What is the significance of this passage in the novel The Kite Runner?
“It was only a smile, nothing more. It didn't make everything all right. It didn't make ANYTHING all right. Only a smile. A tiny thing. A leaf in the woods, shaking in the wake of a startled bird's flight.
"But I'll take it. With open arms. Because when spring comes, it melts the snow one flake at a time, and maybe I just witnessed the first flake melting.”
These quotes, coming from the final page of The Kite Runner, detail the breaking of the ice between Amir and his nephew, Sohrab. Sohrab, who refuses to speak and never smiles after returning with Amir to California, has agreed to allow Amir to run the kite for him--just as Sohrab's father, Hassan, had done so many times before for Amir. Sohrab acknowledges Amir's request with just the slightest hint of a nod, but for Amir, it is a giant leap forward in his relationship with his nephew. The acceptance by Sohrab does not make up for any of Amir's past sins, nor does it mean that Sohrab has recovered from the traumatic experiences he suffered in Afghanistan. But it is a start, and author Khaled Hosseini symbolically compares it to the melting of a single snowflake, the beginning of a new spring. Amir does not waste the moment: He runs the kite for his nephew, taking Hassan's place as the kite runner; and he runs with a smile on his face, just as Hassan had always done--another step in the atonement that Amir seeks for his past transgressions.