In The Kite Runner, what does Amir learn about himself when he returns to Afghanistan?
Give specific examples to defend your choices. Consider his conversation with Farid and his confrontation with Assef.
Amir's return to Afghanistan to find Sohrab proves to be the solution to his guilt and the source of the redemption that he so desperately seeks. He undergoes culture shock and a reawakening of sorts during the trip. Although he still considers himself a true Afghani, both Farid (at first) and Assef ridicule this notion. Farid assumes that Amir is a rich ex-patriot who has returned to sell his property; he changes his mind, however, when he learns that Amir's goal is to locate Sohrab. Farid's brother, Wahid, calls him
"an honorable man... A true Afghan."
Although Amir "cringed inside" at this suggestion, his guilt gradually dissipates during his stay. Depressed though he may be at the way the country of his birth has been devastated during the Russian and, later, Taliban rule, his memories are still alive. He realizes from the start of the trip that he is risking his life on this mission of discovery, but he continues on. The Taliban torture in the stadium sickens him, yet he pursues the Talib with the sunglasses because he knows it is the only way to find Sohrab. When he returns to his old home--ironically now the headquarters of the Talib leader with the sunglasses--he understands that he may never see the outside or his wife again. When Assef unveils his true identity, Amir is frightened; but the more Assef speaks, the angrier Amir becomes. Although he has no choice when he has to fight Assef for the right to take Sohrab, Amir seems to understand that his decision is the right one. The beating that he takes actually lifts the guilt that he has felt since he was a child, and how Assef's brass knuckles "warmed with my blood." It is the most courageous thing that Amir has ever done, and the many broken bones and injuries seem worth it in the end.