Epiphany In The Kite Runner

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In Khaled Hosseini’s novel, The Kite Runner, Amir struggles to cope with his inaction during Hassan’s rape. Overwhelmed with guilt, Amir devises a plan to get Hassan and Ali dismissed so they would no longer be a constant reminder of all the times Hassan had protected him and his failure to do the same. The guilt of betraying Hassan burdens him for years, and even after he and Baba move to America, he carries the weight of his actions with him. However, after he accepts Rahim Khan’s request to rescue Sohrab and bring him to safety, Amir strives to leave behind the selfishness and cowardice he had previously succumbed to. Amir progressively begins to forgive himself for his injustices towards Hassan as he recognizes his evolution from a coward…show more content…
Amir first realizes the depth of his cowardice as he watches Assef rape Hassan in the alley and thinks, “I could step in into that alley, stand up for Hassan—the way he stood up for me all those times in the past—and accept whatever happened to me. Or I could run” (Hosseini 77). He has an epiphany that he could choose to be brave and selfless like Hassan and step up to Assef regardless of any physical consequences. However, despite his understanding that the noble choice would be to interfere and stop Assef, Amir is unable to act on it because his fear of Assef overwhelms him. The guilt that consumes Amir in the weeks following Hassan’s rape indicates that he understands the extent of his selfish behavior and needs to resolve it before he can forgive himself. Hassan’s refusal to reveal that Amir had witnessed his rape and had planted the money and the watch under his mattress—his “final sacrifice” for…show more content…
When Farid confronts Amir about his business in Afghanistan, he tells the family about his quest to find his nephew, Sohrab. They call him “an honorable man” and “a true Afghan” which makes Amir uncomfortable because in his mind, those descriptions define Hassan, not himself (238). At first, he does not agree with them and still views himself as a coward. However, those comments also nourish the idea that because he made the selfless decision to risk his life to save Sohrab, maybe he really can be able to adopt some of Hassan 's honorable qualities and forgive himself. Having seen tangible evidence of the changes in his demeanor, the weight of his guilt lessens, but Amir still cannot completely forgive himself. The next morning, Amir mirrors an action he committed twenty-six years earlier with a different purpose. He “planted a fist full of crumpled money under a mattress” for Farid’s family to show gratitude and so they would be able to feed their hungry kids (242). As he reminiscences back to the first time he did this, his tone is no longer remorseful and abashed. In fact, the more selfless actions he accomplishes, the more he starts to embrace the changes in his behavior. Amir progresses to forgive himself for getting Hassan and Ali kicked out by counterbalancing it with his selflessness in giving Farid’s family
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