'That was the Night I Became an Insomniac': Guilt, Trauma and Recovery in Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner
Keywords:Childhood Sexual Abuse, Rape, Betrayal, Guilt, Trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Redemption
‘The Kite Runner’ is the debut novel written by Afghan American author Khaled Hosseini. This novel is the story of Amir and Hassan, who struggles to find their space in the world because of the after-effects and fallout from a series of traumatic childhood events.The story is told by its lead character Amir who is a Pashtun belongs to the upper social class. Hassan is a Hazara who belongs to a socially backward class. Both Amir and Hassan are inseparable best friends until the day when Amir witnesses Hassan being raped by Aseef. Amir could not do anything to save Hassan and also ignores the incident and hides in silence. Rather, he drives away Hassan from his home with a false accusation to forget his trauma. But it actually intensified his guilt and trauma. Later, political instability in Afghanistan forces Amir and his father to flee to Pakistan and later to the United States. Years later Amir gets a call from his uncle when he becomes aware that Hassan has been killed and that he was Amir’s half-brother. He also learns that Hassan’s son Sohrab is in Taliban’s clutches. Amir takes it as a call for his redemption and sets to Taliban ruled Afghanistan to save Sohrab and bring him back to the United States. This study focuses on the role of guilt leading to psychological trauma, socio-cultural factors effecting the individual's and the collective trauma, and also analysing the recovery process of the traumatised characters. The message of this narrative is that social stratification of individuals or groups makes them an easy victim. A broader understanding of social equality can help in preventing traumatic evils thereby creating a safer society.
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