Khaled Hosseini explores the theme of past affecting the present in his celebrated novel The Kite Runner through Amir and Baba's journey to seek redemption. Baba and Amir both betray their best friends and are overwhelmed with guilt and shame stemming from their actions. Both characters carry their guilt with them through life and eventually make sacrifices to atone for their sins and redeem themselves, which positively affects the lives of others.
Baba betrayed Ali by sleeping with his wife and refusing to acknowledge Hassan as his son. Baba hides the truth behind his illegitimate son and even keeps his dark secret from Amir. In order to atone for his sins and find redemption, Baba sacrifices everything to give Amir a second chance at life in America. In America, Baba experiences a difficult life, but his sacrifice allows Amir to earn an education and become a writer. The guilt stemming from Baba's past positively affects Amir's future.
As an adolescent, Amir betrayed Hassan by refusing to intervene while Assef was raping him. Amir struggles to overcome the guilt and shame of not helping his close friend and carries his negative feelings with him into adulthood. One day, Amir receives a phone call from Rahim Khan telling him that there is a way to become good again. Amir then travels to Pakistan, where he learns that Hassan was his half brother and decides to atone for his sins by saving Hassan's son, Sohrab. Amir's checkered past and guilt motivate him to seek redemption by saving and adopting Sohrab.
In both scenarios, Baba's and Amir's pasts influence them to seek redemption, which positively affects someone else's future. Through Baba and Amir's journey, Hosseini highlights the fluid relationship between the past and present and illustrates that true redemption is "when guilt leads to good."