Kite Runner Sample Essays
Choose a novel in which has one of the following as its theme; sacrifice, unrequired love; isolation. Discuss the techniques by which the novelist establishes one of these themes and go on to show how, in the end, he or she achieves a satisfactory resolution.
The Kiterunner by Hosseini Khald is a novel in which has a theme of sacrifice; Hassan sacralises himself for Amir. This essay will discuss techniques by which the novelist establishes the theme of sacrifice and will go on to show how in the end Amir achieves a satisfactory resolution by rescuing Hassan’s son from an orphanage in Kabul.
A scene within the book shows the theme of sacrifice is just after the win of the Kite Tournament for Hassan and Amir, Hassan goes to find the kite which was run off and Amir goes off to find him once he has been away for a long time. Amir finds him cornered by Assef whom is demanding the kite however, Hassan refuses. “It’s only going to cost you that blue kite” Assef states, however, Hassan still refuses to give up the kite. Amir stays hidden as he is scared to interfere. This results in the rape of Hassan by Assef due to Hassan refusing to give up the kite, showing his love for Amir as Amir values the kite due to the winning of the Kite Tournament with it. This scene shows a theme of sacrifice as Hassan has sacrificed himself for the Kite to keep Amir happy.
After the rape, Amir frames Hassan for the stealing of his birthday money and his brand new watch that Baba bought for Amir. The reason Amir does this is because he can barely stand to be around Hassan due to his guilt overcoming him for not stepping in and interfering with the rape. “Baba ‘did you steal that money? Did you steal Amir’s watch Hassan?” and “Hassan’s reply was a single word, delivered with a thin raspy voice ‘Yes’. Amir was token back with Hassan’s reply as Amir knew he was the one who planted the watch in Hassan’s possession. Amir realized that this was Hassan’s last sacrifice for him, as if Hassan had said no, Baba would have believed him and put the blame on Hassan. This shows that Hassan has sacrificed himself for Amir again and Amir has only thrown it back in face.
When Amir goes to Afghanistan to save Sorhab from the orphanage, Amir find’s out that Assef is actually the one who is keeping Sorhab hostage. When Amir attempts to take Sorhab away from Assef, it results in a fight between them both. Here an incidence of sacrifice is shown as Assef has Amir on the ground beating into him, when Sorhab sacrifices himself by aiming Hassan’s sling shot at Assef’s face causing Assef to stop beating Amir, giving a flashback of when Assef and his bullies confronted Amir and Hassan as children. “The slingshot made a twiiiiiit sound when Sorhab realised the cup, then Assef was screaming”. This shows us that Sorhab has put his life in danger by piping up when Assef was beating Amir to save Amir’s life by using the sling shot. This conveys the theme of sacrifice as Sorhab has sacrificed himself to save Amir from Assef.
The next incidence is when Amir is confronted by Assef at the Taliban headquarters, at this point we see Amir redeem himself by finally standing up to Assef and putting him in his place by taking Sorhab home, in a way this is Amir finally standing up for Hassan as he is now saving his son for when Amir refused to save Hassan during the rape. Amir sacrafises himself by putting himself in a position where he could get killed to save Sorhab. However, this quote states that he has finally redeemed himself “My body was broken – just how badly I wouldn’t find out until later – but I felt healed. Healed at last. I laughed”, this shows us that after Assef beat Amir, he has sacrificed himself and by doing so he saved Sorhab and finally stood up for Hassan.
In conclusion Hassan sacrificed himself for Amir many times; he refused to give up the kite to Assef as he knew Amir would have been devastated which in turn lead to the rape of Hassan, which is sacrificing himself for Amir. Hassan sacrifices himself again when Amir frames him for stealing his new watch, in which Hassan agrees to have stolen. Amir also sacrificed himself to save Sorhab from the Taliban and to take him back to America. This shows that throughout this tale, Amir and Hassan have both sacrificed themselves at one point to benefit each other in return.
Since he was twelve, Amir has been struggling with his sin against Hassan; the fact that he did not come to the rescue of his friend. Deep down Amir always feels like he should have done something and feels horrible because he had chosen not to. Due to his nagging guilt, Amir is not able to live a peaceful life. Amir has an overwhelming need to be punished, to be redeemed from his sin, so that he does not have to live with his remorse. Amir’s feeling of guilt and his vital need for redemption are always a part of his life as he is growing up.
Amir resents his choice to be a coward when Hassan is raped. His guilt is immediate and it gnaws at him. A few days after Hassan was assaulted, Amir already feels guilt and resentment inside him. “’I [Amir] watched Hassan get raped,’ I said to no one…A part of me was hoping someone would wake up and hear, so I wouldn’t have to live with this lie anymore…I understood the nature of my new curse: I was going to get away with it.” (Hosseini 86). While Amir is lying in the dark, with nothing but his own thoughts, he feels that his guilt is taking over his life. He realizes that he is going to get away with his betrayal and yet he feels terrible. He decides that the only way he is going to live with his remorse is to ignore Hassan, blot him out, so he does not have to think about his sin. Amir’s guilt is so great that he cannot bear to have Hassan under the same roof, so he commits another sin. He lies to his father and accuses Hassan of stealing. “…I took a couple of the envelopes of cash from the pile of gifts and my watch, and tiptoed out…I lifted Hassan’s mattress and planted my new watch and a handful of Afghani bills under it…I knocked on Baba’s door and told what I hoped would be the last in a long line of shameful lies.” (104). Amir needs to get Hassan out of his sight. The only way of doing so is to make it look like Hassan has committed a sin and stolen Amir’s property. Ali and Hassan cannot live in Baba’s house anymore with the thought that Hassan had been accused of stealing something from his master, so they decide to leave. Finally, Amir believes he can start his life over and not worry about the sin he committed against Hassan. However, Amir’s burden does not get lighter. Later on in his life he has a dream about Hassan’s death. “His [Hassan’s] hands are tied behind him with roughly woven rope…He is kneeling on the street…He lifts his face. I [Amir] see a faint scar above his upper lip…I see the barrel first. Then the man standing behind him. He is tall, dressed in a herringbone vest and a black turban…The rifle roars with a deafening crack. I follow the barrel on its upward arc…I am the man in the herringbone vest.” (240). Amir doesn’t get over his guilt simply because Hassan is out of his house. His sin still haunts him in his adult years. In fact, his guilt becomes so great that he feels he was actually responsible for Hassan’s death.
After reading the novel and studying Amir’s guilt due to his betrayal of Hassan, the reader sees that guilt can worsen over time and can have a major impact in the decisions one makes. Guilt is a prevailing emotion that has the power to destroy one’s life if one does not confess his sins and ask for forgiveness. One’s life is defined by the emotions they portray. If one’s emotions are guilt and remorse, the decisions one makes in his/her life will be greatly impacted.
Amir realizes that because he was able to get away with his sin, he needs to find some way of being punished for it. Only then will he feel redeemed. He wants so desperately to be rid of his burden. He even tries to get Hassan to throw pomegranates at him to give him the punishment he feels he deserves. “’Hit me back!’ I spat…I wished he would. I wished he’d give me the punishment I craved, so maybe I’d finally sleep at night. Maybe then things could return to how they used to be between us.” (92). Amir is so consumed by his guilt that he is not able to sleep at night. He so desperately needs to be punished for his sin, so that he and Hassan can be friends again. Since Hassan will not give him this punishment, Amir decides that he needs to forget about his sin since there seems to be nothing more he can do about it. A while later, he and Baba move to America because of the war in Afghanistan. It is a way that they can start their lives over. “For me, America was a place to bury my memories.” (129). Amir is still trying to forget about Hassan and his life in Afghanistan. He attempts to rid himself of his burden of guilt that he still carries. It is not until several years later that Amir finds a way to redeem himself of his sin. “There is a way to be good again, he’d said. A way to end the cycle. With a little boy. An orphan. Hassan’s son. Somewhere in Kabul…Hassan had loved me once, loved me in a way that no one ever had or ever would again. He was gone now, but a little part of him lived on…Waiting.” (226-227). Amir knows that he needs to rescue Hassan’s son, Sohrab, to atone for his sin. He knows that he needs to risk his life for Hassan’s son and be the person that Hassan had always been to Amir. Amir is finally able to make a good decision; a decision that would change his character and his life.
By exploring Amir’s need for atonement, one learns that finding redemption and being forgiven can allow one to finally have freedom from one’s sins and feel better about oneself. We realize that personal sacrifice, no matter at what cost, has a lasting reward. Sharing burdens and helping others gives one a feeling of worth. That feeling of redemption allows one to forget about the past and look towards a brighter future.
Amir’s sense of guilt and critical need for redemption were a constant part of his life when he was younger, and clung to him throughout adulthood. He knew soon after he betrayed Hassan that it would change their relationship forever. He willingly gives up a friendship to release himself, so he thought, from guilt. However, living with this gnawing sin of betrayal for so many years, Amir finally finds a way to redeem himself even though the one he betrayed is no longer living. The matter of Amir’s guilt and the redemption he finds later on is an interesting and very important topic to explore. The reader learns about the power of guilt, and how it can take over one’s life if one does not seek atonement. The reader also learns of redemption, and how free one feels after finally finding deliverance from a sin committed so many years ago. One appreciates what Amir did to find redemption, but also realizes that simply having the courage to stand up for Hassan earlier would have changed everything. Despite his lack of action in the beginning, Amir makes a decision that changes his life, as well as the life of Sohrab, and he finally feels he is the son his father always wanted him to be.
Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. New York: The Berkeley Group, 2005.