What are the effects of Amir's guilt upon his life, character, and relationships with Hassan and Baba in The Kite Runner?
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Amir's guilt over failing to come to Hassan's rescue when he is raped by Assef is so overwhelming that he can no longer stand to see Hassan in Baba's household. Amir concocts a plan to disgrace Hassan by placing his birthday presents under his bed--yet another sin for which he will be forever guilty. Amir's sins haunt him during his early years in California, and he is only able to cleanse himself when he returns to Afghanistan to find his nephew, Sohrab. Amir believes he will never be able to achieve the personal integrity which Baba has displayed throughout his life. He wonders whether he is a worthy husband for Soraya, and despite the successes he gains as a writer, he knows that there is something missing in his life. He suffers from insomnia and nightmares stemming from his acts of unkindness toward Hassan, and it is only when he receives the phone call from Rahim Khan, with the promise that
There is a way to be good again
that Amir recognizes what he must do. Amir's guilt forces him to return to Afghanistan, where the beating he takes from Assef is a giant leap in cleansing the shame he feels.
My body was broken-- ... but I felt healed. Healed at last.
Amir's final step toward absolution comes when he volunteers to run Sohrab's kite in the final chapter--an act which Sohrab's father had done so many times for Amir.
"For you, a thousand times over," I heard myself say... It didn't make everything all right. It didn't make anything all right... A tiny thing.
But I'll take it.
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