What is the significance of Amir visiting the orphanage built by his father later in the book?  

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Amir's journey back to Afghanistan is a life-changing experience and is where he finally atones for his past sins by saving Hassan's son, Sohrab, from a life of abuse and poverty. As a child, Baba had built a magnificent two-story orphanage and was celebrated as a local hero throughout Kabul....

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Amir's journey back to Afghanistan is a life-changing experience and is where he finally atones for his past sins by saving Hassan's son, Sohrab, from a life of abuse and poverty. As a child, Baba had built a magnificent two-story orphanage and was celebrated as a local hero throughout Kabul. Despite Baba's benevolence, he refused to acknowledge his Hazara son, Hassan, and could only redeem himself by immigrating to America, where he was able to give Amir a second chance at life. As an adult, Amir returns to Kabul to find redemption and attempts to visit Baba's orphanage, which has since been destroyed and is simply a pile of debris. Baba's destroyed orphanage can symbolically represent his failed efforts as Hassan's father and is the result of a worn-torn nation. Despite Baba's best efforts to protect and raise local orphans, he refused to sacrifice his reputation and status by publicly acknowledging Hassan as a son. This information has a profound effect on Amir as an adult when Rahim Khan explains to him that Hassan is his half-brother. Baba's destroyed orphanage is also juxtaposed to the working orphanage in Kabul, which is run by Zaman, who makes his money by selling the children to sexually abusive Taliban soldiers. Both institutions do not serve their purpose and emphasize the devastating effects of the current political and social climate in Afghanistan.

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Much of the development of Amir's sense of himself comes from the trip to Afghanistan and finding out the true story of his brother Hassan and his father's life.  In this case, the fact that his father's orphanage was destroyed could be interpreted as symbolic for the fact that his father's attempt to care for Hassan who would have been an orphan in other circumstances also fell short despite his greatest efforts.  The discovery of the fact that his father's orphanage was destroyed is juxtaposed against the visit to the working orphanage to search for Sohrab.

Here Amir is furious with Farid, the director, when he learns that he has been willing to basically sell children to the Taliban in order to get some money for food and other necessities for the other children.  Here too the futility of a good man's best efforts are demonstrated with the horrid circumstances and terrible choices Farid has to make when it comes to taking care of the children.

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