"For me, America was a place to bury my memories. For Baba a place to mourn his." This quote is pivotal in Amir's struggle to atone for his sin against Hassan. The irony for Baba is that all he left behind, his status, his home, have disappeared. In California, he "pulled twelve hour shifts pumping gas..." Baba continues on with only memories and his strength to comfort him, yet he is not defeated. Amir, at first, tries to lock his memories away and finds out that he must go home again; one cannot atone, if one does not face his fears. America, then, is not a place to bury memories, but a place to unearth memories. The function of irony here is to illustrate the impact of America, and the motif of the immigrant, who begins with nothing to re-create a life in a another country with all its hardships yet with all its hope!