Many individuals often feelguilty for a choice they make in life. This guilt that exists in one’s self, canhave a tremendous impact on their entire life.
Guilt has the incredible powerto change an individual’s perspective and cause them to make irrational decisions.The Kite Runner, written by Khaled Hosseini, is a world-renowned novelpublished in 2003 that tells the story of a young boy named Amir who findshimself guilty of having failed to fight a boy who raped his friend. One of themain themes Hosseini emphasizes in the novel, is the powerful affect of guilton one’s self. Throughout the novel, different characters such as Amir, Sanubarand Baba found themselves guilty at one point for making a choice theyconsidered to be wrong.
The guilt expressed by these characters affected theirfuture decisions and the entirety of the plot. The Kite Runner demonstrates that guilt canhave an immense effect on one’s actions, thoughts and decisions. The Kite Runner demonstrates the themeof guilt through the main character, Amir. Amir’s guilt affects many of hi ,affects many of his decisions and actions in the future. In the beginning ofthe story, Amir observes his close friend, Hassan, get bullied by an older boynamed Aseef. Amir was torn betweenmaking the descsion of running away or intervening.
“In the end, (he) chose torun” and not stand up for Hassan. Amir’s guilt developed from the moment hedecided to run away from the alley. However, the hidden message Hosseni impliesthroughout the novel, is misplaced guilt, as even if Amir intervened and stoodup for Hassan, he would stand no chance to the older boy, Aseef.
As a result,Amir unnecessarily feels guilty about what he did, without realizing that hewouldn’t have made a difference in the first place. This one decision left a stain on Amir forthe next thirty years. A quote on pg. 88 states “I wish someone would wake meup, so I wouldn’t have to live with this lie anymore” This quote explains theguilt that existed within Amir after seeing what happened to Hassan.
Throughoutthe text, is when Amir tries throwing pomegranates at Hassan, as an attempt toget Hassan to fight back and punish Amir for choosing to leave Hassan. However,Hassan refused to throw any pomegranates at Amir, but instead smashed one intohis face. A quote on pg.94 states “I wanted Hassan to fight me back for the wayI failed him” This quote indicates that Amir wanted Hassan to fight him back,so he could have the “punishment he craved” (93) This demonstrates that Amir wantedto feel the act of being punished for his wrongdoing, similar to how Hassan wasbrutally raped due to Amir’s apparent mistake. Amir’s guilt forces him totravel across two countries to seek redemption for the mistake he made. 15years later, Amir’s guilt led him to make the hefty decision of returning toAfghanistan “to be good again” (189) by rescuing Hassan’s orphaned son, Sohrab,from the terrible conditions he was left to face in Kabul. Amir sees this as anopportunity to redeem and free himself from his guilt for the one decision hemade 15 years ago. Many decisions that Amir makes throughout the Kite Runner,revolve around his guilt from the one choice of not intervening in thesituation when Hassan was getting bullied Another character in Hosseini’sKite Runner that demonstrates the power of guilt is Baba.
Similar to Amir, Babais not immune to the guilt afflicted on others as his own sense of guiltaffects many of the decisions he made throughout the novel. Baba’s believedthat when someone lied they “stole away someone’s right to the truth” (223). Contraryto his beliefs, Baba’s guilt prompts many of his actions and forces him to lieto others.
Near the conclusion of the novel, it is disclosed that Amir wasHassan’s half- brother and Baba was Hassan’s real biological father. Baba, ashe stated, “stole the truth” from his loved ones such as Amir and Hassan byliving with the guilt of hiding the truth from his legitimate son, lying to hisillegitimate son and committing, in Baba’s words, his only sin of lying.Throughout the novel, Baba’s guilt caused him to act ashamed of Amir forabsolutely nothing as Baba stated, “there’s always something missing with myson” (19). Baba always took out his guilt on Amir by constantly criticizing himof his actions, as Baba tried to act as if the guilt was nonexistent, when inreality he was ashamed of himself for lying. Baba’s guilt for not playing thefather role to Hassan, led him to do everything he could for Hassan while stillhaving the appearance as a man with one son.
Baba always criticized Amirbecause he wanted Amir to be the perfect son. Baba didn’t want to feel theremorse for giving Amir the luxurious life over his legitimate son, Hassan.There are many instances in the book where Baba forgives Hassan for hiswrongdoing even though Hassan commits the one sin that mattered to Baba whichwas lying.