Many individuals often feel guilty for a choice theymake in life. This guilt that exists in one’s self can have a tremendous impactfor theirentire lifeDV1 . Guilt has the incredible power to change anindividual’s perspective and cause them to make irrational decisions. The Kite RunnerDV2 , written by Khaled Hosseini, is a world-renownednovel published in 2003 that tells the story of a young boy named Amir whofinds himself guilty of having failed to fight a boy who raped his friend. Oneof the main themes Hosseini emphasizes in the novel is the powerful effect thatguilt has on one’s selfHO3 . Throughout the novel, different characters such asAmir, Sanubar and Baba found themselves guilty for making a choice theyconsidered to be wrong. Hosseni portraysDV4 HO5 two different types of guilt characters face in the Kite Runner: the first being misplaced guilt in whichindividuals feel guilty when they aren’t responsible for the events they feelguilty for, and the second is guilt that individuals feel because of their own actions or inactions that they areresponsible for; DV6 these three characters exhibit these forms of guilt. The guiltexpressed by these characters affected their future decisions and the entiretyof the plot.
DV7 The Kite Runnerdemonstrates that guilt can have a detrimental HO8 effect on one’s self. DV9 The Kite Runnerdemonstrates the theme of guilt through the main character, Amir. One decisionaffected his actions for the rest of his life: in the beginning of the story,Amir observes his close friend, Hassan, getting bullied by an older boy namedAseef. Amir was hesitant between makingthe decision of running away or intervening. In the end, Amir decided to runand not stand up for Hassan. Amir’s guilt developed from the moment he decidedto run away from the alley. However, the hidden message that Hosseni impliesthroughout the novel is misplaced guilt; even if Amir intervened and stood upfor Hassan, he would stand no chance against the older boy, Aseef.
As a result,Amir unnecessarily feels guilty about what he did without realizing that hewouldn’t have made a difference in the first place. This one decision left a burden on Amir’s shoulders DV10 for the nextthirty years. As Amir expresses, “DV11 I wish someonewould wake me up, so I wouldn’t have to live with this lie anymore.
“(88) Thisquote explains the guilt that existed within Amir after seeing what happened toHassan. Throughout the text, Amir finds himself seeking opportunities to redeemhimself for his decision of not intervening in the situation when Hassan wasgetting bullied. An example is when Amir tries throwing pomegranates at Hassan,as an attempt to get Hassan to fight back and punish Amir.
However, Hassanrefused to throw any pomegranates at Amir. Another quote states “I wanted Hassan to fight me back for theway I failed himHO12 DV13 .”(94) Amir wantedHassan to fight him back so he could have the “punishment he craved” (93). Amirwanted Hassan to hit him with pomegranates because of his guilt that wouldn’tgo away. Amir wanted to feel the act of being punished for his wrongdoing,similar to how Hassan was punished due to Amir’s apparent mistake.
Thisdemonstrates how Amir’s guilt causes him to make irrational decisionsthroughout the novel. The guilt carried on with Amir into his adulthood as heembarked on different journeys to seek redemption for the one decision he madeas a kid. An example is when Amir travels to Afghanistan to rescue Hassan’s orphanedson from the harsh circumstances he was forced to face in Kabul. DV14 This is oneexample of many of how Amirmade many (unsuccessful) attempts to pursue different opportunities tofree himself of his own guilt for the decision he made 20 years ago. Amir’sguilt plagued his entire life and many of his future actions which revolvedaround his guilt from one decision. Another character in Hosseini’s Kite Runner that demonstrates the effect of guilt on one’s self isBaba. Similar to Amir, Baba’s own sense of guilt affects many of his decisions.
Contrary to his actions in the novel, Baba believed that lying was sinfulbecause . “when someone lied, they stole away someone’s right to the truth.” (223)This quote implies one of Baba’s most important sins, lying. However, as the novel progressed, Baba liesto many characters such as Amir and Hassan demonstrating how Baba’s guiltforced him to go against his morals.
Near the conclusion of the novel, the readerrealizes that Amir is Hassan’s half brother and that Hassan is Baba’sbiological father. However, Baba never reveals that information to neither Amirnor Hassan, rather keeping it secret,committing the only sin that mattered to him, which was lying. Baba’s guiltcaused him to forcibly act ashamed of Amir for no reason. Baba stated, “There’salways something missing with my son.”(19) This indicates that Baba always feltsomething wrong with Amir, thusalwayscriticizing him. DV15 Baba’s guilt fornot being a good father to his biological son, Hassan, led him to give preferentialtreatment for Hassan while still having the appearance as a man with one son.
Baba did not want to feel remorse for giving Amir the luxurious life over hislegitimate son, Hassan. There are many examples in the text that demonstratehow Baba’s guilt forces him towards lying to his legitimate son. An examplefrom the text is during chapter 8HO16 , DV17 when Hassan stealsAmir’s birthday money and Baba lies by forgiving Hassan, eventhough Baba acknowledgedthe fact that Hassan stole Amir’s money. This illustrates how Baba’s guilt ofhiding the truth from Hassan, forced him to lie and forgive Hassan. Baba’sguilt of lying to his illegitimate son, Amir, and hiding the truth from hislegitimateDV18 son, Hassan,forced him to commit the only sin HO19 DV20 that mattered tohim, demonstrating guilt’s powerful impact on one’s self. Another character affected by guilt is Sanubar.
Sanubar’s guilt affects many of her decisions and is the driving force ofnearly all her actions. After giving birth to Hassan, Sanubar left her familyto join a group of singers, leaving her family in the dustDV21 . When thecharacters in the story find outthat Hassan is Baba’s biological son, it indicates that Sanubar and Baba committedinfidelity. Sanubar felt guilty of leavin her son from the fear of the truth that she and Baba committedadultery being exposed. As a result, Sanubar’s guilt forces her to leave herson.
Aquote states HO22 “She left Hassansoon after she was done giving birth.” (18) This quote implies that Sanubar’sguilt affected her decision to quickly leave her family. Thirty years later,Sanubar is in her old age with several physicalinjuriesDV23 . She decides togo to Hassan’s house and beg for forgiveness for the decision she made ofleaving him, HO24 DV25 “(I) begforgiveness. (I) made a mistake when I left you.” This quote indicates howregretful Sanubar felt after leaving Hassan, demonstrating the power guilt has over one’s thoughts, even begging Allah – the god she followed–forforgiveness. Sanubar’s guilt for leaving Hassan forced her to come back toHassan’s lifeso she could be a good mother. The guilt that stemmed from onedecision that Sanubar made of leaving Hassan affected nearly all of her actionsand decisions she made throughout the novel.
The Kite Runner illustrated guilt’s powerful effect on one’s actions.Hosseni uses Baba to demonstrate how guilt can even cause individuals to breakbonds between their loved ones. Minor characters such as Sanubar show how guilt of a major decision can becarried felt for a lifetime.Finally, Hosseni uses the main character, Amir, toillustrate how the one decision he made of leaving his closest friend get bulliedaffected him throughout his life. As thenovel progressed, readers realized how one choice could affect someone’s life.Guilt has a powerful impact on one’s self; it can completely change someonefrom the inside out