How does Amir gain redemption in The Kite Runner?

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In The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, Amir, the narrator, opens the book by saying,

I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975.1 remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the...

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In The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, Amir, the narrator, opens the book by saying,

I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975.1 remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek.

He is referring to a pivotal moment in his life when he witnessed the assault of his childhood companion, Hassan. He sees the attack in the alley and anguishes over it for years, consumed by guilt that he did not step in to help Hassan.

Amir ultimately gains redemption when, years later, he adopts Hassan’s son. Specifically, Amir is an adult. He has been living in California for many years. One day, he receives a telephone call from Pakistan from his friend Rahim Khan. Rahim asks Amir “to come see him,” and Amir says, “I knew it wasn't just Rahim Khan on the line. It was my past of unatoned sins.”

With that one phone call, his past becomes a vivid reminder of Hassan, who was his only real companion throughout his boyhood. Before ending the phone call, Rahim says, “There is a way to be good again.” Whether Rahim understands all the factors behind the guilt that haunts Amir is unclear. It is clear, however, that Rahim is offering Amir a way to achieve redemption.

Moreover, in some ways, Rahim is almost a father figure for Amir. In fact, Amir says that in one old photograph of Rahim Khan and Amir’s father, Baba, “Baba is holding me, looking tired and grim. I'm in his arms, but it's Rahim Khan's pinky my fingers are curled around.” Amir’s fingers are holding on to Rahim Khan as if he, along with Baba, was also Amir’s father. Thus, after some internal debate, Amir welcomes the opportunity to gain Rahim’s approval, vanquish his demons, and potentially “be good again,” as Rahim says.

Amir travels back to his birthplace and, in a way, travels back in time to his youth and Hassan. He learns from Rahim that Hassan is dead and that Hassan’s son, Sohrab, will need a home. Amir decides to take Sohrab back to America with him and raise him as his own son. Amir’s redemption unfortunately comes after Hassan’s death. However, he stands up for Hassan posthumously when he tells his father-in-law:

You see, General Sahib, my father slept with his servant's wife. She bore him a son named Hassan. Hassan is dead now. That boy sleeping on the couch is Hassan's son. He's my nephew. That's what you tell people when they ask… .And one more thing, General Sahib… You will never again refer to him as "Hazara boy" in my presence. He has a name and it's Sohrab.

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After Amir witnesses Hassan being raped by Assef and does not intervene, he becomes overwhelmed with guilt and eventually succeeds at distancing himself from his best friend. Amir ends up blaming Hassan for stealing some gifts, and Ali and Hassan move out of Baba's home. Amir then moves to America with Baba and begins a new life. Despite the new atmosphere and passage of time, Amir is still filled with a sense of guilt as an adult.

Decades later, Amir receives a phone call from Rahim Khan saying, "There is a way to be good again" (Hosseini, 2). Amir then visits Rahim Khan in Pakistan, where he learns that Hassan was killed by the Taliban and has a son named Sohrab living in an orphanage in the dangerous city of Kabul. After learning that Hassan was his half-brother, Amir decides to travel into Taliban-occupied Afghanistan to rescue Sohrab. Amir ends up saving Sohrab from a desperate situation and is forced to fight Assef in a brutal fight. Amir narrowly escapes with his life, thanks to Sohrab's help. Amir atones for his past sins by risking his life to save Sohrab. Amir also finds redemption by adopting Sohrab and giving him a new life in America.

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Amir's redemption process possess several steps.

1. Shortly after Amir's betrayal of Hassan in Chapter 7, he frames Hassan as a thief so that Baba will fire Ali and force Ali and Hassan to leave. Amir chooses the sin of theft because he knows that Baba considers it the only sin; thus, he hides his new birthday watch and some money in Hassan's hut.  His plan does not work quite the way he wants it to.  Baba forgives Hassan and Ali, but they choose to leave willingly, making Amir feel even worse about what he has done. Years later on his way back to Kabul, Amir stays with Farid's brother and his family.  Recognizing their hunger and need, Amir leaves behind money and his watch with Farid's family as a form of redemption for what he had done to Hassan.

2. Amir's most significant step in his redemption is first believing that he can redeem himself for what he did to Hassan and then traveling to Afghanistan to get Sohrab. At that point, he does not know that he will face Assef again, but when he does confront the bully and "fight" him for Sohrab, he is doing what he should have done years earlier for Hassan.  This time he does not hide or back down.

3. Finally, at the novel's end, Amir runs the kite for Sohrab.  He puts himself in the "servant's" position instead of lording his Pashtun, wealthy status over a Hazara. He takes the opportunity to do all that he can for Sohrab since he cannot do so for Hassan.

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