In The Kite Runner, what is the significance  of the scar that Amir develops as a result of the confrontation? Why is it important?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One of Hassan's defining physical features is his cleft lip that Baba pays to have surgically repaired. The scar from the surgical procedure remains and corresponds to the scar on Amir's upper lip that develops following his violent altercation with Assef. After Amir narrowly defeats Assef and escapes with serious injuries, he is left with a scar on his upper lip, which symbolically represents his sacrifice and atonement for his past sins. Hassan had always sacrificed and protected Amir as a child, but Amir did not return the favor. Later in life, Amir finds redemption by saving Hassan's son, Sohrab, from Assef, who is a maniacal Taliban official. In order for Amir to atone for his sins, he has to physically suffer and sacrifice his own life to save Sohrab. The scar symbolically represents Amir's sacrifice and serves as a reminder of all the times Hassan protects him during their childhoods.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

After recovering from the beating he endures in order to rescue Hassan's son Sohrab, Amir develops a scar on his lip which resembles the scar Hassan had born since childhood, also on his lip. This is both ironic and symbolic. Amir's new scar makes him more like Hassan, just as his rescue of Sohrab makes him more like Hassan: Amir rescued Sohrab from Assef, just as Hassan once had rescued Amir from Assef. To further the irony, it is with his slingshot that Sohrab saves Amir from being beaten to death by Assef, just as his father also had used his slingshot to save Amir from Assef many years before. Amir's scar becomes a badge of honor and courage. He is no longer isolated by the shame and guilt he had carried with him since he and Hassan had been children together.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial