In the novel The Kite Runner, the author Khaled Hosseini rarely mentions religion, but in a way, it plays a big role in the growth of the main character, Amir. In the beginning of the novel, Amir first questions his religion. Either he can listen to a “mullah” who taught that drinking was a sin, or he can listen to his more westernized father who thinks that religion is meaningless and drinks for his enjoyment. As one works their way through the novel, religion at first appears as a minor role, and eventually evolves into a much greater role in the life of Amir.
The first important instance of Religion, appears in chapter three when Amir learns about sin and drinking. “Mullah Fatiullah Khan”, a teacher who taught Amir about Islam, said that “Islam considered drinking a terrible sin”, and that drinkers would one day answer for this on “the day of Qiyamat, Judgment Day”. Amir tells Baba, Amir’s father, about what he learned and Baba responds by saying that Amir has “confused what [he’s] learning in school with actual education”, says that “no matter what the mullah teaches, there is only one sin”, and that one sin was theft.
Killing, cheating, lying, were all variations of theft. Amir blames himself for killing his mother, and believed that Baba hated him for this. Many people seek forgiveness through religion, but at this point of the novel, Amir has no idea which religion he should turn to. This young Amir seems as if he is indifferent toward Religion, and maybe might not care for it as a traditional follower of Islam would. Even though it seems this way, he will carry religion with him throughout the novel and will become a greater part in his life as he matures.
In chapter twenty-four of The Kite Runner, Amir talks to the American Embassy about adopting Sohrab, Hassan’s son that Amir rescues from a Taliban official, and a man says that Sohrab is going to need to go to an orphanage again. Sohrab did not like the idea of being in an orphanage again and tries to commit suicide by slitting his wrists. Amir is able to get Sohrab to the hospital, then finds a white bed sheet and locates west so that he could pray. When he puts his forehead to the ground, he remembers that he hasn’t “prayed for over fifteen years” and has “long forgotten the words” but it did not matter to him.
He then speaks the words he still did remember. In his prayer he says that he can now see that “Baba was wrong” and prays for forgiveness of his sins, betrayal, and lies. Amir promises to become a good follower and for his last words he asks for one last thing and says, “My hands are stained with Hassan’s blood; I pray God doesn’t let them get stained with the blood of his boy too. ” I stated previously that many people seek for forgiveness through religion. For most of Amir’s life, guilt was carried with him and was never able to forgive himself.
When he was in times of need, like his father’s diagnosis or Sohrab’s suicide attempt, he sought to his faith. This shows that Amir unconsciously also carried his faith throughout his life. Amir is a very introverted main character, but when he turns to his faith, the reader is truly aware of his feelings. Amir needs to believe in god to provide an agent for forgiveness. His faith will finally allow him to forgive himself, and will ultimately make Amir become more mature, and a man like his father. Months later on a Sunday morning, Amir gets out of bed and prays the “morning namaz”, and did not “have to consult the prayer pamphlet”.
He says that “the verses came naturally now”. This shows that Amir has now accepted his faith and has grown from it. Amir’s religion and guilt played hand in hand with another. By reconciling and coming to terms with his betrayal of Hassan, he can finally now embrace Islam. 2. In the years of 1978 and before, Afghanistan was a peaceful country. The citizens relatively had freedoms, but with the arrival of the Russians and Taliban, these freedoms were to diminish. These political changes in Afghanistan have a direct effect on the characters lives in The Kite Runner.
In chapter five, one reads about the first shootings that Amir hears. There were gun shots and explosions in the streets that lasted less than an hour. Those were “foreign sounds” to the Afghan people then. “The generation of Afghan children whose ears would know nothing but the sounds of bombs and gunfire was not yet born. ” Amir then states that “The end, the official end, would come first in April 1978 with the communist coup d’etat, and then in December 1979, when Russian tanks would roll into the very same streets here Hassan and I played, bringing the death of the Afghanistan I knew and marking the start of a still ongoing era of bloodletting. ” This is the part of the story where everything begins to change for the characters in The Kite Runner. The communist takeover of Afghanistan would drive Baba and Amir, along with other privileged class, into exile. The political situation in Afghanistan had led to a point where “you couldn’t trust anyone in Kabul anymore” and “for a fee… people told on each other”.
Dead bodies would turn up on the sides of the streets with bullets in their heads. Baba had to then make arrangements for him and Amir to flee to Pakistan. Baba and Amir would have to leave their old life behind them. Baba would have to leave his life of luxury and wealth. Amir left behind his childhood life, and left his betrayal of Hassan in Kabul, which will carry with him throughout the novel. Amir states that “For me, America was a place to bury my memories. For Baba, a place to mourn his. When they settled in Fremont, California, Baba has a hard time fitting in and would eventually become unhappy working at a gas station. Amir on the other hand will have the opportunity to go to school and graduate college. The move to America is a set back for Baba, but for Amir, it will allow him to grow as a man. Amir would eventually return to Kabul in search for his nephew Sohrab. When Amir sees the streets of Kabul, he noticed that they are flooded with beggars. “
They squatted at every street corner, dressed in shredded burlap bags, mud-caked hands held out for a coin. The shocking thing here is that these beggars are mostly children, no older than six or five sitting at the laps of their mothers. Amir states that “the wars had made fathers a rare commodity in Afghanistan. ” Hosseini paints a picture of the living situation that Amir’s half-brother Hassan was stuck to live with. Hassan was not privileged enough to flee, and had to live in this war torn Afghanistan. Amir’s nephew Sohrab is one of the unfortunate children that is born into a life of gun fire, explosion, and poverty. It is up to Amir to become a man and find “a way to be good again. ”