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The Kite Runner is a novel emblematic of the concept of redemption through the use of symbolism as well as metaphor. The primary idea enforced by Khaled Hosseini is redemption, which is shown through the portrayal of Amir seeking his father’s approval, for he holds Amir accountable for the death of his wife. However, this is not the only effort of redemption made by Amir, as he seeks redemption for betraying his loyal friend, Hassan. The recurring theme of redemption is what makes Hosseini’s scripture so powerful. Amir’s father, Baba, is seen at the beginning of the novel expressing his animosity toward his son through Rahim Khan, “Children aren’t coloring books.

You don’t get to fill them in with your favorite colors”. This is an extract from a disagreement between Baba and Rahim Khan, a close friend of Baba and the father of Amir’s childhood friend, Hassan. Baba insists that Amir is nothing like him, exclaiming he was “nothing like that” growing up. Amir overhears this conversation and thus makes a great effort to be approved in his father’s eyes. The first attempt at redemption in the eyes of his father was the motif of the kite. The kite serves as a representation of Amir’s happiness, but it’s also the turning point in which guilt takes over. Flying kites is what brought him joy during childhood, as he views it as one of the only ways he connects with Baba, who flew kites himself.

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The kite takes on a different portrayal when Amir allows Hassan to be raped because he wants to return the kite to Baba. The concept of redemption, conveyed by Hosseini, is seen through Amir whilst he is flying the Kite, “All I saw was the blue kite. All I smelled was a victory. Salvation. Redemption.” Hosseini also uses rape as a motif in the novel, as it is the primary source of Amir’s guilt, as both Hassan and Sohrab were subject to rape. “I was going to win, and I was going to run that last kite. Then I’d bring it home and show it to Baba. Show him once and for all that his son was worthy.” The concept of redemption outweighed the ideology of betrayal in Hassan’s eyes. The desperation portrayed by Amir controlled him and thus he decided to leave Hassan in exchange for his father’s partial approval.

Later in the novel, when Amir gathers the courage to stand up to Assef, Hassan’s rapist, Amir takes a bloody beating. Taking the beating provides him the courage and also leaves a scar on Amir’s lip identical to Hassan’s cleft lip. This therefore merges their personalities, highlighting the similarities shared between the two, and allowing Amir to gain the feeling of redemption. Moreover, another motif throughout the novel that conveys the idea of redemption is Hosseini’s portrayal of the monster. Hassan approached Amir on the day of the Kite Flying tournament, exclaiming that he had a dream about him and Amir at Lake Ghargha. He tells Amir that the public refused to swim in the Lake as they thought it was infested by a monster. Ultimately, Amir and Hassan jump into the lake and prove them all wrong. Later that day was when Hassan was subject to Assef’s rape, leaving the reader with multiple interpretations of what exactly that monster was. Whether it was Assef, Amir’s pure desire for Baba’s approval, or Amir himself, “I thought about Hassan’s dream, the one about us swimming in the lake. There is no monster, he’d said, just water. Except he’d been wrong about that. There was a monster in the lake… I was that monster.”

Another symbol of redemption shown by Hosseini through Amir was the adoption of Hassan’s son Sohrab. Venturing to Kabul to collect Sohrab and adopt him, as per Rahim Khan’s wishes. Amir views this opportunity as a final chance to redeem himself after the betrayal of his fallen comrade. However, this was not only a chance for Amir to redeem himself and repent of his sins, it was an opportunity to recognize Baba’s sins also. Baba preached to Amir from a young age, that one of the worst sins is lying, “When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness.” yet Baba lived a lie his whole life. This is because Hassan is Baba’s son, not Rahim Khan’s. This symbol of atonement was made clear by Hosseini through Amir, “Baba and I were more alike than I’d ever known. We had both betrayed the people who would have given their lives for us. And with that came this realization: that Rahim Khan had summoned me here to atone not just for my sins but for Baba’s too.”

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