Discussion Topic

Amir's responsibility and potential forgiveness regarding Hassan's suffering in The Kite Runner

Summary:

In The Kite Runner, Amir feels deep guilt and responsibility for Hassan's suffering due to his betrayal and failure to defend him. Amir's journey to seek forgiveness involves rescuing Hassan's son, Sohrab, which symbolizes his attempt to atone for his past mistakes and find redemption.

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Should Amir be forgiven for his actions towards Hassan in The Kite Runner?

I would argue that Amir should be forgiven because he was young and naive when he treated Hassan so abominably. Furthermore, if we accept as a general principle that it's unfair for someone to be held accountable for the rest of their lives for something they did as a child, then it's difficult not to forgive Amir.

That doesn't in any way excuse his appalling behavior. Instead of reaching out to Hassan after his terrible ordeal, instead of showing care and consideration towards someone who was supposed to be his friend, Amir conspired to have him banished from the village. No one in their right mind would ever regard such behavior as acceptable.

Yet, in order to evaluate Amir's actions properly, one needs to recognize the context in which he made his fateful decision to get Baba to send Hassan away. Amir felt, not unreasonably, that Baba was lavishing too much attention on Hassan, the kind of attention to which he, as Baba's son, was entitled. Amir genuinely felt that he was losing his father and that as long as Hassan was around, he would never have the opportunity to develop a proper relationship with him.

So although we can certainly condemn Amir for his actions, we can empathize with him at the same time. It is through such empathy that we are able to forgive him for what he's done.

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Should Amir be forgiven for his actions towards Hassan in The Kite Runner?

In the novel, "The Kite Runner," we meet Amir as a young boy who is starving for the attention of his father.  We see that he is a product of his upbringing.  Hassan and his family were of the servant Hazara class and beneath Amir and his father in the Afghanistan culture.  Hassan was Amir's servant.  They became friends because they spent so much time together.  Amir admits early in the novel that he encouraged Hassan to do things even though he knew it would be Hassan who would get into trouble.

However, no matter how close the boys were Amir always felt superior and acted that way.  His father encouraged Amir to be more assertive and to stand up for himself.  When Hassan was raped, Amir was to frightened to come forward and help.

At the end of the novel Amir overcomes his fear to rescue his nephew.  Amir redeems himself and should be forgiven.  God forgives all manner of sin, so who is man to deny forgiveness?

"Amir makes great sacrifices to pursue his quest to atone for past sins by rescuing his half nephew. Symbolized by the bleeding fingers of kite-fighters who cut their competitors' kites out of the sky with string embedded with glass, sacrifice is an important theme of the novel."

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Is Amir entirely to blame for Hassan's suffering in The Kite Runner?

Amir's blame for the suffering of Hassan is more obvious than the blame of Baba.  Amir was a boy who wanted his father's love.  He knew what he had been taught and he believed that Hassan, even though a friend, is a lower class citizen and a servant boy.  When Hassan was raped Amir should have come to his defense by telling someone what happened.  His turning on Hassan caused suffering for Hassan because he had unconditional love for Amir.  Baba, on the other hand, was and adult.  He knew that Hassan was his son, yet he let his social status control his behavior in this situation.  He never told his son that Hassan was his half brother, and he never told Hassan that he was his father.  Baba laid the foundation for all of Hassan's suffering by not owning up to his part in the conception of Hassan.

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