Explain briefly how this point is reached and go on to discuss how the characters response to the situation extends your understanding of him/her. The contemporary classic ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini is a coming of age novel which follows Amir, the protagonist as he reaches a crucial crisis point in his life. Amir has lived a guilt filled life for 26 years since he abandoned his best friend, Hassan, in an alleyway to be raped by an older bully during their childhood. Amir reaches the crisis point of his life later in the novel and the way in which he responds to the situation extends the readers understanding of Amir. Amir reaches a crisis point at the climax of the novel when he is finally given the opportunity to compensate for his former misdoing after leaving Hassan in the alleyway. Amir travels back to his hometown to save Sohrab, Hassan’s son, from the Taliban. Amir becomes aware that the Talib official confining and abusing Sohrab is Assef, the same man who raped Sohrab’s dad, Hassan. In trying to save Sohrab, Amir ends up in a fight with Sohrab and begins to take a beating. ‘What was funny was that the first time since 1975, I felt at peace.
I laughed because in some hidden nook of my mind I was looking forward to this.’ Amirs objective was not to win the fight with Assef, but instead to save Hassan from Assef’s captivity and prevent him from receiving more gruelling sexual abuse. The reader becomes aware that in Amir doing so, Amir is symbolically interfering with Hassan’s rape, and is advancing in his journey to atone for his past. Hosseini introduces Amir in the opening chapter of the novel as an adult reflecting on a past event with great remorse. It is at this point when the reader is first given a sense of the situation that leads to the crisis point. ‘Looking back now; I realise I’ve been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years’ Foreshadowing is used as Amir reflects on his feelings, the reader is hinted that the alley is a great cause of anguish for Amir. The reader is shown that the memory, ‘claws its way out’ this connotes a very disturbing memory that he can’t hide from and will always be present in his mind causing him pain.
Rahim Khan’s phone call is another hint that Amir is suffering from a memory as the call ends ‘There is a way to be good again’. The crisis point is linked with this opening idea as Amir’s response to the call, is to try and save Sohrab. This further develops the readers understanding of Amir as he tries to redeem himself. In the key scene, it is unexpected that Amir’s inaction leads to the crisis point of the novel. ‘I had one last chance to make a decision. One final opportunity to decide who I was going to be. I could step into the alley, stand up for Hassan – the way he’d stood up for me all those times in the past – and accept whatever would happen to me. Or I could run. In the end, I ran.’ Amir was faced with a choice that would have consequences either way, risk his own safety or let Hassan be raped. Amir uses repetition of ‘one’ to emphasise how vital the decision he had to make was and the conceivable aftermath that could come of his decision.
The reader understands the difficult decision Amir makes through the use of repetition of ‘ran’ in combination with short sentences, it causes a panicking tone from Amir as he decides to be selfish and leave Hassan to his inevitable, shocking, unforgettable, rape. If Amir had stood up for Hassan in the alley, there would have been no crisis point and therefor no need for Amir to atone for his errors. Through the turning point in the novel, Amir realises while having a discussion with Rahim Khan that throughout his life, everything that had happened to him was due to his lack of response in the alley. Due to this understanding and realisation, Amir focus’s his life on saving Sohrab. ‘Rahim Khan had summoned me here to atone not just for my sins, but for Baba’s too.’ Rahim Khan is a vital link in Amir starting his exhibition to atone for his past, if it was not for Rahim Khan, Amir would be unable to do so.
Khan reveals to Amir that Baba was also Hassan’s father making Hassan Amir’s brother and Sohrab Amir’s nephew. Amir is further revealed to the reader as he decides to save Sohrab. Sohrab being sexually abused by the Taliban is also symbolically of an on-going rape towards Hassan, Amir takes control and ends the abuse towards Sohrab and the symbolic abuse towards Hassan. The reader is shown through Amir’s response that he has matures and able to take responsibility for his actions those years ago and do right by himself and Hassan. After the crisis point, Amir and Sohrab escape and flee back to America. Amir has finally managed to redeem himself for his past childhood all those years ago, it was what both Amir and the reader have desired for making the end of the novel highly emotional. ‘“For you a thousand times over.” I heard myself say. Then I turned and ran. It was only a smile, nothing more… I ran… I ran.’ The novel comes to an end with a pleasant diversity, it does not compare to the difficulty and hardship that is present throughout the rest of the novel, its end on a positive. Amir runs Sohrab’s kite for him while repeating Hassan’s meaningful words to him, ‘For you a thousand times over’.
By running Sohrab’s kite for him, Amir is relating back to his childhood and indorsing himself in the happy memories he shares with Hassan and trying to share them memories with Sohrab trying even further to atone. The readers understanding of Amir’s personality is deepened through the final words of the novel ‘I ran’ as these words hold great regret. In the turning point of the novel Amir ran and betrayed Hassan, but now Amir runs to atone for his past one final time and tries to be faithful once again to Hassan. In conclusion ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini is a very emotional novel following the maturation of the protagonist Amir as he tries to atone for his past. The novel incorporates some very hard hitting, sensitive topics that no one wishes to be involved in but as Amir grows up and tries to put right what he done wrong as a child the reader’s understanding of him grows and we no longer feel anger towards Amir but now at the end of the novel, the reader can forgive him and accept he has redeemed himself.