"The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrow" (Schladweiler). Although it refers to the Vietnam War, Martin Luther King Jr.'s quote accurately communicates that a stormy, war-torn past will scarcely presage a favorable future. Challenges and hardships may obstruct the efforts of even the most robust protagonist on his journey through life, and even when overcome, they leave a permanent mark on the resultant quality of life. This theme, the "tragic past," presents itself in both The Kite Runner and Pulp Fiction, two noteworthy pieces, albeit in separate media. In the former, Amir, as a young boy, witnesses the horrific rape of his most cherished childhood friend, but he fails to profess his guilt until this friend passes away. To amend, Amir contends with his childhood enemy, the rapist himself, to gain custody of his deceased acquaintance's son. Pulp Fiction, on the other hand, depicts a gang member, Jules Winnfield, as he makes the passage from a grisly thug to a man of religious enlightenment. As this process occurs, Butch Coolidge makes reparations with this gang by liberating Winnfield's boss from a session of violent rape. These two storylines appear to differ extensively when initially compared to one another, but when author intent and underlying themes are considered in whole, multiple parallels between the pieces materialize. Both The Kite Runner and Pulp Fiction emphasize confronting the demons of one's past to demonstrate that true redemption is a difficult, painful, and chaotic process.
In each piece, a groundbreaking shift in lifestyle marks the beginning of a streak of unfulfilled hopes, and the reason lies within the character's past of contradictory morals. In The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini develops Amir within a complex tangle of emotional trauma and family issues which are inherently the basis of his downfall.