‘Analyse how the experiences of one or more characters were used for a particular purpose’
“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime.” In Khaled Hosseinis novel “The Kite Runner”, Amir, Baba and Hassan go through different experiences throughout the novel to reinforce the main theme of the book, betrayal. In this essay, I will discuss the several events the characters went through, these include the actual betrayal of Hassan, Baba and Amir fleeing to America, then finally saving Hassan’s son back in Afghanistan.
Amir’s decision to leave his friend Hassan in the alley way twenty six years ago, still goes on to fill him with guilt years on and is the main theme of the book. “I ran, I ran because I was a coward… maybe that was the price I had to pay, the lamb I had to slay to win Baba.” Not only does Amir abandon Hassan but he does so in a selfish way. Amir’s betrayal was a purposeful sacrifice for a closer relationship with his father, to prove that he won the kite. That day, Amir made the choice to betray Hassan, as well as his loyalty and his right to live an innocent and happy life. Amir’s failure to deal with his guilt revealed his cowardness, which ended up being the cause to the end of Hassan and Amir’s friendship. His lack of self control led him to framing Hassan for stealing, which only resulted in others suffering.Ali and Hassan lost their jobs and home, meanwhile Baba lost his son and nephew because of Amirs reckless and once again selfish actions. The experience that Amir and Hassan went through during the betrayal, are very different, but both have a valid purpose in the novel. Hosseini included this significant event to take the reader on an emotional journey, where the reader is able to experience both of the friends emotions and views. More importantly, the reader is then left feeling sympathetic for Hassan, so will feel a common hatred towards Amir.
Although there are several reasons why Amir and Baba moved to America, the most obvious one is Amir’s inability to deal with his guilt. As a consequence of Amir’s lack of courage, he and Baba had to move to America and restart their lives. When Amir framed Hassan, it further worsened the betrayal. It broke up their extended family, which meant Baba had no support, no friends, and no social status. However, like his son, Baba had also betrayed his best friend, Ali, by fathering Hassan with Ali’s wife. Their flee to America was a way for both of them to runaway from their guilt, their problems and a way to wash away the past. Because America is commonly known as the place where dreams are made to come true. When Amir first arrived he thought that, “America was a river…unmindful of the past. I could wade into this river, let my sins drown to the bottom, let the waters carry me someplace far.” Amir thinks that he has escaped his past, his guilt, the betrayal, he thinks that America is this amazing place where you become a different and new person. Whereas in reality, his sins and guilt from the betrayal will follow him no matter where he goes, until he recognises them and compensates for the damage he has caused. Hosseini has included this escape to America because it is something the reader can relate to. Everyone has something that they want to escape or forget about, therefore by including Amir and Baba’s experience, it makes the book partially relatable and engages the reader.
Amir’s final experience is when he returns to Kabul after his father figure and family friend, Rahim Khan calls him to say, “There is a way to be good again”. During Amir’s journey from guilt to redemption over the twenty-six years, he has finally found a way to free himself from his sins and guilt. Once Amir arrives in Afghanistan he is made aware that his nephew Sohrab is in an orphanage and comes to a realisation that this is his opportunity to redeem himself and do something good. The betrayal had haunted Amir for a majority of his life and has caused him to do some outrages things. He has, at last, realised that ” true redemption is…when guilt leads to good.” Amir is after all satisfied with himself and the person he has become because he has stopped running away from his past. He confronted his guilt which has led him to do something valuable, such as caring, loving and looking after Hassan’s son. Amir’s final way of acknowledging the betrayal is by taking Sohrab outside to do kite flying. This was the activity that Amir and his brother once loved to do until the betrayal caused Amir to be reminded of his cowardliness act in the alleyway. Amir’s last experience is important because it highlights how he changed as a person from the betrayal. Before this event, he was a young boy who thought that he was more important than others and he had no loyalty. After the betrayal, as amir grew up he became more selfless, caring, kind and most importantly loyal. Through thes experiences the author gives the reader a message that good can come from the bad. We should all acknowledge our mistakes and be truthful about them because as Baba says, “It’s better to be hurt by the truth than confronted with a lie.”
Overall the three experiences that Amir, Baba and Hassan go through are purposeful within the novel because they have key messages for the reader but importantly they all highlight the main theme. The betrayal is showcased through Hassan’s rape because Amir leaves his friend who has stood up for him his entire life and would do anything for Amir. Although Amir’s weaknesses got the better of him and he ends up running away. Amir and Baba’s flee to America, point out a different stage of betrayal because it shows how the father and son both try to escape their horrible pasts and they end up betraying their real image. In the final experience, betrayal is underlined through the concept of redemption. It shows how Amir’s guilt from the alleyway has built up and has caused him to change as a person and do something good. Khaled Hosseini has included these experience because he wants the reader to understand what the characters lives are like in Afghanistan. The novel “The Kite Runner” gives an insight to the reader into what it is really like living in a country where the economy is low and everyone is classed into social statuses. The people in Afghanistan don’t see Hassan and Amir’s experience as abnormal or shocking, because their culture is different to ours. This is why the reader is captured into reading the book because Amir’s behaviour is appalling and as the reader, we want to know more about what his consequences are and how this is going to affect their inclosed community.