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In the end, could Amir have acted differently, in relation to the following quote from...

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amir-nit | Salutatorian

Posted August 23, 2013 at 11:10 AM via web

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In the end, could Amir have acted differently, in relation to the following quote from The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini?

"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 these times in the past--and accept whatever would happen to me. Or I could run. In the end, I ran." 

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 23, 2013 at 11:14 PM (Answer #1)

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The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini, is the story of Amir's life from the perspective of time. Of course the answer to your question is yes because it was a choice, and the concept of choice is that one may decide. Though he could have made a different choice, it is unlikely that Amir would have done so--unless he knew then what he knows about himself and the effects of his guilt by the end of the story.

"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 these times in the past--and accept whatever would happen to me. Or I could run. In the end, I ran." 

Unfortunately, Amir is so jealous of Hassan by the time of the assault by Assef that Amir even takes a kind of perverse pleasure in Hassan's humiliation and pain. Amir is desperate for his father's love and approval, and he can get it if he ignores what he sees and lets Hassan "pay for" the kite which Baba expects Amir to get. That is exactly what happens: Amir gets his father's temporary approval and Hassan suffers a traumatic and painful abuse. 

It would be easy to let Amir off the hook by saying that he was just a boy, that he could not have stopped Assef by himself, or that it was Baba's fault for putting so much pressure on winning. While those may all be true to some degree, Amir's act is despicable, deliberate, and cowardly. Even worse, he does nothing to console Hassan; in fact, his cowardice, guilt, and jealousy prompt Amir to frame Hassan for theft. Baba has no choice but to send Hassan away, and Amir has to live with his guilt for the next several decades. 

Amir "decide[d] who [he] was going to be," and then he had to live with his decision until Rahim Khan gave him a chance to atone for the choice he made. 

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