In "The Kite Runner," why is the following moment so important in Amir's journey?
On Amir's trip back to Afghanistan, he stays at the home of Farid's brother, Wahid. Upon leaving, he remarks, "Earlier that morning, when I was certain no one was looking, I did something I had done twenty-six years earlier: I planted a fistful of crumpled money under the mattress" (223).
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This moment is important because it emphasized the theme of redemption. When he leaves the money, he leaves a sort of security for the people who live there. When he planted the watch, he took that security from Hassan. There is a specific parallel here that centers on the theme.
Also, we are able to see that Amir has matured. In his childhood he would not have done something so charitable. We do see, however, that his age and experience has caused him to see things in a different light; he is able to sympathize with the other characters.
The moment is so important in Amir's journey because it demonstrates Amir's evolution from solipsistic egoist to compassionate altruist.
Twenty-six years earlier, Amir framed Hassan for appropriating his watch and money. He hid both the money and watch under Hassan's mattress and then accused his faithful friend and servant of theft. Despite knowing Amir had lied, Hassan chose to take the fall for Amir. Hassan's actions on that day showed his deep loyalty to Amir.
To "atone" for Hassan's supposed "theft," both Ali and Hassan decided to leave Baba's employment. Years later, when Amir discovers Hassan is his illegitimate half-brother, he realizes the magnitude of his debt to Hassan. It is on account of this realization (as well as at the behest of Rahim Khan) that Amir undertakes the journey to retrieve Sohrab (Hassan's son) from the orphanage in Kabul.
In Jalalabad, Amir's driver, Farid, takes Amir to his brother Wahid's house. As a guest in Wahid's home, Amir is treated with great generosity and kindness. Despite the children's hunger, Wahid's family gives Amir the best rations in the house. Before he leaves, Amir overhears an agonizing conversation between Wahid and his wife about how hungry the family really is. Upon hearing this, Amir decides to begin paying back on his dues to humanity.
When no one is looking, he buries "a fistful of crumpled money under a mattress" in Wahid's home. Amir's action shows how much he has changed; he's no longer the self-serving person he once was. In the past, he viewed Hazaras and other socially-disadvantaged individuals as second-class citizens and as human resources to be exploited for his benefit. Now, he knows that he owes more to one Hazara than he will ever be able to repay. His own journey back to Afghanistan to retrieve Sohrab is only one way he can begin to redeem himself from his past shameful deeds.
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