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"I opened my mouth, almost said something. Almost. The rest of my life might have turned out differently if I had. But I didn't I just watched Paralyzed."(Khalid Hosseini 73).This is what was going through Amir's mind, a wealthy young pushtun boy who belonged to an affluent family. In the novel, The Kite Runner by the author Khalid Hosseini, portrays the master-servant relation that exists between Amir and Hassan. It is true that without Betrayal there is no guilt and without guilt there could be no redemption. Amir's betrayal with Hassan leads him to the guilt of his life and with the passage of time, guilt directs him toward redemption. Betrayal, guilt and redemption, three distinct yet interconnected behaviors can bring the worst out of a person and destroy his life. The same however can make a person good again.
Betrayal is referred to as a violation of a social trust, which can have extreme moral as well as psychological effects on an individual. The story of Amir in The Kite Runner begins with betrayal. Betrayal in this is not a social or a political one but rather a personal one where Amir betrays his close friend on multiple occasions. The betrayal is a result of self-preservation and cowardice that causes loss of his dearest friend Hassan. "I had a chance to make a decision. One Final opportunity to decide who I was going to be I could step into that Alley, stand up for Hassan, the way he'd stood up for me all these times in the past and accept whatever would happen to me or I could run. In the end I ran "(Khalid Hosseini 82).This quotation provides the explanation of what exactly happened that night. Hassan was carrying the blue kite and was on his way back to home when he had a clash with Asseff and his friends who demanded the kite. Since Hassan was extremely loyal and devoted, he firmly refused to hand over the kite which resulted in his rape and costed him his pride. Amir, although was physically present but betrayed Hassan by not stepping in to save him. Instead he waited for some time and ultimately ran way. This was due to the fact that Amir was self-preserved and was in fact a narcassist,he wasn't loyal, not even to his child-hood friend and protector Hassan, who protected Amir on multiple occasions. After the incident Amir felt disgusted and wanted immediate removal of Hassan from his home therefore he came up with a conspiracy against Hassan. Amir placed a watch along with some local currency which did a great job at framing Hassan for theft. He felt that "Baba" (dad) loved Hassan and he decided to drive Hassan off.
The Betrayal is followed by guilt at least in the case of morally sound humans. As they analyze their actions and re-think about them, they consider their betrayals as unjust. The guilt may also be induced after the person himself suffers through tough times. Much like Amir, who after the death of his father came to know about Hasan and Sohrab.This allowed him to redeem himself and end the guilt. "Kabul had become a city of ghosts for me.A city of hair-lipped ghosts. 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" (Khalid Hosseini 136). Amir felt guilty and was haunted by his own past. He felt that his betrayals against Hassan were unjust, he realized his mistake. He is guilt ridden. He described Kabul as a city of hair lipped ghosts while America seems to him a place where he can bury his past and start his life all over again. It is evident that past is something that Amir is unable to forget and it affects his each and every decision. If he had rescued Hassan, his and perhaps more importantly Hassan's life would have been different. Moreover he is guilty of destroying Baba's friendship with Ali, because he falsely accused Hassan of theft and forced him out of the house, this resulted in the destruction of Baba's and Ali's relationship. Other than these Amir felt guilty of causing his mother's death and thought that it was due to the fact that Baba loved Hasan more than his own son. Although throughout the story Amir's actions make him a self-preserved and selfish human being but as the novel progresses this is proven incorrect, being disturbed with his past he felt ashamed for his actions and wanted to redeem himself.
This redemption provides atonement for guilt. It heals and provides peace to the soul of guilt-ridden beings. It follows the desire to alleviate the guilt. Amir travels to save his nephew Sohrab.This urge shows that Amir is a good person at heart and life had made him into what he is. Still he wants to correct the mistake he made in his childhood. This redemption builds his character and provides a satisfying if not a happy ending to the Novel. Amir wants to redeem himself but he had no idea how he would do that until he receives a phone call from his Uncle Rahim khan who says "There is a way to be good again" "I think we both know why it has to be you, don't we?"(Khalid Hosseini 204). Amir is guilt-ridden and is ashamed of what he did to Hassan. He wants to redeem himself for his actions, since it is the only way that will alleviate his guilt. After he receives his uncle call he immediately departs for Pakistan, where Rahim Khan, reveals that he had complete knowledge of betrayal that Amir had enforced on Hassan some 26 years ago. He also discloses that Hassan was Amir's half brother and that he was killed in Afghanistan by Taliban due to discrimination. Hassan had a son a named Sohrab which was in an orphanage in Afghanistan but his exact location was unknown.Sohrab appears to Amir as a source of redemption. Although it was next to impossible to find someone with just a help of a photograph, yet Amir traces Sohrab through the orphanage. However Sohrab was in Asseff's custody and was being sexually assaulted just like his father. Amir first tries to negotiate with Asseff but when situation gets worse and it becomes clear that Asseff would not let go of Hassan easily, Amir doesn't hesitate to engage in a hand to hand combat with Asseff and even takes the beating that was meant for him in the child-hood. Although during the encounter Amir was badly hurt and was continuously hurt by Aseff yet he was unable to feel the pain due to the fact that he was spiritually healed, a huge burden was lifted from his shoulder. After Amir rescues Sohrab from Afghanistan and pushes hard to make sure that Sohrab is able to move to United Stated with him, despite of the countless barriers he managed to take Sohrab along with him. He tried to make him comfortable by any means possible. In the end he even flew a kite to connect with Sohrab and said for "you a thousand times over again "At the end Amir is freed from the guilt that had haunted him for his entire life. This clarified that Amir although had committed severe mistakes in the past but he finally redeemed himself by settings things right.
Betrayal, guilt and redemption are three entirely different phenomenons which are surprisingly interconnected.Betryal causes guilt while guilt acts as a way point for Redemption. These three behaviors can bring the worst out of a person and ruin his life. While the same can encourage someone to be good again. It helps one understand that Amir although had committed a severe mistake by betraying his child-hood friend and half-brother Hassan, as a result he was haunted with guilt for his entire life and finally he redeemed himself by settings the things right, in his case saving Sohrab.
Word count: 1360 words.