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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

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Some people believe they can escape their past, but if one does not atone for their sins, the guilt will engulf them and stay with them forever. In The Kite Runner, Amir, the main protagonist, tries to forget about his past and move on. Hassan, his best friend and Amir’s foil, is loyal and brave while Amir is weak and a coward. Amir’s father, Baba, is also an honorable man, however, keeps the secret about Hassan being his son to everyone, including him. Amir betrays Hassan because he believes Hassan is a sacrifice he has to make to win his father’s affection. Khaled Hosseini uses the character foil of Amir with Baba and Hassan to emphasize Amir’s lack of honorable qualities and how he must search for redemption to find peace with himself.
Throughout the beginning of the novel, Amir struggles to obtain approval from his father because he worries that Amir will grow up to become a coward instead of a true man like him. In a conversation with Rahim-Khan, Baba states, "A boy who won't stand up for himself becomes a man who can't stand up to anything"(22). Rahim-Khan assures Baba that Amir simply does not possess aggressiveness and upon hearing this, Amir begins to mistreat Hassan. Baba believes in doing the right thing even if it means sacrificing his own life, while Amir just wants to do what benefits him. Baba is very emotionally distant from his son because Amir is not a reflection of him which frustrates him. Baba even confesses that, "If [he] hadn’t seen the doctor pull him out of [his] wife with [his] own eyes, [he’d] never believe he’s [his] son” (24). Their personalities contrast greatly which is why Baba is Amir’s foil. Baba represents brawn whereas Amir represents weakness. They have no connection other than lineage. For th...

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...up. He feels like he finally gets what he deserves. "My body was broken—just how badly I wouldn't find out until later—but I felt healed. Healed at last. I laughed” (289). Amir grows up with many strong people in his life that bring out his cowardly nature but when he is on his journey of redemption, the characters push him to become a strong person as well.
Hosseini’s use of the character foil of Amir with Baba and Hassan highlights Amir’s cowardly characteristics and helps move the story along with how he must search for redemption to finally feel healed at last and become the man Baba wanted him to be. Amir’s desire for Baba’s attention led him to betray one of his best friends. Amir redeemed himself by taking in Sohrab and taking the role of the loving father that he never had. Amir finally realized that true redemption is when guilt and sin leads to good again.