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Many of the major themes explored in The Kite Runner can be found in the pivotal actions taken by Amir in Chapter 22. The theme of journey and quest is finally realized when he first sees his nephew, Sohrab, in the flesh after making the long voyage from California to Pakistan and into the now-dangerous Afghanistan. It comes, ironically, inside Amir's old home on the Street of the Guests in Kabul, which now houses Taliban officials. The journey helps Amir fulfill another theme, that of self-discovery and identity. He is now an American, but dressed in a fake beard and Afghan clothing, he again feels close to his roots. He has finally completed the brave and dangerous mission that he has undertaken--to locate Hassan's son--and, though fearful of what may happen next, he feels more like a man than ever before. By locating Sohrab, the theme of family and heritage is also examined. Although others have questioned his motives for returning to war-torn Afghanistan for a lowly Hazara boy, Amir's recent knowledge that Sohrab shares his blood makes his journey one that must be completed successfully: Sohrab must be returned to safety. But the most important theme of the chapter is that of Amir's atonement. As Rahim Khan has reminded him,
There is a way to be good again.
It can only be accomplished by finding Sohrab, freeing him from the Taliban who enslave him, and getting him out of Afghanistan. Only then can Amir forgive himself for his past sins against Hassan. Amir is thunderstruck when the Taliban official who holds Sohrab is Assef, his old enemy--and the teen who raped Sohrab's father. When the two fight to gain control of the boy, Assef beats Amir unmercifully. But during the beating, Amir has a revelation: The pain is good. The harder he is beaten, the more Amir laughs.
"What's so funny?" Assef bellowed. What was so funny was that for the first time since the winter of 1975, I felt at peace. I laughed because... I'd even been looking forward to this... My body was broken--just how badly I wouldn't find out until later--but I felt healed. Healed at last.
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