Many an individual’s perspective and cause them to

Many individuals often feel guilty for a choice they
make in life. This guilt that exists in one’s self can have a tremendous impact
for their
entire lifeDV1 . Guilt has the incredible power to change an
individual’s perspective and cause them to make irrational decisions. The Kite RunnerDV2 , written by Khaled Hosseini, is a world-renowned
novel published in 2003 that tells the story of a young boy named Amir who
finds himself guilty of having failed to fight a boy who raped his friend. One
of the main themes Hosseini emphasizes in the novel is the powerful effect that
guilt has on one’s selfHO3 . Throughout the novel, different characters such as
Amir, Sanubar and Baba found themselves guilty for making a choice they
considered to be wrong. Hosseni portraysDV4  HO5 two different types of guilt characters face in the Kite Runner:  the first being misplaced guilt in which
individuals feel guilty when they aren’t responsible for the events they feel
guilty for, and the second is guilt that individuals  feel because of their own actions or inactions that they are
responsible for; DV6 these three characters exhibit these forms of guilt. The guilt
expressed by these characters affected their future decisions and the entirety
of the plot.  DV7 The Kite Runner
demonstrates that guilt can have a detrimental HO8 effect on one’s self. DV9 

The Kite Runner
demonstrates the theme of guilt through the main character, Amir. One decision
affected his actions for the rest of his life: in the beginning of the story,
Amir observes his close friend, Hassan, getting bullied by an older boy named
Aseef.  Amir was hesitant between making
the decision of running away or intervening. In the end, Amir decided to run
and not stand up for Hassan. Amir’s guilt developed from the moment he decided
to run away from the alley. However, the hidden message that Hosseni implies
throughout the novel is misplaced guilt; even if Amir intervened and stood up
for Hassan, he would stand no chance against the older boy, Aseef. As a result,
Amir unnecessarily feels guilty about what he did without realizing that he
wouldn’t have made a difference in the first place.  This one decision left a burden on Amir’s shoulders DV10 for the next
thirty years. As Amir expresses, “DV11 I wish someone
would wake me up, so I wouldn’t have to live with this lie anymore.”(88) This
quote explains the guilt that existed within Amir after seeing what happened to
Hassan. Throughout the text, Amir finds himself seeking opportunities to redeem
himself for his decision of not intervening in the situation when Hassan was
getting bullied. An example is when Amir tries throwing pomegranates at Hassan,
as an attempt to get Hassan to fight back and punish Amir. However, Hassan
refused to throw any pomegranates at Amir. Another quote states “I wanted Hassan to fight me back for the
way I failed himHO12 DV13 .”(94) Amir wanted
Hassan to fight him back so he could have the “punishment he craved” (93). Amir
wanted Hassan to hit him with pomegranates because of his guilt that wouldn’t
go away. Amir wanted to feel the act of being punished for his wrongdoing,
similar to how Hassan was punished due to Amir’s apparent mistake. This
demonstrates how Amir’s guilt causes him to make irrational decisions
throughout the novel. The guilt carried on with Amir into his adulthood as he
embarked on different journeys to seek redemption for the one decision he made
as a kid. An example is when Amir travels to Afghanistan to rescue Hassan’s orphaned
son from the harsh circumstances he was forced to face in Kabul. DV14 This is one
example of many of how Amir
made many (unsuccessful) attempts to pursue different opportunities to
free himself of his own guilt for the decision he made 20 years ago. Amir’s
guilt plagued his entire life and many of his future actions which revolved
around his guilt from one decision.

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Another character in Hosseini’s Kite Runner that demonstrates the effect of guilt on one’s self is
Baba. Similar to Amir, Baba’s own sense of guilt affects many of his decisions.
Contrary to his actions in the novel, Baba believed that lying was sinful
because . “when someone lied, they stole away someone’s right to the truth.” (223)
This quote implies one of Baba’s most important sins, lying.  However, as the novel progressed, Baba lies
to many characters such as Amir and Hassan demonstrating how Baba’s guilt
forced him to go against his morals.  Near the conclusion of the novel, the reader
realizes that Amir is Hassan’s half brother and that Hassan is Baba’s
biological father. However, Baba never reveals that information to neither Amir
nor Hassan, rather keeping  it secret,
committing the only sin that mattered to him, which was lying. Baba’s guilt
caused him to forcibly act ashamed of Amir for no reason. Baba stated, “There’s
always something missing with my son.”(19) This indicates that Baba always felt
something wrong with Amir, thus
criticizing him. DV15  Baba’s guilt for
not being a good father to his biological son, Hassan, led him to give preferential
treatment for Hassan while still having the appearance as a man with one son.
Baba did not want to feel remorse for giving Amir the luxurious life over his
legitimate son, Hassan. There are many examples in the text that demonstrate
how Baba’s guilt forces him towards lying to his legitimate son. An example
from the text is during chapter 8HO16 , DV17 when Hassan steals
Amir’s birthday money and Baba lies by forgiving Hassan, eventhough Baba acknowledged
the fact that Hassan stole Amir’s money. This illustrates how Baba’s guilt of
hiding the truth from Hassan, forced him to lie and forgive Hassan. Baba’s
guilt of lying to his illegitimate son, Amir, and hiding the truth from his
legitimateDV18  son, Hassan,
forced him to commit the only sin HO19 DV20 that mattered to
him, demonstrating guilt’s powerful impact on one’s self.


Another character affected by guilt is Sanubar.
Sanubar’s guilt affects many of her decisions and is the driving force of
nearly all her actions. After giving birth to Hassan, Sanubar left her family
to join a group of singers, leaving her family in the dustDV21 . When the
characters in the story find outthat Hassan is Baba’s biological son, it indicates
 that Sanubar and Baba committed
infidelity. Sanubar felt guilty of leavin her son from the fear  of the truth that she and Baba committed
adultery being exposed. As a result, Sanubar’s guilt forces her to leave her
son. A
quote states HO22 “She left Hassan
soon after she was done giving birth.” (18) This quote implies that Sanubar’s
guilt affected her decision to quickly leave her family. Thirty years later,
Sanubar is in her old age with several  physical
injuriesDV23 . She decides to
go to Hassan’s house and beg for forgiveness for the decision she made of
leaving him,  HO24 DV25 “(I) beg
forgiveness. (I) made a mistake when I left you.” This quote indicates how
regretful Sanubar felt after leaving Hassan, demonstrating the power guilt has  over one’s thoughts,  even begging Allah – the god she followed–for
forgiveness. Sanubar’s guilt for leaving Hassan forced her to come back to
Hassan’s lifeso she could be a good mother. The guilt that stemmed from one
decision that Sanubar made of leaving Hassan affected nearly all of her actions
and decisions she made throughout the novel.

The Kite Runner illustrated guilt’s powerful effect on one’s actions.
Hosseni uses Baba to demonstrate how guilt can even cause individuals to break
bonds between their loved ones. Minor characters such as Sanubar  show how guilt of a major decision can be
carried felt for a lifetime.Finally, Hosseni uses the main character, Amir, to
illustrate how the one decision he made of leaving his closest friend get bullied
affected him throughout his life.  As the
novel progressed, readers realized how one choice could affect someone’s life.
Guilt has a powerful impact on one’s self; it can completely change someone
from the inside out.