In The Kite Runner, to what extent is Amir able to redeem himself for his childhood mistakes?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Amir's most egregious mistake as a child was to betray Hassan and leave him to be raped by bullies. As an adult, he is still haunted by the memory, but manages to put it mostly behind him. However, when he discovers that Hassan was actually his half-brother, the guilt and shame returns stronger than before:

True, I hadn’t made Ali step on the land mine, and I hadn’t brought the Taliban to the house to shoot Hassan. But I had driven Hassan and Ali out of the house. Was it too far-fetched to imagine that things might have turned out differently if I hadn’t?
(Hosseini, The Kite Runner, Google Books)

To redeem himself, Amir travels to Afghanistan to save Hassan's son Sohrab. While he is successful, Sohrab is cruelly abused and becomes almost catatonic; through hard work, Amir is finally able to connect with Sohrab over memories of Hassan, and in the end, runs to get Sohrab's kite as Hassan ran for his years earlier. His redemption is largely symbolic, but in his mind, he has done all that he can, and is comforted.

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The Kite Runner

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