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In The Kite Runner, why do you think Amir recalls the memory of the sheep sacrifice...

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ganisn | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted January 12, 2009 at 3:53 PM via web

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In The Kite Runner, why do you think Amir recalls the memory of the sheep sacrifice when he witnesses Hassan's tragedy in the alleyway?

Amir remembers an Afghan celebration in which a sheep must be sacrificed, he talks about seeing the sheep's eyes moments before its death.

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 12, 2009 at 7:50 PM (Answer #1)

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A strong thematic parallel is suggested here between Hassan and the sheep whose sacrifice Amir had witnessed. Both Hassan and the animal are innocent of offense; both are powerless, victimized by forces beyond their control.

The reference to the sheep’s eyes implies that Amir saw something in those eyes that continues to haunt him: fear, confusion, and suffering—emotions Hassan experiences during the brutal attack he endures.

Finally, the concept of animal sacrifice completes the thematic parallel. As a religious rite, an animal was offered up to a greater power for the well-being of those making the sacrifice. By choosing to take no action to save his friend, Amir effectively offers up Hassan to the bullies attacking him in order to secure Amir’s own safety. Hassan is sacrificed on the altar of Amir’s fear and cowardice.

At the moment of Hassan’s greatest agony, Amir recalls the sacrifice of the sheep: Consciously or subconsciously, at that moment he recognizes the truth about himself.


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