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The Human Journey In The Kite Runner

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1546 words Published: 25th Apr 2017

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A journey is an expedition from one place to another. We all begin at the starting line setting off into the horizon in search of the finish line. What however, awaits us at the finish line? To some the human journey is the life span of a person, measured by time. To others, it’s about reaching an objective. In popular opinion people believe the human journey is the pursuit of happiness, in whatever form that may come, hence why everyone’s path is different. The most important things in life are hard and conquering is never smooth sailing; you will jump, get knocked down, but with courage and perseverance you will get back up and jump again. “The roughest road often leads to the top.” (Christina Aguilera) This road requires courage persistence and endeavour to reach the pinnacle of our life journey. Without these aspects life’s purpose is lost, gone astray, and ultimately never going to reach that satisfaction, the point of why we set out on our journey. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini explores a young Afghani boy growing up in Kabul. It is a story of a father and two brothers, and how they endure the political and social transformations of Afghanistan from the 1970’s to 2001.

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The novel follows Amir’s’ mission to resolve conflict that appears in his fmily, the political unrest in his country and most importantly himself. The Kite runner in itself is a novel of symbolic quest as Amir makes drastic sacrifices to pursue his quest to atone for precedent sins by saving his half nephew from a war-ravaged home. Sacrifice is an important theme of the novel, symbolized by the kite runners bleeding fingers. Their fingers being cut by their kites string embedded with glass, demonstrates the lengths of pain and suffering they will endure to get their oppositions kite out of the sky. Towards the end of the novel Amir cuts his fingers flying a kite to save his nephew from a deep depression. Sohrab watches the kite fight and for the first time smiles, suggesting redemption for Amir, who has never forgiven himself for what happened to Hassan on the night of that first kite-fighting contest in Kabul years before. The symbolism used in the novel depicts the journey Amir undertakes in order to seek forgiveness from those whom he has wronged, and most importantly, to forgive himself.

Amir and Baba move to the United States; a place that represents new beginnings and a way to expunge past demons. Amir adjusts more easily to the new country, Baba on the other hand, the move is more difficult, and his new life serves as a painful reminder that contrasts with his earlier position of power and stature in Kabul. “For me, America was a place to bury my memories. For Baba, it was a place to mourn his.” Amir’s expresses the pain of the transition to Baba. Immigrants to the United States of America, like Amir and Baba, are seeking a better life as well as concurrently struggling to adjust to be accepted in a culture that may or may not understand and welcome their traditions.

Khaled Hosseini recurrently uses devices such as flashback and foreshadowing. Foreshadowing is a device used to prepare the reader for the fore coming drastic change of events. the narrator describes to the reader that it was the last time he would see Hassan’s smile except in a photograph, an interlude in the narrative is a forewarning that something significant is about to take place. The use of these techniques indicate moments when the lives of those who are altered forever by the crisis of violence, death, or the consequences of world events. In Amir’s’ case it is the consequences of his actions, or lack of actions, that is the foundation on which the future is based upon, which changes the course of his future. Foreshadowing is seen in Chapter when Amir witnesses Hassan being attacked by Asseff on the night of his victory in the kite-fighting contest:”I had one last chance to make a decision. One final opportunity to decide who I was going to be. I could step into that alley, stand up for Hassan-the way he’d stood up for me all those times in the past-and accept whatever would happen to me. Or I could run.”

This inner siliquae hints that in the future Amir will endure a crisis in identity. Later on in the novel, the recognition of his betrayal of Hassan becomes a burden he carries around for a majority of his life, and forces Amir to take extreme measures to forge an identity for himself through noble actions. This is important to Amir as he has always admired his father’s nobility, and in order to get his attention he sacrificed everything so his father to be proud of him, to be worthy of his love. Amir’s objective is to be forgiven and to be the man his father had wanted him to be, to not fall short of his expectations.

In the summer of 2001, Amir is summoned back to Pakistan by Rahim Khan, his father’s old friend whom is in ill health. Amir senses there is some other reason. A chance phrase at the end of the phone call makes Amir think about the past: “There is a way to be good again.” Amir decides to go to Kabul to set right matters by bringing Sohrab to America and therefore “atone not just for his sins but for Baba’s too.” Rahim knows Amir’s secret and has seen Amirs true character.

Rahim knows all that he has done and that he has lived concealing the secrets of his acts of cowardice. Rahim knows his true character. With this return, Amir’s road to redemption is a lifelong process. As philosopher William James says, “When you have to make a choice, and do not make it, that in itself is a choice.” The choices that Amir made, beginning in his childhood, shows what he truly is. As Amir begins on his road to redemption we find that total redemption is not possible: the dead cannot be saved, Hassan cannot be brought back. However, through his search for Sohrab and bringing him home, Amir manages to make peace with himself. Amir’s search for Hassan’s son is an attempt “to be good again,” to regain the honour that Hassan had in his self-sacrifice. He cannot heal the wounds that he caused Hassan, but he can endeavour to gain redemption by sacrificing himself to rescue Sohrab. By taking him under his wing, he enters into a friendship with Sohrab, to whom he pledges, as did Hassan to him, “for you, a thousand times over.” Through Amir’s pursuit of redemption he has managed to reach his lifelong goal, to make thing right again, with his family and importantly, himself.

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During Amir’s journey to bring back Sohrab and redeem his past sins, we see several indicators revealing a change in Amir. While staying with Wahid, Amir reveals to us that he put money under his mattress for the children to find and buy food with. It is then when it come to his attention that it had been 26 years since he had put money under someone’s bed; the last time, was with malicious intent. Wahid is impressed and praises Amir saying, “you are an honourable man, Amir, a true Afghan.” This shows the audience how much Amir has developed and changed as a man, through persisting on his endeavour of his lifelong aspiration.

There are moments in which characters show us a glimpse of the courage that they possess deep within, Soraya is one of them. When Amir asks for Soraya’s hand in marriage she reveals her past indiscretion: when she was eighteen she eloped with a man and they lived together before her father found her. Amir is admittedly shocked by her confession but loves her regardless. Amir recognises that she is a more courageous person than himself because he is unable to share his secret guilt of his betrayal of Hassan: “I suspected there were many ways in which Soraya Taheri was a better person than me. Courage was just one of them.” Soraya remains constant in the face of the persistent judgment in the community and is dedicated to her new family, while pursing her goal of becoming a teacher: Particularly in accepting and facing the consequences of her mistakes. Soraya courageously strives for happiness in her everyday life, learning that if she is to succeed in attaining this goal, she must let go of all that she cannot control

Christina Aguilera’s quote “The roughest road often leads to the top” rings true of The Kite Runner novel, as the trials that are the hardest in life to overcome, are the ones that really count. Amir sets out on his personal road to redemption to make amends for his and Baba’s mistakes. As Amir tries to forge an identity through noble actions he encounters many obstacles along the way, particularly the conflict between the political transformations of Afghanistan, between Assef and ultimately himself. Amir consequently overcomes his character weaknesses to show courage, resilience, and persistence to pursue redemption. Finally, he achieves his life ambition, primarily find peace and forgiveness within himself, As Oprah Winfrey once said “Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.”


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