"Too late we learn, a man must hold his friend unjudged, accepted, trusted to the end" (John Boyle O'Reilly). Khaled Hosseini’s story of The Kite Runner showed a vast amount of love, trust, and betrayal towards two completely different people. Amir, the son of a wealthy and well-known man in the northern area of Kabul, develops a friendship with one of his servants named Hassan. As years progressed, Amir had a chance to save Hassan but the way he acted affected their lives which led them to follow two separate paths in life. Looking into his past, an aged and wise Amir struggled with the choices that he made as a young child that ultimately altered the friendship with Hassan.
As young boys becoming adolescents, Amir and Hassan enjoyed doing everything together. However, Amir never considered Hassan and him friends. Amir felt this way because he knew that neither history nor religion changed who they were. In the end, Amir was a Pashtun and Hassan was a Hazara. But, they were kids; they fed from the same breast and they learned to crawl together. Nothing was going to change that either. Amir spent most of the first twelve years of his life with Hassan. They used to play hide-and-seek, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, and they loved insect torture (Hosseini 25). They took strolls together through the parks and saw many movies together. One of the most memorable times that Amir and Hassan shared together was underneath their pomegranate tree on top of a hill. They climbed the tree and Amir read many stories to Hassan. Hassan was uneducated and Amir made fun of him because he could not read. One summer day, Amir and Hassan took knives to the top of the hill and carved their names in the tree. It read, “Amir and Hassan, the sultans of Kabul”. No matter what would happen to these two in the future, this saying was permanent and the story of the lives of these two individuals never left this tree. Those words made it formal: the tree was theirs (Hosseini 27).
Hassan was the one who helped Amir choose the path of his future career. Amir had taken advantage of the friendship between Hassan and him. He made fun of him whenever he had the chance, but Hassan never took it to heart and still perceived Amir as his best friend. One day while he read to Hassan, Amir made up the ending of the story and Hassan loved it. He said, “That was the best story you’ve read me in a long time” (Hosseini 30). That same night, he wrote his first story.
In The Kite Runner, Hassan was both physically and mentally stronger than Amir. According to Baba, Amir’s father, there was something wrong with Amir since his birth. Amir never stood up for himself and he was different for the fact that he liked poetry, something that Baba believed was not normal for a young boy. One day while Hassan and Amir were walking towards their tree, they came upon Assef and his friends. Assef was the son of one of Baba’s friends, an airline pilot. He was known for his brass knuckles and wanted to start an argument with Hassan and Amir. Right before he was going to hurt them, Hassan grabbed his slingshot and aimed it right at Assef’s left eye. He let the boys go but said he was going to get revenge. This part of the story foreshadowed an event that occurred later in the story in which Amir and Hassan’s lives were changed forever.
Throughout the entire story, Amir felt that Baba was not giving him the attention he needed. Anytime Amir wanted to be alone with his father, Baba asked Hassan to join him. Many examples were written in the book, but the general idea was that Amir was never left to be with his father alone. This presented another foreshadowing scene that was resolved at the end of the book. This was a large twist to the story that many people never saw coming.
Kite flying was a major event that took place every year. The object of the game was to be the last kite flying in the air. After all the other kites were cut down, a person chased the kite to redeem their pride and glory. During the tournament, Amir cut down the last kite and Hassan ran to get the kite for Amir. Amir went looking for Hassan after he did not arrived home. This is when the devastating incident occurred that changed the friendship of Amir and Hassan.
“I opened my mouth, almost said something. Almost. The rest of my life might have turned out differently if I had. But I did not. I just watched paralyzed” (Hosseini 73). Trying to find Hassan, Amir walked through the streets of his home town as he looked and asked others if they saw a Hazara running for/with a blue kite. All of a sudden, Amir heard voices and he found Hassan. Amir saw the blue kite behind the back of Hassan; he protected the kite from the one person that he hated the most. It was Assef. Hassan did not give up the kite and was given two options: He either gave the blue kite to Assef or expected something bad to happen to him. Hassan refused to give up the kite and was molested. Amir caught a glimpse of Hassan’s face and ran away. He betrayed the person that once stood up for him; the one person who was willing to do anything to be loyal to Amir. He was a coward. At that instant in time when Amir decided to run, life was no longer what it used to be.
“I lifted Hassan’s mattress and planted my new watch and a handful of Afghani bills under it. I waited another thirty minutes. Then I knocked on Baba’s door and told what I hoped would be the last in a long line of shameful lies” (Hosseini 104). Amir could not stand living with Hassan any more. He tried to make it seem as if Hassan stole money from Amir. After Baba was notified about this incident, he made everyone sit in a room. Hassan took the blame for the stealing because he wanted to save Amir. Amir was surprised when Baba had forgiven Hassan for the stealing, but Asi told Baba that they could not stand living there anymore and they decided to leave. As Hassan and his father loaded their belongings into Baba’s vehicle, Amir realized that this was the last time he saw Hassan in person. Forever.
Due to the war going on, Amir and Baba were forced to move to America. Here, Amir started a whole new life and began a family. Amir and his wife tried to have a child, but they were unlucky. Baba later died in the story and Amir had to live life on his own. He kept thinking back to the old times in Kabul where he grew up. However, no matter how hard Amir tried to forget about the rape of Hassan, the dreams kept coming.
The phone call. Amir received a phone call from a past friend that wanted him to return to his home country. Amir did not want to leave his life in America, but he went anyway. After he arrived, Amir received the shocking news; from this moment on everything in his past now made sense! Rahim Khan, the friend of Amir who told him to come back to Pakistan, said that Hassan was not just their servant; Amir and Hassan were brothers. Asi, the man who raised Hassan, was sterile and Baba was his true father. The secret had been kept between Baba and Rahim Khan throughout the lives of Amir and Hassan. Amir was very upset and yelled, “I’m thirty eight years old and I’ve just found out my whole life is one big fucking lie!” (Hosseini 222). The main reason that Rahim Khan brought Amir back to Pakistan was not for the sake of telling him that Hassan was his brother. Amir found out that while he was living a life in America, Hassan started his own as well. They had a child named Sohrab; however, this child was now sought to be found because Hassan and his wife were killed during the war.
In the end, Amir decided to stand up for himself and knew that he had to find this child. He was not going to be the same coward that was back as a child; those days were over. Amir had found Sohrab and took him back to America. As time progressed, Amir saw many similarities in Sohrab that he had once seen in Hassan. Through the long journey of finding and rescuing Sohrab, Amir finally began to see who he really was.
There is a way to be good again (Hosseini 226). Rahim Khan was one of the few men that knew everything that occurred in Amir’s life. He knew about the raping. He knew that Amir had been a coward and ran away. He knew Amir was suffering and he wanted to relieve him of his guilt; the only way to do this was to have Amir come back to Pakistan and care for Hassan’s only child. After saving Sohrab, Amir no longer felt like a coward. Amir realized that the past could not be changed or altered to how he wanted his life to end up. He now understood his goal in life and that was to take care of Sohrab. He needed to repay Hassan back for all the good that he has done for him, even though he knew that nobody could live up to the loyalty and trust that Hassan gave him. Amir loved Hassan and wanted to repay him in as many ways as possible; he would have done anything for him if he was still alive today…a thousand times over.
Khaled Hosseini. The Kite Runner: The Berkley Publishing Group. New York: Penguin Group, 2003