a Way to Be Good Again
“The Kite Runner” is one of the most successful
and popular works written by Khaled Hosseini. In spite of
the fact that author depicts a very specific story, which
basically takes place in Afghanistan, he still manages to
raise problems and themes, which may be perceived as universal.
In this respect, it is important to underline that, throughout
his novel, Khaled Hosseini appeals to basic human values which
seem to be forgotten in the modern world. In fact, it seems
as if the modern world has transformed into a kingdom of evil
where there is no room for good, but, the author has shown
that redemption can return the good to people and change their
life for better. In such a context, the evolution of the main
character, Amir and his entire life story proves that he can
be a really good person due to redemption.
At first glance, the entire book is quite a sad story of a
war-stricken country and people who have either flee from
their native country as Amir and his family do, or remain
in the country and suffer from oppression of the new regime,
as Hassan does. In such a way, two bosom friends are separated
forever, but, in actuality, they were separated before the
departure of the Amir’s family. At the beginning of
the book, the friendship of Amir and Hassan seemed to be indestructible.
In fact, it was more than a friendship since “there
was a brotherhood between people who had fed from the same
breasts, a kinship that not even time could break. Hassan
and I [Amir] had fed from the same breasts” (Hosseini,
21). In such a way, Amir perceived his relationship with Hassan
as a kind of brotherhood, especially when Hassan saved Amir
from been beaten by Assef, a villain of the novel.
However, a tragic event changes the life of Amir and Hassan
dramatically and Amir cannot carry on their friendly relationship
to the extent that it is Amir who actually makes Hassan and
his family to leave the house of Baba, Amir’s father,
where the father of Hassan worked as a servant. The tragedy
has struck when Amir won the competition in kite running.
Hassan was supposed to bring the kite, the trophy, to Amir
but he ran into Assef and his friends, who abuse and rape
him (Hoseini, 59). At this point, it is important to underline
that Amir witnessed the rape and Hassan knew about, but Amir
had done nothing to help Hassan, even though he perfectly
remembered that Hassan saved Amir in the similar situation.
This event became the major cause of the break which put the
end to the friendship of Amir and Hassan. Amir could not afford
feeling his guilt every time he saw Hassan. This is why he
frames Hassan as a thief and forces him to leave their house.
In such a way, Amir attempts to get rid of the person who
reminds him about his guilt. This means that Amir suffers
from remorse and through distancing from Hassam he attempts
to solve his psychological problems (Eakin, 132).
Nevertheless, even when Amir and his family moved to the US,
he cannot forget about the tragedy he witness and, what is
more, he can neither forget nor forgive his own cowardice
since he could save his friend, or at least, he could make
an attempt, but he failed. Many years after this tragedy,
Amir still is willing to change the past. This is why, when
Rahim Khan asks Amir to come to Pakistan and tells him “there
is a way to be good again” (Hosseini, 164), Amir readily
goes to Pakistan. In fact, he gets a chance for the redemption.
Amir, being a child, has failed to save Hassan, but, being
an adult, he can save the life of Hassan’s child, his
In such a way, the author creates a kind of parallel stories
when the main character comes over similar situations twice
and he has a choice how to act. In fact, the story of Sohrab
mirrors the story of his father. Amir learns that Assef assaults
the boy, who confesses, “I’m so dirty and full
of sin. The bad man and the other two did things to me.”
(Hossini, 208). In such a way, the story is repeating but
this time Amir is ready to act and he saves the life of the
boy. He is not a coward any more. In contrast, he is a hero,
who is worth rescuing by Hassan, who is actually Amir’s
half-brother. As Amir rescues the boy, he “pays back”
his debt to Hassan and he proves that he is a good person.
Obviously, Sohrab’s tragedy gives Amir another chance
to become a good person, which he used to be before the tragedy
that occurred to Hassan in his childhood. It is important
to underline that Amir faces a consistently larger threat
to his life as he rescues Sohrab than he would have faced
if he had attempted to help Hassan in his childhood. In such
a way, the author shows that a person can change himself and
the redemption can make a person good again. At the same time,
it is impossible to judge about a person on the basis of only
one fact from his past, but it is necessary to view him as
a person, who is able to heroic deeds as well as he may be
frightened. Amir shows that a person is changing and one evil
act, or, to put it more precisely, the lack of any actions
to help a friend, does not make a person evil (Friske, 328).
In contrast, a person still can make a lot of good deeds and
help many people. In other words, he can be good again but
what he needs is just a chance to get redemption.
Thus, Khaled Hosseini depicts the character who passes a long
way from the contempt through redemption to goodness.
Eakin, Paul John. How Our Lives Become Stories: Making Selves.
London: Cornell UP, 1999.
Fiske, John. “Popular Culture.” In Critical Terms
for Literary Study. Ed. Frank Lentricchia and Thomas McLaughlin.
2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.
Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. New York: Random House,