How does respect play a role in The Kite Runner for the three main characters (Amir, Baba, and Hassan)?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In The Kite Runner, respect is the path that the main characters take in order to find redemption.

Respect is extremely important in the development of the main characters.  It plays a vital role in establishing their restoration and hopes.  It establishes the basis of Hassan's great character. He views Amir with a high level of esteem, and the reason for his loyalty towards him.  He defends Amir against Assef's threats and unflinchingly provides support.  Hassan embodies the essence of "the kite runner" as he does anything for his friend, regardless of consequence.  Hassan's respect is what redeems him, enabling him to be the person that Baba and Amir hope to be.

Baba redeems himself because of the respect he generates towards Amir when they leave Afghanistan.  Prior to this, he was never able to fully articulate affection towards Amir that displayed a pure sense of regard.  His admiration was always muted.  As a result, the bond between father and son was never quite able to materialize as it should have.  When they move, he is able to display the affection that his son so desires and the bond between them strengthens.  Baba's redemption as a father towards Amir is rooted in the respect he is able to develop and display towards him.

For Amir, respect becomes the "way to be good again."  Amir's honor is lost when he is silent as Assef rapes Hassan and as he disrespects Hassan because of his jealously.  When he acknowledges that he must restore his relationship, it is out of respect towards his friend.  This reverence is evident when Amir seeks to take care of Sohrab and suffers greatly as a result. It is respect for Hassan that drives Amir to make right that which was wrong, and plays a critical role in his redemption.

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