Barely a Book Club

Teetering on the edge of a normal book club

Redemption, Really – 9/16/2006 September 14, 2006

Filed under: The Kite Runner — antof9 @ 8:52 pm

Sorry about my tardiness, it’s just been one of those weeks. Don’t forget to start bringing in book suggestions. We will be voting in just 3 weeks.

 – The theme of infertility in the book, not just among people but also of the land even in their lives.

 – Why Ali keep Hassan? Out of loyalty, sense of honor, his own inability to procreate?

This is the last week of The Kite Runner and I want everyone to really think about redemption this week. Did Amir really redeem himself? Did he need to? Think about it bring your thoughts. We will be meeting a the House of Commons @ 10:30. Bring money for their delicious scones!


9 Responses to “Redemption, Really – 9/16/2006”

  1. the prof Says:

    sorry i was so tired and out of it this week. but maybe we can spur some good conversations online. i didn’t really think the whole redemption issue was that big of a deal. i just wasn’t thinking to myself as i read, “i wonder how hassan will redeem himself.” maybe i just got too carried away with the story, but it didn’t feel like redemption was hassan’s goal, or the author’s goal either.

    so…. do we make a big deal out of this theme for nothing? or am i just missing it altogether. not that i didn’t see any threads of redemption in this story (my favorite line was from Rahim Khan’s letter: redemption is when guilt leads to good).

  2. Inspector Love Says:

    I also did not think as I read, “I wonder how AMIR will redeem himself.” However, in literature, when something is mentioned multiple times it’s usually important to the author.

    From the dictionary definition of redeem:

    2 : to free from what distresses or harms: b : to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental c : to release from blame or debt : CLEAR d : to free from the consequences of sin
    3 : to change for the better : REFORM
    6 a : to atone for : EXPIATE b (1) : to offset the bad effect of (2) : to make worthwhile :

    From the Kite Runner:
    “A dramatic moment of silence. Then, the older warrior would walk to the young one, embrace him, acknowledge his worthiness. Vindication. Salvation. Redemption…”

    If it’s not something Amir wants, then why would he bring it up? I think he wants to be freed from his guilt. He wants to be forgiven for not sticking up for Hassan, for not treating him like an equal, for falsely accusing him of stealing, etc. He wants to atone for his bad behavior. He wants to reform. It seems to me he wants redemption.

    Having said that, if that’s not what you get out of it, then that’s not what you get out of it. However, it was one of the discussion questions posted, so we discussed it.

    If redemption is not a big deal and the kite scenes are not important, than what is important in the book?

  3. the prof Says:

    finally… this is what my brain was too tired to reach for on saturday. great question inspector. i felt like we only passed over the significance/symbolism of the kite scenes, and yet it was one of the most relatable experiences of afghanistan. every american child grows up playing sports and wanting to please their parents – it is their rite of passage, and amir treats it the same way (they compare scars, etc.) The kite contests are amir’s only hope to please his father – everything else he does or likes to do is a failure in his father’s eyes.

    to me this is the importance of the kite scenes (rite of passage, only means of pleasing father), and it is no small accident that in these pivotal scenes someone is always set up for a sacrifice. They sacrifice their hands to play, and their pride is sacrificed when their kite goes sailing away, but the writer could have just as easily dealt with amir’s problems and the problems of racism or classism without requiring the sacrifice of hassan. so my question is: why the sacrifice? is the writer setting all this sacrifice up to create tension and plot twists in the story, or does he accurately portray life as it is in afghanistan (i.e. nothing is without cost)?

  4. Kylle Says:

    First off Prof…we did discuss the importance of the kite scenes but perhaps you were asleep.

    I don’t think any normal reader contemplates the themes of the book while reading but you can’t deny that redemption is a big part of this book. Without Amir’s decision to not stop the rape of Hassan then all we would have is a book about the social and cultural dynamics of living in Afghanistan. So my point is that the author isn’t writing about living in Afghanistan he is writing about cowardice, betrayal, and guilt. Something we all can relate to. Hassan is the conduit that brings this book into an emotional realm. Sure there are other elements…such as the Amir/Baba relationhip or the family/servant relationship but I think Amir’s treatment of Hassan is what shapes his character.

  5. the prof Says:

    yes, kylle, i remember you speaking up when someone asked what the significance of the kite scenes was, but no one else really did, or if they did i didn’t notice. and you’re right no one goes into a book thinking about it’s themes, but while reading Tolstoy, i couldn’t help but notice the author’s intentions as he illustrated certain points and themes in the actions of his characters. whereas in the kite runner, the themes are definitely there, but less obviously placed, and more organically achieved.

    i guess what i’m trying to say, is that redemption didn’t really feel like a driving force in the tension of the plot to me. to others it did, and i’m not criticizing that, but to me the plot was exciting and the tension was much more complex than will Amir redeem himself?

    i see your point about the author though. I agree that he isn’t writing about life in afghanistan, i just wondered if what he was writing about was skewed by the setting he put it in.

  6. Inspector Love Says:

    I also argued the importance of the kite scenes (i.e. who’s the Kite Runner? Both Hassan and Amir- does Amir running the kite in the end represent his transformation?), but I think you were a) sleeping or b) having an independent conversation. 😉

    We discussed the kite scenes, but it didn’t get very far. You haven’t mentioned your thoughts on the kite scenes…

    I think this book is complex and redemption is one aspect of the plot. When I read a book, I’m usually enjoying the story, but when I start discussing it with someone else, that’s when I start to think about it on another level.

    You still haven’t answered my initial question about what you think is important in the book. When you say the tension was much more complex than will Amir redeem himself- I agree I wasn’t thinking about that at the time, but when I look back and think about it, the redemption theme gives me more insight into Amir’s character.

    Without putting too much thought into it, The Kite Runner is a great story. The first time I read it, I couldn’t put it down, especially when Amir returned to Afghanistan. We see the story told through the protagonist’s eyes and what’s interesting to me is that I didn’t always like Amir. In many novels, we are expected to sympathize with the main character, but Amir is more complicated than that and since he is hard on himself, I was hard on him, too, at times. When you put his story in the context of real life, people are complex, relationships are complex, politics are complex. It’s not easy to put people in a box. If we try to see the big picture, then we will probably judge people less harshly, even if they do something we don’t like.

  7. the prof Says:

    what is important in the book – inspector’s first question. we could debate the difference between where the author places the importance, and what we decide is important, but that is for another day..

    is it possible for me to melt down this book or any book to a slogan or a sentence, and can i prioritize one aspect out of any others? also questions that can be saved. my theme for the day will be: love.

  8. Inspector Love Says:

    Sorry, I made a mistake- you did discuss your thoughts on the kite scenes and I agree with you.

    Interesting last post, prof. I don’t think I’ve ever had a personal “theme for the day.” 🙂

    My theme for the day is “I’m done discussing the Kite Runner.”

  9. the prof Says:

    by theme for the day, i meant that i think one of the most important themes in kite runner is love.

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