The Kite Runner is a very popular and much studied novel. There are lots of study guides to help you understand the book and one that may interest you is Gradesaver. Below is an extract from their notes on Sin and Redemption, a theme we have talked a great deal about.
Sin and Redemption
In The Kite Runner, redemption is so important because sin is so enduring. Amir opens the story by telling us not about how exactly he sinned, but about sin’s endurance: “… 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.” Hosseini uses structure to emphasize the themes of sin and redemption. Because Amir tells the story in retrospect, every memory, even the blissful ones of his childhood before the rape, are tainted with it. If the timeline of the novel was strictly chronological, we would not have the power of hindsight. Hosseini uses the first chapter almost like a thesis for the novel. As Amir retells the story of his life, he weighs each event against his sin, his betrayal of Hassan. As we learn towards the novel’s end, Amir is not the only character who needs redemption, Assef notwithstanding. Until Rahim Khan reveals Baba’s secret, Amir thinks he is the only sinner among his family and friends. Even before Amir betrays him, Hassan makes him feel guilty simply by being such a righteous person. Amir is constantly trying to measure up to Baba, because he does not realize that Baba is so hard on him because of his guilt over his own sin.
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