Identify the types of journeys developed in The Kite Runner, and explain how the book represents them.

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In The Kite Runner, physical, emotional, and psychological journeys are three main types presented. All the characters undergo at least one type, and most progress along several types of path.

As the protagonist, Amir shows the largest number and types of journey. His primary journey is growth and maturity. He gains understanding by reflecting on his actions, including his failure to help Hassan, which finally enables him to be a true partner to Soraya and care for Sohrab. The physical dislocation and relocation, however, is an important phase; Amir’s experiences in California help him see his native country in a new light, changing his perspective upon return.

Baba also undergoes all three types of journey. In Afghanistan, proud of his Sunni status, he was aloof from the social changes around him. In the United States, he gains humility and works at menial jobs to help his son. Although less obviously changed after they return, Baba's emotional state has changed, as he connects with a more compassionate side of himself. His final journey is through illness into death.

Sohrab undergoes numerous transformations in his journeys with and without his parents. From his early life in Kabul, he must face the ordeal of his parents’ murders and endure life in the orphanage. Traumatized into silence, his adoption by Amir and Soraya begins his healing journey back to speech, as well as his journey of life in America.

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The Kite Runner is indeed a novel about journeys—external and internal, literal and abstract, physical and spiritual. Amir's physical journey in returning to Afghanistan to save Hassan's son is dramatic and perilous as he moves throughout the country, observing the terrible effects of life under the Taliban. Amir lives in mortal danger every moment he remains in Afghanistan, and his experiences there contribute much to the novel's development of plot and theme, as well as the development of Amir's character. A second physical journey Amir makes is escaping from Afghanistan as a boy and traveling with Baba to settle in the United States.

Amir makes other journeys, as well, journeys that are internal, abstract, and deeply spiritual in nature. He moves through a troubled childhood to find his identity, personally and professionally. As a boy, Amir creates stories from his imagination; his desire to write and his talent for writing are evident very early in his life. Although he receives no understanding, encouragement, or appreciation from Baba, he persists. As a young adult living in California, he goes to college and finds success as a writer.

He also journeys from childhood into adulthood in achieving a meaningful and fulfilling relationship with his father. As a boy, Amir's relationship with Baba had been fraught with pain and conflict, contributing to Amir's deeply felt insecurities. In making their escape from Afghanistan and in making a new and difficult life in California, Amir and his father redefine their relationship. Amir becomes his father's partner and then his protector, caring for him as he dies of cancer. Amir achieves a loving relationship with Baba.

Finally, Amir's most profound journey is spiritual, one in which he faces his past, deals with his guilt, and finds redemption for his sins. For many years, Amir had lived with the guilt and shame of his betrayal of Hassan during their childhood. When given a chance "to be good again," he chooses to risk his life in returning to Afghanistan to save Hassan's son. In facing Assef and fighting for Sohrab, Amir finds he is capable of great courage and sacrifice. After living with torment and self-hatred, he finds peace and self-respect.

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