Guilt In The Kite Runner

1438 Words 6 Pages
“When a coward stops remembering who he is...God help us” (Hosseini 241). These words should resonate with any guilt-ridden person, as to be guilty is to recognize one’s own cowardice and mistakes. Amir, the protagonist of The Kite Runner, speaks these words to himself in a time of great internal turmoil. The author, Khaled Hosseini places an emphasis on guilt’s effect on the individual as a main theme, mostly made manifest through the character of Amir. In The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini develops the flying of kites as a symbol of Amir’s innermost feelings, as he goes from feeling peace and innocence within, to being burdened by guilt, to finally accepting his mistake and reaching redemption. In the novel’s beginning, the author utilizes …show more content…
As a young boy flying kites in the winter of 1975, Amir regards the annual festivities with joy and sentimentality. At this point in time, kite flying still brings Amir happiness, as indicated by his remark that the winters in Kabul are characterized by “kites of course. Flying kites. And running them” (42). Here, the author emphasizes the pure joy that Amir feels toward kite flying when he is young. By utilizing a simple, staccato sentence structure, Hosseini demonstrates the unabashed pleasure that Amir gains from flying the kites. There is a frankness and simplicity to Hosseini’s sentences which help to emphasize the purity of Amir’s perception of kite flying. He is able to take part in the kite flying unencumbered by guilt or any other harsh emotion. Amir’s enjoyment of kite flying is indicative of his own internal security and peace; kites bring him nothing but happiness. They do not bring him feelings of guilt as they will as his life progresses. Later, while playing outside with Hassan, Amir takes note of “kids flinging snowballs...giggling,” adjacent to “kite fighters...huddling with their spool holders” (47). Once again, the author makes a connection between youthful …show more content…
When he witnesses the rape of Hassan on the day of the kite tournament and selfishly decides to flee the scene and ignore it rather than aid his friend, Amir is making the choice which will haunt him for the rest of his life. While Amir’s father is enthusiastically recounting the story of his son’s winning of the kite fighting tournament to some friends, Amir “mumble[s]… ‘I guess so’” when excitedly asked if there were a hundred kites in the sky that day (73). Whereas before Amir would have recollected the day of his victory with pride and joy, he is brought only shame by his memories of kite flying; kites no longer bring him the same joy they once did. The images of kites have been tainted in the boy’s mind. Here, Hosseini’s use of the word “mumbles,” as well as Amir’s indifferent “guess so,” indicates the protagonist’s newly lost enthusiasm towards the subject of kite flying. This exchange characterizes kite flying as a symbol of Amir’s internal struggle with guilt in the wake of Hassan’s rape; the joy he once felt while flying kites is lost, much like his innocence. As the plot progresses, Amir continues to feel intense guilt about what he did to Hassan. This is mirrored by his increasingly negative feelings towards kite

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