In chapter 17 the narrative changes back to Amir's perspective. This is a very interesting chapter and one that doesn’t surprise me in the way that Amir is so deep in denial towards Hassan. I think Hosseini uses Amir’s voice in this chapter to demonstrate his sense of loss, and regret.
It begins with rubbing the salt in Amir’s wound. Amir reads a letter from Hassan, who is surprisingly upbeat and good natured, as if nothing ever happened all those years ago (which is exactly what we’d expect from Hassan’s forgiving, relentlessly good willed character). This does however shock Amir. Amir remarks ‘I read the letter twice’, almost in disbelief that Hassan could still be so impossibly nice, he puts at the end of the letter ‘you will find an old faithful friend waiting for you’. This phrase once again shows us Hassan’s willing dedication to Amir, his respect and forgiving heart. Hassan is pure and free, and Amir is jealous of Hassan but still guilty at the same time.
We then find out that to our disgust Hassan was murdered, once again he is hurt due to standing up for Amir. Hassan was shot because he refused to leave Amir’s house, not wanted it to be overtaken by unwanted people. Hassan wanted to respect Amir and Baba and it ended up getting him killed. Amir is overwhelmed with guilt and disbelief that he crumples into denial over Hassan, repeating ‘no, no, no’ over and over again.
I would have thought that this was the biggest persuasive event for Amir to do almost anything to set himself free, to give himself even the smallest little piece of hope for himself to feel like he is a good person again, but instead he is once again presented at the same selfish, ungrateful, un-heroic character that we have seen throughout. He could go to the orphanage and save Hassan’s son, or he could stay and mourn forever over his selfish life and his guilt over Hassan’s life. He was not only a coward, but now he has another excuse to feel sorry for himself; Hassan’s death. This confuses me a lot because it could be said that Hosseini has literally just created a character the reader is inevitably going to hate, forever. It certainly works on me. I find Amir cruel and selfish and I cannot believe that he refuses Rahim’s dying wish, after all Rahim has done for him!
I almost don’t feel like there is any possible way for Amir to redeem himself now anyway, even if he did save Sohrab from the orphanage.
Overall I think Amir’s voice was used to display his character’s reactions to the dreadful events of Chapter 17, and was used to expose more negative opinions towards Amir.Do something right for goodness sake!