The Kite Runner teaches friendship, atonement Review Royal Hamel “Hassan! ” I called. “Come back with it! ” He was already turning the street corner, his rubber boots kicking up snow. He stopped, turned. He cupped his hands around his mouth. “For you, a thousand times over! ” he said. So opens the pivotal event in The Kite Runner, a novel by Khaled Hosseini.
The movie version, which is now in theatres, was nominated for a Golden Globe as best foreign-language film of 2007.Amir and Hassan, inseparable, fiercely loyal friends, have just won the annual kite-flying tournament in Kabul, Afghanistan in the winter of 1975 by cutting down all other kites in the air. Amir has just dispatched Hassan to retrieve as a trophy the last kite cut down. Hassan’s devotion will shortly be tested to its very limits. He is the best kite runner in the city. He finds the kite, but can he keep it for his friend? This remarkable story is played out against the backdrop of events occurring in Afghanistan from shortly before the Russian invasion of 1979 up to and including the Taliban takeover.
It is a poignant, bittersweet movie that, in the context of Islamic life, portrays undying friendship, love between father and son and above all, the themes of atonement and redemption. The foundation of the story is the friendship between Amir jan (the “jan” is always added when expressing affection) and his servant, Hassan. Amir is a rich boy of privilege and prestige, while Hassan is poor and a descendant of the Hazerah people who are despised by the ruling classes in Afghanistan. Yet the boys, both motherless and raised in the same household, share a deep bond of friendship.Three older toughs trail Hassan and demand the blue trophy kite. But Hassan refuses to surrender his friend’s prize, for he loves Amir. Assef, their sociopathic leader, agrees to let Hassan keep the kite, but he will exact a steep price.
Brandishing brass knuckles, Assef then attacks and rapes Hassan, as the boy is restrained by Assef’s accomplices. Meanwhile, Amir has come looking for Hassan. From behind a wall, he witnesses the grave unfolding events.
He has arrived in time; Assef has not yet thrown Hassan to the ground.Amir can intervene. But he makes no cry to save his friend.
The reasons are complex and deep, but not as deep as his traitorous silence. The Kite Runner has two recurring themes. First, there is the deep devotion that Hassan over and over again expresses to his friend Amir, captured in his memorable words as he runs off to bring home the trophy kite. In the face of such ardent devotion, Amir’s betrayal is of the worst kind and, even in his new life in America, he suffers remorse and inescapable guilt over the next two decades.The second theme in the story surfaces in an old friend’s cryptic challenge, “There is a way to be good again. ” And the author, in magnificent storytelling fashion, weaves a tale of adventurous hope in which Amir seeks forgiveness, redemption and freedom from guilt by doing a good deed that he hopes will erase his evil past. Psychology has taught us to disregard categories like sin and guilt. Given this framework of thinking, it is surprising that this story of betrayal, consequent guilt and the quest “to be good again” should resonate with so many.
Nevertheless the book is flying off the shelves. Perhaps the intellectual “faith” offered by psychology is not able to meet the real needs of people when they experience their dark moments of life. Indeed, any intellectual “faith” that rejects moral categories will always fail in the nitty-gritty of real life. It fails us utterly when we sting ourselves and others by stealing, lying, lusting, betraying and on and on and on. And so the question of how to find “goodness” again is perennial among us.We do wrong, we commit evil, we find ourselves consumed with guilt and remorse – we ask over and over, “How can I be good again? ” The Kite Runner portrays one way of attempting atonement, a way as old as the hills – that of doing good deeds that will cover our past wrongs. But there is a totally different way to understand atonement. Yet another ancient way reveals that we receive forgiveness and “goodness” from another as a gift.
Ironically this second way might be portrayed in Hassan’s magnificent words of devotion to his friend.What if Amir had been able to hear in his native language these words from the One once nailed to a cross: “Amir jan, for you … covering your betrayals, blotting out your lies, washing away your shame … for you, Amir jan a thousand times over … there IS a way to be good again. ” This article originally appeared in the Jan. 21 Guelph Mercury, for which Royal Hamel is a member of the community editorial board. Atonement would be a great theme to discuss in the essay topic above. The Kite Runner suggests that individuals can atone for the the bad things they have done in their past.
Hosseini suggests that atonement is possible if the person who seeks redemption first admits their guilt. Hosseini explores the ideas of guilt and atonement through Amir and to a lesser extent through Baba. Rahim Khan explains the positive value of the guilt that has haunted Amir for years by showing him that it can lead to true redemption. In the novel by exploring the ideas of guilt and atonement through Amir, Hosseini is able to show the debilitating effects on his life. Amir is so haunted by his past that he fears that he and Soraya can’t have a child because he is being punished for his childhood sins.Even though Amir believes this he finds it hard to confess his sins to Rahim Khan and his secret can be compared to Soraya’s openness.
Soraya has been able to move on because she has accepted her past and confessed her secrets. When discussing atonement show how Hosseini develops this idea through the development of Amir’s character. We see Amir grow in maturity, partly due to his separation from Baba as he now can accept the opportunity to atone. Rahim Khan as Amir’s mentor and friend helps to support the ideas about redemption and why it is still possible.Through Rahim Khan we see that Amir must complete his journey to achieve redemption. When Amir confronts Assef he also confronts his past cowardice and at last feels healed. By rescuing Sohrab he is not only reliving a past wrong doing he is also correcting it. The novelist Khaled Hosseini uses many stylistic devices such as foreshadowing, fragmented narrative and interior monologue to highlight the theme of atonement.
In The Kite Runner, the novelist Khaled Hosseini implores that one can only atone their sins once they have admitted to their guilt and chose to seek redemption.In chapter 12 the theme of guilt reappears as Soraya, Amir’s wife, admits her past of running away to Virginia with another Afghan man. Even though Amir is stung by the thought of Soraya losing her virginity to another man, Amir still “envies her” because he is a coward and cannot pluck up the courage to confess his sins. However, it is only till chapter 24 where he reveals his past to Soraya. Amir finally admits his guilt and is on the path of redemption. He knows he must take on a new found maturity to look after Sohrab and rescue him from the taliban-Assef.The is evident in chapter 22,which takes the form of an adventure novel, as Amir sacrifices his well-being for Sohrab.
In the ultimate lines of the novel Amir has redeemed himself to some extent as he repeats the lines of Hassan, “For you a thousand times over”. This is one of the most pivotal moments of the novel and Amir’s journey as he has now relieved his sins. Amir has now become the kite runner, hence the title of the novel. We know that Amir has developed and grown as a character from childhood into manhood as he helps ease his nephew’s transition from Afghanistan to America after facing turmoil.
The Kite Runner: Is Redemption Truly Free? What is the worst thing you have done to a friend or family member? Lied to them? Stolen from them? After the dreadful deed, did they forgive you? And, more importantly, did you forgive yourself? While I am sometimes nostalgic for lost friendships, I know that for various reasons, history, distance, and self-preservation, there are some friendships better left in the past. But with exceptional friendships, when two souls collide and recognize and accept the humanity in each other, I believe we should all make the effort to sustain that growth.In the new movie, The Kite Runner, director Marc Forster poignantly portrays the main character’s release from guilt as he negotiates memories of his betrayal of his childhood friend.
The scenes of innocent, yet precarious, friendship between two boys, Amir and Hassan (the son of Amir’s father’s servant), focus on what it means to be a true friend while mirroring the gritty conflict of Afghanistan’s volatile political and cultural history. The opening credits of Arabic-inspired calligraphy seem to represent the connection of all the characters in the story.This is a story of two boys in 1975, but also one that stretches the limits of culture and time to represent the most important of redemption stories. Spoiler Alert The movie begins with a phone call to the now-adult main character, Amir, played by British/Egyptian actor Khalid Abdalla, who has been hiding a shameful secret for over 25 years. The voice over the phone lines urges him that “There is a way to be good again. ” This leads me to question what it takes to be good again. When we sin, do we essentially become bad? Christians are taught that redemption is solely brought about through Christ’s sacrifice?Can it possibly be this simple? Is it possible that a symbolic act on Christ’s part can, in fact, save all of us from all our sins? If this is the case, why are we often unable to forgive ourselves? Why do we feel compelled to perform penance when we are told that our debt has been paid? Is there some action—work, not faith—required of us beyond believing in Christ’s gift of salvation? Do we, as human beings, have a debt to pay to fellow human beings (and animals) when we have wronged them? Can salvation truly be free, or, in order to believe that we deserve it, do we need to make retribution before being able to open ourselves to salvation?Is the act of salvation tied to the act of self-forgiveness? For Amir, achieving redemption requires more than faith in a Savior. In The Kite Runner, despite the two main characters being from different cultural backgrounds (Pashtun and Hazara) that traditionally clash, the boys are raised together from birth, their fathers’ close relationship setting the stage for the boys’ relationship.
Hassan (played by newcomer Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada) serves Amir (played by newcomer Zekeria Ebrahimi) cheerfully.He is the all-sacrificing Christ-figure, the one who, even in death, calls Amir to redemption. His character is an uncanny mix of innocence and strength.
As a child, he is not petulant or resentful. As an adult, he reaches out to Amir even when one would expect the opposite. Amir’s personal conflict stems from his perceived inability to please his father, Baba (played by Homayoun Ershadi). Amir tries to win approval by writing stories that his father never reads. To his father’s disappointment, Amir is a coward; he relies on Hassan to defend them from their bully, Assef.Amir’s only adult supporter is his father’s friend Rahim Khan, played by Shaun Toub, to whom Baba despairs that Amir will ever amount to much by saying, “A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who won’t stand up for anything. ” Rahim Khan, however, sides with Amir and encourages him in his writing. He willingly plays the role of a mother figure in the young man’s life, encouraging, comforting, and balancing Baba’s harshness.
He also acts as Amir’s conscience throughout the movie, urging him to confess, to make things right.As a child, Amir finds that the only way to gain his father’s limited approval is to win the traditional kite-flying contest. Hassan always knows exactly where a kite will drop once its string has been cut. He becomes Amir’s kite runner (hence the book and movie title), chasing down fallen kites as Amir works his way to winning the competition. As Amir cuts down the last opponent’s kite, Hassan, eyes shining, shouts a farewell, “For you, a thousand times over,” and triumphantly runs to collect the trophy that Hassan will carry home to gain his father’s approval.This is the last time we see Hassan smile. Amir then commits the shocking act that requires redemption. He encounters his best friend being bullied, and ultimately raped by Assef, but does nothing to stop or even acknowledge this act.
He simply hides, watching his friend’s assault, and then acts ignorant when Hassan limps to him with the kite. This act of cowardice so haunts Amir that just when we think that it cannot get worse and that Amir will confess or at least make up with Hassan, he further betrays his friend by forcing Hassan and his father out of their home.As Hassan and his father leave, Baba’s confusion and pain at the loss of the servant he grew up with do not prompt a last-minute confession from Amir. It seems as if he will truly have to live with his guilt as all chances of redemption pass by. Amir and his father flee to the United States when the Russians invade Afghanistan. Amir graduates from community college and establishes a relationship with his father only when Baba is no longer a successful businessman and philanthropist. There is another opportunity for Amir to come clean when he asks a woman to marry him and she tells him of her less-than-exemplary reputation.
This is the perfect time for Amir to also confess, but he simply clams up. The moment passes. As Baba grows weak and dies, Amir still does not confess. And then he receives the phone call from Rahim Khan.
The way for Amir “to be good again” is to return to Afghanistan. He learns that the Taliban have Hassan and his wife and Amir can redeem himself by rescuing Hassan’s son, Sohrab, from the Taliban leader Assef—the same man who bullied Hassan. Even Amir’s rescue seems to go wrong as Assef realizes who Amir is and refuses to allow Sohrab to leave.It is Sohrab who takes on the role of his father when he uses his father’s slingshot to shoot Assef in the eye, an act of vindication, although he does not know its significance. Upon returning to the United States with Sohrab, Amir is unsure how to relate to this traumatized boy with silent eyes. While walking through the park several months later, he buys a kite and, while flying the kite for Sohrab, shouts, “For you, a thousand times over,” echoing Hassan’s greeting to Amir 25 years earlier. As Amir flies the kite, we are left with a view of Sohrab’s hesitant smile.Things are going to be right.
Amir is good again. And with this release of guilt, Amir’s conscience is light enough to soar with the kites. As a side note, the behind-the-scenes drama of The Kite Runner movie garnered attention with a story of its own.
Amid possible reprisals and reaction in response to the rape scene, the movie’s release date was postponed so Paramount could secure the safety of the child stars. They were moved from Kabul to the United Arab Emirates, where the movie studio will continue to support them until they wish to return to their home country.Betrayal & Redemption Betrayal, which can be considered a form of sin, is enduring and ends up being cyclical in The Kite Runner. For most of the novel, Amir attempts to deal with his guilt by avoiding it.
But doing this clearly does nothing toward redeeming himself, and thus his guilt endures. That is why he still cringes every time Hassan’s name is mentioned. When Amir finds out about Baba’s betrayal of Ali (and subsequent betrayal of Hassan), he realizes that everything he thought he knew and understood about his father was false.And Amir himself feels betrayed. But Baba has been dead for fifteen years, and there is nothing he can do about the situation. Neither feelings of betrayal nor punishment are enough to redeem Amir.
Rescuing Sohrab from Assef is not enough either. Only when Amir decides to take Sohrab to the United States and provide his nephew a chance at happiness and prosperity that was denied to his half-brother does Amir take the necessary steps toward atonement and redemption. Forgiveness Ideas about forgiveness permeate The Kite Runner.Hassan’s actions demonstrate that he forgives Amir’s betrayal, although Amir needs to spend practically the entire novel to learn about the nature of forgiveness. Baba’s treatment of Hassan is his attempt at gaining public forgiveness for what he has not even publicly admitted to have done.
Yet the person who speaks most poignantly about the nature of forgiveness is Rahim Khan. In his letter, he asks Amir to forgive him for keeping Baba’s secret but also writes explicitly “God will forgive. Rahim Khan is confident that God will forgive all transgressions, and he encourages Amir to do so, too. Rahim Khan understands that it is God who readily forgives those who ask for forgiveness, but it is people who have a hard time forgiving. Thus, 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 that one has made.
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