“I became what I am at the age of twelve.” Do Amir’s opening words prove to be accurate?  

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The great English poet William Wordsworth once famously said that "the child is father to the man," meaning that the experiences of one's formative years strongly influence how one's later life turns out. Amir's opening words in The Kite Runner are a prime example of this. The terrible sight that...

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The great English poet William Wordsworth once famously said that "the child is father to the man," meaning that the experiences of one's formative years strongly influence how one's later life turns out. Amir's opening words in The Kite Runner are a prime example of this. The terrible sight that he witnesses at the age of twelve—the brutal sexual assault of his father's servant, Hassan—marks him for life.

And not only the actual event itself is significant in this regard, but Amir's reaction to it as well. For Amir, to his eventual shame, uses Hassan's rape as an opportunity to get him out of his father's life, thus allowing him to reclaim the place in Baba's affections which he believes is rightfully his.

As he moves into adulthood, Amir knows that what he did that terrible day was completely wrong, a sign of his selfishness and insecurity. So he determines that he will atone for his sins and heads off to war-torn Afghanistan to make amends. Even though Hassan is dead, he remains a hidden presence in Amir's life, inspiring him to take enormous risks to rescue Sohrab—Hassan's son—from a miserable life under the Taliban.

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You're definitely on the right track.  The violent assault on Hassan, and Amir's witnessing it, certainly shapes who Amir is as an adult.  The themes concerning redemption are quite strong in this novel, and the root of Amir's quest for redemption can be traced back to this event.  As an adult, Amir at first seems to repress his memories concerning his childhood, allowing his American lifestyle to mask his guilt.  But once he discovers there is a chance "to be good again," all his decisions (to go to Afghanistan, to risk his life for Sohrab, to consequently adopt Sohrad) are based on the attack he witnesses as a twelve year old boy, a boy who could not, was not equipped to, process it at the time, but who as an adult seeks out redemption.

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