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Amir is not a man without weaknesses in The Kite Runner. As a youth, he lived a life of privilege and was wanting for nothing, especially within the confines of Baba's house. Nevertheless, Amir always felt inferior to his powerful father, who was disappointed in Amir's lack of athletic endeavors; Amir's love of reading and writing was not appreciated by Baba, and the father always wanted to see more of himself in his son. Outside on the streets of Kabul, Amir was more susceptible to danger. He and Hassan were often bullied by Assef, and Amir never had the courage to stand up to him; instead, he allowed Hassan to defend him. Following Amir's betrayals of Hassan, he becomes overwhelmed with guilt and rarely is able to sleep at night. This guilt continues through most of his adult life, and even in America, he finds himself dwarfed by the larger-than-life character that Baba had created for himself in Iraq. Amir wonders if he is good enough for his bride, Soraya, and following Baba's death, he blames himself for not being able to father a child. It is only on his return to Pakistan and Iraq does he understand that "there is a way to be good again" by finding his nephew, Sohrab, and returning him to safety. Back in his homeland, he is forced to appear in public in disguise for fear of the Taliban recognizing that he is an American. Death and destruction is all around him, and he recognizes that he may not return safely. But in the presence of Assef, now a Taliban leader, Amir discovers a new courage and he fights Assef for the right to take Sohrab with him. Unable to defeat Assef himself, Amir finds himself vulnerable to the Taliban's fists, but Sohrab comes to his rescue, just as Hassan had done years before. Back in America, Sohrab's presence alone does not solve Amir's moral dilemma, but through persistence he is able to break the ice with his nephew--
It was only a smile, nothing more. It didn't make everything all right. It didn't make anything all right. Only a smile. A tiny thing...
But I'll take it... maybe I just witnessed the first flake melting.
and at the end of the novel, the two embark on a new beginning--that of a real family hoping to fulfill the American dream Baba had so desired.
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