How does the young Amir provide a template for the adult Amir in San Francisco?

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reidalot eNotes educator| Certified Educator

America provides the adult Amir  a shelter from himself and his actions, just as Amir as a youth took refuge from his conscience and his actions through avoidance. in Chapter 7, after Hassan's humiliation, Amir finds comfort in his father's arms: "I'd forgot what I'd done. And that was good." Later the young Amir on his thirteenth birthday watches Hassan serving drinks to his rapist, Assef. He watches Assef put his knuckle in Hassan's back and Amir does nothing. Later, when the young Amir tells the lie about Hassan's theft to rid himself of Hassan and his guilt, he believes his father wouldn't forgive him "for not being the son he always wanted." Amir is riddled with guilt and jealousy. As a man in Fremont in Chapter 11, Amir finds that "America was a place to bury my memories." He is still the same as the young Amir, avoiding his actions and wanting to believe he did not have to pay the price for atonement. "Kabul had become a city of ghosts" while "America was a river, roaring along unmindful of the past." Paradoxically, America does not free Amir from his past and his childhood.

After ten more years pass, Amir realizes once and for all, he must atone for the past, no matter the cost, in order to be forgiven; in fact, "He must find a way to be good again" (Chap.14). It is not until Amir is able to face Assef and fight for Hassan's legacy that he can be freed from his youthful sin. 

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The Kite Runner

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