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Written by Khaled Hosseini and narrated by Amir, the story’s protagonist, The Kite Runner expatiates how a single event changed Amir’s life completely. Amir narrates of his childhood back in Afghanistan as he grew up in one of the wealthiest families in Kabul back then. Violence in the volatile Afghanistan dominates the text of this book as people try to replace monarchy with republicanism.
The book cuts across many social aspects tackling different themes ranging from inhumanity, through nationalism to family relations among others. This paper elaborates the theme of sin and redemption as applied in The Kite Runner.
Theme of Sin and Redemption
Redemption comes only after sin and this idea of redemption stands out in The Kite Runner because sin is so bearing. The story starts by highlighting the enduring nature of sin in this society.
Amir says, “It’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out” (Hosseini 1). What creeps back from the past? It is sin in this context. Amir betrays Hassan twice despite the fact that they are friends. The first incidence occurs when he finds Assef raping Hassan in the alley.
Even though Hassan had stood for Amir in the past, Amir does not help him from his predicament or report the issue to Ali for he would help Hassan! Amir is sinning by betraying his close friend. During his thirteen birthday celebrations, Amir betrays Hassan once again by plotting to bring him out as a thief. Again, sin abounds.
As the story unfold, it becomes clear that everyone is almost guilty of sin and he or she needs redemption. Assef is a sinner for he rapes Hassan. Amir learns later in the story how Baba, his father sinned. After Rahim Khan discloses Baba’s secret to Amir, he realizes that everyone is sinful and the reason why Baba was tough on is that he was guilty of his sin.
This makes Amir realize that their life has been one big lie; sin prevailed from yesteryears, and his betrayal to Hassan is just but a drop in a sea of sins. On the other side, to justify their cold blood killing of the adulteress, the Taliban are busy skewing Muhammad’s words to vindicate their actions.
They are sinful and they know that they need redemption and this is why they change Muhammad’s words; something that Amir compares to his sin. Unfortunately, Amir does not know the way to redemption. He asks Hassan to hit him to get hurt and repay his sins. Amir feels that the only way to redemption is getting hurt the way he hurt Hassan.
Amir does not complain after Assef tries to kill him for he thinks he deserves all this as atonement for his past sins. Soraya is guilt of her sin of running away with another man and she asks Amir to forgive her. Rahim Khan is shameful of her sinful nature of not disclosing to Amir what Baba had done.
She kept this as a secret even after Baba died; she could have told Amir for it is his right to know anything to do with his father. The woman soldier at the border is sinful for asks Baba to sleep with her even though she is married.
The idea of redemption sets in at last after Amir realizes that his past sins together with those of his father can only be atoned for by being good to people. He has to let go the sin of discrimination that he has kept for years. He realizes that helping others would bring joy to his life and this is why he decides to help Sohrab up the ladder of success and felicity.
Nevertheless, Rahim Khan wraps up the theme of redemption in this story. In his letter, Khan says, “I know that in the end, God will forgive. He will forgive your father, you, and me too … Forgive your father if you can. Forgive me if you wish. But most important, forgive yourself” (Hosseini 209). It is God only who forgives sins and redeems people from their sinful nature.
Amir understands this very well towards the end of the book when he asks God to remove Sohrab’s blood from his hands. People can also be redeemed from their sins by forgiving themselves. God is willing to forgive people of their sins; unfortunately, people hold on to their sins, letting guilt to haunt them while God has already forgiven them. As the book closes, Amir redeems himself after forgiving himself of his past sins.
One of the most outstanding themes in The Kite Runner is the theme of sin and redemption. Most of the major characters are sinful.
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Amir sins by betraying his close friend Hassan. He lets Assef rape Hassan whilst he could do something to rescue him. His sin follows him and he betrays Hassan again during his birthday party. Baba has done many mistakes in the past and Khan is guilty of keeping Baba’s secret from Amir. Assef, the rapist is a sinner while Soraya has committed the sin of running away with another man.
Amir does not get the issue of redemption and he thinks the only way to it is by paying for it through suffering. However, Khan sheds light on the issue of redemption by indicating that God will forgive all people and people could redeem themselves by forgiving themselves. The theme of sin and redemption comes out clearly in this book.
Hosseini, Khaled. “The Kite Runner.” New York: The Berkeley Publishing Group, 2003.