The Path to Redemption in The Kite Runner, a Novel by Khaled Hosseini

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In The Kite Runner, Khalid Hosseini creates a tragic story filled with multiple losses and victories for his primary characters Enhanced by the first person point of View, the author showcases a self-deprecating tone which turns hopeful that manifests throughout the book for a better understanding of the main characters goals, guilt, and aspirations, Through literary devices like irony, symbolism, and foreshadowing, the author communicates that guilt from betrayal or incompetency can lead to an unexpected but satisfying recovery Hosseini uses irony in various instances throughout the book to further his aggressive theme of redemption from betrayaL In its first occurrence, Amir witnesses the rape of his servant Hassan and says “I watched them close in on the boy I’d grown up with the boy whose harelipped face had been my first memory”.

The first view of irony about this situation is the dramatic aspect of the readers knowing that Amir saw Hassan get raped but he himself did not know and still continues to act honorably.

This situation also highlights Hassan’s goal of getting the blue kite back to his father for affirmation through cold hearted betrayal. The event however, draws Hassan closer to Baba and proves that what Baba had said about Amir being a coward was somewhat true. Though it may not be a good type of recovery, the betrayal of his friend Hassan, did end up in an ultimately victorious riddance of Hassan, Because he did not know that his half brother was Hassan, this caused even further irony in the fact that both Amir and his father had betrayed their friends and were consequently living life trying to right the wrongs of their past, The author also uses irony when Amir pays the price for Sohrab‘s freedon during his fight with Assef “That was the first time I‘d fought anyone, I had never so much as thrown a punch in my entire life” .

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It is ironic that the same person he must battle in order to redeem himself is the same one who caused most of his guilt. Through irony, the author is able to enforce his apparent theme of the journey to full liberation. Symbolism is a big part of the books explanation of guilt and redemption’s connection to betrayal. The most prominent symbol is the kite and it is even pronounced within the title of the book. The kite symbolizes both betrayal and victory through redemption. In the beginning of the story, Hassan stood up forAmir before he was raped by Assef and Amir says, “I could see the fear creeping into Hassan‘s eyes, but he shook his head. ‘Amir agha won the tournament and I ran this kite for him. (60). At this moment the author chooses to use an epiphany within Amir, making him realize that for something as little as a kite, Hassan would risk his life to help him, The author uses the kite at this point in the book to showcase the betrayal that Amir will eventually have to atone for. Later on however, the kite serves as a symbol for rekindled relationships between Amir and his nephew. Hosseini also uses Hassan’s lip as a symbol in the book. Hassan is always smiling however after he gets a surgery past the traumatizing rape, his smile does fade. The author says he was, “a boy with a Chinese doll face perpetually lit by a harelipped smile” .

The clef in his lip symbolizes the broken smile he grows to have after his experiences. Later on in the book, Amir gets a busted lip from getting beaten by Assef, Hassan’s former perpetrator as well. Like Hassan’s clef lip, Amir’s symbolizes a sort of painful redemption. Symbols in The Kite Runner, are used to emphasize that what was once a betrayal can turn into a beautiful and victorious story. As the story progresses, Khalid Hosseini uses a faint foreshadowing of events to create an interest in what the characters would ultimately do to redeem themselves. The entirety of the first chapter foreshadows the book as Hosseini introduces us to the connected characters in the book discreetly, creating a sense of curiosity within his readers. This can be seen through the statement Amir makes about the past as he says “That was a long time ago,but it’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out.“  This sentence particularly foreshadows the event in the alley which clawed its way out into Amir‘s life. The authors tone in this particular chapter is remorseful as well, heightening the effect of foreshadowing the events.

There is also a powerful moment of foreshadowing when Amir says “Hassan’s face changed. Maybe not_changed_not really, but suddenly I had the feeling I was looking at two faces, the one I knew, the one that was my first memory, and another, a second face, this one lurking just beneath the surface”(44)i Here, the author foreshadows the connection between Amir and Hassan as brothers faintly making his readers realize that Amir would have to live up to the standards of the Hassan with both faces, Through constant foreshadowing, the author creates angst as we wait for the next characters heroic actions. Usually, the initial sin is what haunts and dooms a person’s life, and this is no difference when it comes to the main characters in the book However, the author vividly creates a story where the guilt from the characters overflows into a fight for redemption, Through the use of irony, symbols, and foreshadowing, Khalid Hosseini enforces his message that redemption supersedes betrayal and guilt.

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The Path to Redemption in The Kite Runner, a Novel by Khaled Hosseini. (2022, Sep 07). Retrieved from

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