How does Soraya find redemption for her sin in The Kite Runner?  

Soraya finds redemption for her sins by being a good person, without the need of being prompted, while Amir needs a little push and her example to pursue his own.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

It's important to understand that Soraya's sin is very much a question of the point of view. For one, the reader could be unsure of what exactly her sin is . It could be either the fact that she ran off with a man when she was young and they...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

It's important to understand that Soraya's sin is very much a question of the point of view. For one, the reader could be unsure of what exactly her sin is. It could be either the fact that she ran off with a man when she was young and they didn't marry. That kind of a life isn't considered acceptable for an Afghan woman, as her father kept reminding her. Or it could be that Soraya's actions caused her mother to have a stroke, since she didn't think her behavior to be appropriate either.

The issue of a sin is difficult, therefore. Soraya herself feels guilty only for the part she played in her mother's stroke, although she does also understand that she can't be responsible for someone else's mental state. It's not up to a person to act according to everyone else's moral standards to preserve their health, but since it was her mother, Soraya naturally has regrets. Concerning the rest, she doesn't agree, given that she vehemently disapproves of the way women are treated in her society. In short, Soraya views her sin as something that has been bestowed upon her, rather than something that she feels herself. She brought shame to her family, so she kind of assumes everyone sees her through that lens, but Amir does not. He has burdens of his own and doesn't care about her past.

Soraya's redemption is a complicated matter, due to all that. She atones by admitting her mistakes to Amir, by caring for him and Baba, and by providing Sohrab with a loving family. It's just the question of whether she really has anything to redeem or not. The fact is that Soraya is troubled like Amir is, but unlike him, she actively makes an effort to be better for it. She shows kindness and understanding, just like she'd like to be understood. In contrast to Amir, Soraya finds redemption for sins imaginary and real by being a good person without being prompted, while her husband needs a little push and her example to pursue his own.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

As was mentioned in the previous post, Soraya brought shame to her family by running away with an Afghan man when she was eighteen years old. Fortunately, Soraya's father rescued her by forcing her to leave the man and proceeded to move the family to California. However, Soraya's mother had a stroke while her daughter was living with the Afghan man, who was on drugs, and Soraya felt extremely guilty when she returned home. In a way, Soraya redeems herself by telling Amir the secrets of her past. Her act of confession emotionally redeems her from her past sins, unlike Amir, who continues to repress his feelings of guilt. As Amir and Soraya begin their life together, Soraya is a supportive wife who encourages her husband in everything he does. She selflessly cares for Baba during his last days and allows Amir to travel back to the Middle East to clear his conscience. Her ultimate act of redemption happens when she accepts Sohrab into her home as her adopted son. Soraya's selfless act saves Sohrab's life and provides Amir his opportunity to find redemption.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Soraya had committed a sin that was unforgivable to the strict Afghan community, and especially to her conservative father, General Taheri: She had run off with a man, done drugs, and had lived with him for a month. Her father had to forcibly return her to their home in Virginia, and her mother suffered a stroke because of the ordeal--a physical reminder that would always remind Soraya of her misdeed. They then moved to California to escape the shame that would forever follow them. She found her redemption in one way by simply confessing her sin to Amir, who forgave her and still wanted to marry her.

I envied her. Her secret was out. Spoken. Dealt with... I suspected there were many ways in which Soraya Taheri was a better person than me.

She redeemed herself again when she invited Baba to live with them during his final days battling the cancer that would kill him, and nursing him when necessary. She atones for her sin by unquestioningly allowing Amir to return to Pakistan and, later, Afghanistan, so he can seek the redemption that he so badly desires, following Rahim Khan's promise that

There is a way to be good again.

Finally, Soraya accepts Sohrab into their family, fulfilling her own redemption and Amir's as well, and finding a way to create their own family after her unsuccessful attempts to give birth herself.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team