend (77). Yet, soon the main hero’s conscience prevails, and that is how his road to redemption begins.
The second step to redemption is the decision to encounter one’s past face-to-face. It was an important step that necessitated Amir many years to take. Initially, he wants to eliminate his guilt by avoiding Hassan, but soon the main hero understands that this tactic does not work. Thus, when Rahim Khan invites Amir to visit him in Pakistan and says, “There is a way to be good again, ” the latter decides to finally try to resolve one’s inner conflict (2). Therefore, the main hero travels to Pakistan to meet his fears, although that means abandoning a good life in the U.S. and risking one’s life.
The third step of Amir’s redemption includes his choice to seize the opportunity of turning bad into good by adopting Hassan’s son – Sohrab. When the main character discovers that Hassan and his wife were killed by the Taliban and left a child, Amir thinks that there is “a way to end the cycle. With a little boy” (227). Thus, he rescues Sohrab from the Taliban and later adopts the boy.
Open confession is the fourth step of the main character’s redemption. “Then I did what I hadn’t done in fifteen years of marriage: I told my wife everything,” narrates Amir in chapter 24 (325). Almost immediately, he feels great relief as the secret he has kept for most of his life is revealed. However, although at this stage, Amir seemingly made peace with one’s conscience, there is still one more important aspect left.
The last step of Amir’s reconciliation with one’s conscience included helping Sohrab to enjoy his life again. The small boy is highly traumatized as he had to see his parents being ruthlessly murdered by the Taliban and was a subject of sexual assault and slavery. “I want my old life back,” he says to Amir (354). However, Amir understands that it is not possible and instead tries to make Sohrab happy again but in America. As a result, the scene with the kite running suggests that eventually, Amir will succeed in that and finish the cycle of his redemption.
In summary, the current paper analyses the five steps that Amir needed to take to earn redemption for his betrayal of Hassan. They included feeling guilt, facing the past, seizing the opportunity to turn bad into good, open confession, and helping Sohrab overcome his trauma. As a result, the book invites the readers to analyze our own lives and resolve any big ‘sins’ that we had following similar steps.
Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. Riverhead Books, 2003.
Jordan, Robert. The Great Hunt: Book Two of ‘The Wheel of Time (Wheel of Time, 2). Tor Fantasy, 2019.