In "Kite Runner", Amir has a dream in which he sees his father wrestling a bear. Why is this important?What does this dream finally help Amir realize?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Amir has never been able to live up to his father's expectations.  He has always had a quiet, introspective nature, and has tended to avoid conflict at all costs, while his father was a forceful man, never afraid to stand up for what he believed was right.  Baba once told a friend that he worried about Amir, because "a boy who won't stand up for himself becomes a man who can't stand up to anything" (Ch.17).  Amir has always felt his father's disapproval of him, and has been resentful and ashamed of his own retiring tendencies. 

Amir dreams about his father wrestling with the bear as he lies in the hospital at Peshawar.  He is fading in and out of consciousness, having taken a terrible beating from his nemesis Assef in order to win the release of Sohrab, the son of Hassan, whom he has greatly wronged.  In his dream, Amir sees his father fighting courageously, and when he looks closer, he realizes that it is not his father who has vanquished the bear, but himself.  Amir says with amazement, "He's me.  I am wrestling the bear" (Ch.23).  Through his dream, Amir realizes that he has at long last overcome his fears and acted honorably, having done what he knows is right.  By returning to Afghanistan and snatching Sohrab from the clutches of the Taliban, he has earned his redemption, standing tall and firm and proud in his own eyes and in the memory of his father. 

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The Kite Runner

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