GUILT/BETRAYAL Vanessa Rodriguez 5th

Guilt is something you cannot forget despite all your attempts. It is the cobwebs in your basement, the dust in your furniture. In Khaled Hosseini's novel, "The Kite Runner", the author describes a fictional story about a young boy, Amir, who grows and struggles to find the essence of who he truly is. This conflict grows when his friend Hassan suffers a traumatic abuse that Amir could have prevented. The idea of guilt and betrayal affects how all the characters perceive themselves and each other throughout the novel. Hosseini develops the impact of guilt and betrayal as a theme by having it create a sense of unhappiness, help put the pieces together of the main character's childhood, and by preventing complete honesty between characters.

When unfortunate events occur, it is part of our nature to become upset. In this novel, when Amir witnesses Hassan's rape and does not stand up for him, the guilt that builds up continues to haunt him at night. He describes that feeling in these words, "A part of me was hoping someone would wake up and hear, so i wouldn't have to live with this lie anymore." This example displays the sadness and despair that Amir lived in. Clearly, the use of guilt in this part of the story brings the character a gloomy aspect to his life. Similarly, when Baba throws Amir a massive birthday party, Amir describes how he was not happy at all when he had to greet Assef by saying this, "I tried to fake a smile, but all I could manage was a feeble upturning of the corners of my mouth." This quotation conveys that facing the guilt, which in this case was Assef's presence, made Amir become upset and disturbed by it. His guilt crept back to make life more difficult emotionally.

The idea of betrayal displayed in the story helped understand past events that had not given the reader clarity. For example, when Rahim Khan confessed to Amir that Baba was also Hassan's father, Amir reacts the following way, "I was learning that Baba had been a thief. And a thief of the worst kind." This quote reveals the connection Amir makes between discovering his father lied to him and a conversation they had about the worst sin in Baba's eyes, stealing. Clearly, the development of this betrayal helps Amir comprehend why his father acted the way he did. In addition, once Amir processes what he has been told, he then concludes this about both his father and himself, "We had both betrayed the people who would have given their lives for us." Clearly, Amir now believes Baba and him were not all that different because they both deeply regretted their past. The betrayal helped develop comprehension of Amir's childhood experiences.

In this novel, the development of guilt also caused a lack of honesty between Amir and two of the most important people in his life. For instance, when Soraya talks to him about her past with another man, Amir accepts her but does not confess his own past to his fiancee. He had the opportunity to say something but instead he does this, "I opened my mouth and almost told her about how I'd betrayed Hassan, lied, driven him out." This quotation illustrates the hesitation Amir feels when it comes to being truthful about himself. Clearly, guilt plays a role in his decision to remain silent about his past. Similarly, once Amir learns about Baba's secret, he expresses how he feels about Baba lying to him for most of his life by saying, "I think he was ashamed of himself." Amir decides to accept Baba's guilt for his actions despite the fact they both hid secrets of their own. Clearly, the constant lying was caused by the guilt both characters felt throughout the novel.

The role of guilt and betrayal is practically what keeps this story going. It helps with plot development and makes us learn just how much a person can do out of guilt or to quit feeling guilty. Overall, this topic can be a very powerful thing that influences one's actions and thoughts.


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