Kite Runner Shame

7 July 2016

The novel The Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini is about a grown man who looks back to 26 years before in his life when he was a boy in Afghanistan and looks at the events which helped shape him to become who he is now in America. There are various types of shame displayed in the text which all have a destructive force damaging them forever, this includes Amir’s shame felt from watching Hassan get raped and doing nothing about it except running away, Baba felling shameful for sleeping with Ali’s wife and getting her pregnant and Soraya is shameful for running of with an Afghan man disobeying her parents.

The novel shows Amir feeling shame throughout the whole novel as one bad decision as a child begins to haunt him forever trying to destroy him emotionally. Amir looks back to the time in his life where he watched his best friend and servant get raped whilst he does nothing about it. He holds on to this regret forever as his shame overwhelms him. When he sees Assef raping Hassan, Amir just stands there watching doing nothing about it then he “ran because I’m a coward. I was afraid of Assef and what he would do to me”.

Because of this situation Amir felt guilt as “the thing with Hassan was because he was so goddamn pure, you always felt like a phony around him”. Amir was responsible for Ali and Hassan moving out of their house as Amir framed Hassan to look like he was stealing despite the fact that was not like Hassan at all this was because Baba once told Amir that theft was the only sin. Because of Amir making Hassan move out, the brothers never got to see each other ever again and every time Amir heard Hassan’s name he tried to ignore it but deep down the shame was still following him everywhere as it was such a destructive force.

Baba felt shameful for sleeping with Ali wife and making her pregnant and when she ran away Baba lived with his son, Hassan, although no one would ever know that it was his as Hassan was a Hazara and “all he (Baba) had back then was his honour and if people talked…. we couldn’t tell anyone”. Due to Baba constantly feeling shameful about everything Hassan does he tries to redeem himself to cover the shame felt. He does this by building an orphanage and constantly donating to the poor although nothing can ever redeem him fully for the sin he did.

He tries to teach Amir about how “there is only one sin, theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft, when you cheat you steal the right to fairness” as Baba does not want Amir to be in the same situation as him feeling shameful for what he did in the past as it constantly holds him back. When Amir finds out about the situation he states “how could you hide this from me” although everyone did as “it was a shameful situation, people would talk”. This shows how due to Baba sleeping with his servants wife the shame holds him back forever.

Soraya shows shame in the novel for running off with an Afghan man in America disobeying her parents. The relationship with the man only lasted a month before she came back to her family. When she came home “I saw my mother had had a stroke, the right side of her face was paralysed and…I felt so guilty” as she realised this was brought on by her mother’s stress of her leaving. This shame created manages to hold her back from dating other men as she regrets the past so much.

Soraya shows guilt when planning on marrying Amir as he does not know about her past so when Soraya rings Amir to tell him she feels ashamed for what she has done although Amir helps pull her through as he believes “how could I, of all people, chastise someone for their past? ” Soraya has always felt this shame hold her back as her parents were so ashamed although when she tells Amir she was surprised by how easily he took it, not knowing everything he was holding back which shows how shame can be such a destructive force.

The novel The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini shows various ways that shame can be a destructive force holding you back as Amir shows shame for running away whilst Hassan was getting raped then framing him for theft as he knew theft is the only sin. Baba felt shameful for sleeping with Ali life then watching his own son grow up without anyone knowing Hassan was actually his and Soraya running off with an Afghan man in America causing so much stress on her mother than she had a stroke.

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