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Voltaire once said, “Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do”. Every decision made in life is followed by a consequence. Guilt is one of the most frequent consequences in the novel, The Kite Runner. Khaled Hosseini depicts the cataclysmic ability of guilt to consume one’s life through the several relationships between Ali and Baba, Hassan and Amir, and Sohrab and Amir. Guilt can be a driver for people in several ways. In The Kite Runner, guilt serves as a driver for a few people, which leads them all in opposite directions. Guilt is heavily shown in the novel by anger, whether it’s being held in or inflicted upon. The protagonist in The Kite Runner, Amir suffers the consequences of his remorseful actions. Towards the beginning of the book, Amir witnesses something that plagues him with guilt for the rest of his life until he finally finds a way to redeem himself. Amir notices his servant, Hassan who is also his friend in an alleyway with some oppressors. Amir decides not to intervene, and watches his friend get sexually abused, traumatized by this he makes something up about Hassan to get rid of him so that he can get rid of his “demons”. Amir bears this guilt throughout the book. It takes time for him to finally atone for his sins, and forgive himself. However, some characters do use their guilt to their advantage.

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Although Amir and Baba don’t possess the most loving relationship, Amir is still able to learn from Baba. Baba is merely preparing Amir for the real world. Throughout the novel, Hosseini conveys the idea of sentimental bonds between sons and fathers, which is displayed through the relationships between Amir and Baba, Sohrab and Amir, and Sohrab and Hassan. Hosseini makes the reader recognize how vital an empathetic fatherly figure is. Amir is so desperate for his father’s love, he goes to extreme lengths to get it. When Hassan goes to retrieve the kite for him, he is stopped by Assef. Assef rapes Hassan because Amir is not only a coward but desperate for his father’s approval so he doesn’t interfere. In a way, it’s Baba’s lack of effort in communicating with Amir on an emotional level that is the reason that Amir doesn’t interfere. If Amir felt that he didn’t need to prove himself, his actions may have been slightly different. That’s where the guilt comes in. Amir believes that if he sends Hassan away he will forget his actions and he will cease to feel guilty. These are clear signs of selfishness, something that Amir should have been taught not to be. This big moment is like the stem of the novel, everything revolves around it. The guilt he bears through the book originates from this decision he made. It didn’t help that Amir was jealous of Hassan having a better relationship with Baba than himself. This is yet another reason as to why he left Hassan in the alleyway.

The moment Amir left Hassan in the alley to be raped is when his guilt developed into something that would plague him for the next 30 years, questioning his every decision. Amir was too selfish to realize at the time that Hassan had stuck up for him his entire life and the one time Hassan needed Amir’s help, Amir was nowhere to be seen. This decision is what changed Amir’s life. This choice haunts Amir with guilt until he understands that to redeem himself he needs to leave Afghanistan and bring Sohrab to the U.S. Amir doesn’t learn that he will have to confront Assef again until he’s already arrived in Afghanistan. When he encounters Assef for the second time he doesn’t concede, because to redeem himself he does what he should have done for Sohrab’s father decades ago. Soon after the event happened Amir whispered into the darkness that he watched Hassan get raped. He desperately hoped that “someone would wake up and hear, so [he] wouldn’t have to live with the lie anymore” (86).

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The Kite Runner’ Book Review Essay.
(2024, February 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 6, 2024, from

“The Kite Runner’ Book Review Essay.” Edubirdie, 29 Feb. 2024,

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