“The Kite Runner” is a very strong novel. The burning thread of the story is the violence. Violence as a way to subjugate, humiliate, crush, and assert; violence as a manifestation of the ancient pagan past; violence as a reflection of the destroyed spirituality; violence as despair… In addition, the author demonstrates by means of two main characters, Amir and his father, the sense of guilt and redemption. That is the novel shows what once an English aristocrat and writer Lady Mary Wortley Montague said, “While conscience is our friend, all is at peace; however once it is offended, farewell to a tranquil mind” (“Lady Mary Wortley Montague”).
Khaled Hosseini tells about a peaceful prewar Kabul, where lived children who have not known what firing and bombings are. It was the city where people used to go shopping with the sticks instead of the credit cards, “in Kabul, we snapped a tree branch and used it as a credit card” (Hosseini 69) and where the boys were confident that Charles Bronson and John Wayne are the Iranians because all the movies have come from Tehran in Afghanistan and have been already translated into Persian. It meant that all western heroes are the Iranians.
The writer describes the city, where kites’ competitions are the favorite pastime and, at the same time, the very serious matter for all residents (Podelco). To defeat opponents and stay alone soaring in a bottomless blue sky are a true child’s happiness. Kite is a symbol of the soul that either is hovering high in the sky or being broken is lying down on the ground (“Kite Flying in Afghanistan”).
This novel is about the boy running after the kite, and the kite itself, which is the piece without the homeland. As well, the novel is about many other things such as wars, refugees, customs, victims, pride, devotion, awareness of guilt, and redemption, about the foreign and incomprehensible to us country, a political toy in the hands of super powers (Arnold).
Years ago, in that fabulous peaceful time, which almost no one remembers, two boys lived in the quiet and green Kabul. All the time they spent together and seemed to be the close friends. However, it was an illusion. One of the boys, Amir, was the only son of wealthy and influential man, and another one, Hassan, was Hazara, Shiite, and servant. “That’s the one thing Shi’a people do well,” he (Amir) said, picking up his papers, “passing themselves as martyrs.” He wrinkled his nose when he said the word Shi’a, like it was some kind of disease” (Hosseini 5).
In the East, there is a special kind of devotion, transferring from generation to generation. Thus, Hassan’s grandfather served Amir’s family, Hassan’s father does the same, and Hassan has to serve. Hassan doesn’t see any other destiny; he doesn’t see any other happiness. However, once, something terrible will happen. One will sacrifice himself to steadfast loyalty, and the other will drive away the memories of his own cowardice, dishonesty, and betrayal.
Here what the guys are saying to Hassan while humiliating him, before committing terrible act: “But before you sacrifice yourself for him, think about this: Would he do the same for you? … you’re nothing but an ugly pet. Something he can play with when he’s bored, something he can kick when he’s angry…” (Hosseini 40). In fact, it turned out that they were right because Amir did not find the strength to help a friend, stand up for the man who fully devoted to him. Amir said: “I had one last chance to make a decision. One final opportunity to decide who I was going to be… Or I could run. In the end, I ran. I ran because I was a coward” (Hosseini 42).
Then the Communists came in Kabul, then Taliban who were met with the hope of ending the bloodshed, but it came up with a new force (Burns). The life of the Amir and Hassan continues in the background of these tragic events. Each one has his own life, his own tragedy but, as in childhood, they are linked by strong ties. At the end of the novel, the fate gives Amir a chance to redeem that is to rescue Hassan’s son.
It should be said, that Amir’s father had also the sense of guilty as he committed adultery after his wife passed away. The reader finds out that Hassan his son as well. However, Baba had not a chance to redeem at all. He lived all his life with a very big lie and died as hypocrite. Amir and his father are similar. They both lived with the sense of guilty. Both of them betrayed their friends. However, if Amir made mistake when he was a child, his father betrayed his friend Ali (Hassan’s “father”) perfectly knowing what he was doing, and what consequences might be later. As well, when comparing Amir with Baba, it should be added, that if Baba kept his secret and did not feel that he need to redeem; Amir, in contrary, felt that he had to redeem himself.
In his book “Kite Runner” Khaled Hosseini raises actual themes as guilt and redemption. In the novel, Hosseini shows different types of guilt as well as redemption. He demonstrates how the sense of guilt haunts Amir and Baba, how they live with it, and in what ways they try to redeem themselves. Reading the book, one can easily see that it is not only about main characters, guilt, redemption, and Afghanistan. This book is about our life.
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