The Kite Runner: Story of Betrayal, Guilt and Redemption

April 28, 2022 by Essay Writer

Religion tends to be followed by many citizens but may be interpreted differently amongst many people in societies. The Kite Runner, written by Khaled Hosseini, illustrates how individuals may hurts others with their own personal choices and beliefs. The book portrayed how the characters were divided into two major sects in Afghanistan, the Hazaras and Pashtuns. The culture of Afghanistan classified the nation into two groups which described the society’s way of living. The distinguishing factor of the two major castes is that Pashtun’s respect and pride are valued. Their status in Afghanistan is highly recognized. However, Hazaras are regarded as people from a lower-class society who are treated with hate and are unaccepted for their standard way of living. Although the two sects follow the same religion and beliefs, one’s action may result in chaos due to their individual opinions and class of society. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini illustrates injustice often stems from personal choice, not necessarily from institutions.

The Kite Runner illustrates how Baba’s relationship with Amir is different when compared to Hassan. Amir and Hassan are both considered to be a part of diverse groups, the Hazaras and Pashtuns. The book depicted how Baba saw more potential in Hassan as a successful individual than his own son, Amir. Amir’s abilities to prove his father wrong had failed multiple times in the story. Baba’s thoughts reflect and alters his beliefs being expressed in the story when comparing Amir and Hassan.

“Self-Defence has nothing to do with the meanness. You know what always happens when the neighborhood boys tease him? Hassan steps in and fends them off. I’ve seen it with my own boys. And when they come home, I say to him, ‘How did Hassan get that scrape on his face?” And he says, “He fell down.’ I’m telling you, Rahim, there is something missing in that boy [Amir]. (Hosseini, 2003, 18) I mean that. He needs someone who…understands him, because God knows I don’t. But something about Amir troubles me in a way that I can’t express. It’s like…’I could see him searching, reaching for the right words. He lowered his voice, but I heard him anyway.” (Hosseini , 2003, 18)

This quote clearly expresses how the relationship of Baba is differentiated between Hassan and Amir. Baba sees more potential in Hassan than his own son Amir because of the desire to approach certain tasks in a resolved manner. In the following context, Amir is eavesdropping Baba who is having a conversation with Rahim Khan. “Amir troubles me in a way that I can’t express” shows how Baba feels very concerned with Amir and worried about whether he will succeed as an individual afterwards in life. This internally affects Amir because he believes he has no value and reducing his self-confidence down because of his father is displeased with Amir’s lack of quality being a successful individual like Hassan. However, Baba praises Hassan as quoted, “Hassan steps in and fends them off.” This quote expresses how Hassan has the abilities which Amir lacks in himself. Throughout the text, Amir was given many chances by Baba to redeem himself to prove his father wrong that Amir will succeed eventually in different scenarios. However, Amir and failed to do so countless times to prove Baba wrong. Religion isn’t at fault here because Baba believed in Amir many times (personal choices) however despite being in the same group, Pashtuns, Baba recognizes the potential Hassan has over his own son Amir. Injustice is being expressed towards Amir because it comes from Baba’s personal choices and beliefs, not from institutions.

The book depicted how Amir’s decisions had caused a lot of chaos and violence which negatively harmed Hassan. Assef severely rapes Hassan for refusing to give up the kite when Amir successfully wins the overall Kite tournament, to which Amir was disturbed and shocked. Assef, a Pashtun, believes in chaos and violence. In the following context, he severely rapes Hassan and mocks Amir for interacting with a Hazara. Although Amir and Assef are Pashtuns, Assef mocks Amir because Assef realizes the importance of being a Pashtun meant that Hazaras must be treated with hate. Amir decides not to do anything because his personal choices prevented him from intervening. Amir was ambivalent when making an appropriate decision which was to run away from the situation or interfere in the fight. This demonstrated that Amir’s decision to not intervene came from personal choices, not from institutions. Due to this, Hassan was forced to fight alone against Assef and the boys. Religion didn’t alter Amir’s choices because Amir knew from his personal choices, he’d stand no chance.

“But before you sacrifice yourself for him, think about this: Would he do the same for you? Have you ever wondered why he never includes you in games when he has guests? Why he only plays with you when no one else is around? I’ll tell you why, Hazara. Because to him, you’re nothing but an ugly pet. Something he can play with when he’s bored, something he can kick when he’s angry.” (Hosseini, 2003,107) “I’ve changed my mind,’ Assef said. “I’m letting you keep the kite, Hazara. I’ll let you keep it so it will always remind you of what I’m about to do.’ Then he charged. Hassan hurled the rock. It struck Assef in the forehead. Assef yelped as he flung himself at Hassan, knocking him to the ground. Wali and Kamal followed. I bit on my fist. Shut my eyes.” (Hosseini, 2003, 107)

Amir’s personal choices led him to make a poor decision and allow Hassan to get brutally raped. By not intervening, Amir felt guilt for not standing up for Hassan despite Hassan had stood up for Amir several times based on the philosophy that they are best friends. This incident illustrates how Amir’s choices had affected Hassan severely. In the following quote, “before you sacrifice yourself for him,” shows how Hassan was practically an “ugly pet” who had no value in society. Amir didn’t stand up for Hassan because he knew Hassan and Amir stood no chance against Assef and his boys. As Assef was getting ready to harm Hassan, Amir decided not to intervene which resulted in Hassan getting raped sternly. Amir’s guilt and betrayal were very significant in the book as it portrayed how injustice affected Hassan due to his status in the country (Hazara). Religion had not played a role in Amir’s decision because Amir felt he would stand no chance alongside Hassan against Assef and his boys. Despite Hassan and Amir being in diverse groups, the decision Amir made was because of personal choices, not because of diversity in the two major sects, Hazaras and Pashtuns. Furthermore, the personal choice of an individual comes from his/her deliberation.

The choice of an individual can severely affect a person’s standard way of living. Amir’s betrayal and guilt is expressed as he decides to take Hassan’s birthday money to put under Hassan’s mattress. Amir’s intention was to avoid Hassan by allowing Hassan to be accused of stealing money and Amir’s watch. This will provoke Hassan and Ali to leave the house for falsely being accused of stealing. Baba always tells Amir that “there is no other act more wretched than stealing.” Amir believes if Ali and Hassan are caught stealing, they’d have to face the consequences. Amir’s personal decision illustrates the injustice that affects the other individuals who are superior to Pashtuns.

“They stood before Baba, hand in hand, and I wondered how and when I’d become capable of causing this kind of pain.” (Hosseini, 2003, 111) “Baba came right out and asked. ‘Did you steal that money? Did you steal Amir’s watch, Hassan?’ Hassan’s reply was a single word, delivered in a thin, raspy voice: ‘Yes.’ (Hosseini, 2003, 111) “I flinched, like I’d been slapped. My heart sank and I almost blurted out the truth. Then I understood: This was Hassan’s final sacrifice for me. If he’d said no, Baba would have believed him because we all knew Hassan never lied.” (Hosseini, 2003, 111)

The decision Amir had made not only affected him, but the lives of two Hazaras (Ali and Hassan). Amir sensed how “capable” he is “causing this kind of pain.” It depicts how his own decisions are ones that he regrets and possibly will regret for the rest of his life. When Hassan falsely acknowledges that he had stolen the money and Amir’s watch, Amir felt as if he had been “slapped” and his “heart sank.” This depicted the injustice he created with one decision affecting others around him. The decision Hassan made was also significant in the book because it was a “final sacrifice” for Amir. In the text, Amir recognizes his guilt 20 years later when he has to rescue Hassan’s orphaned son. Religion was insignificant in this case because Amir believed his guilt and betrayal was difficult to live with. Despite Hassan having Amir’s back through thick and thin, Amir’s personal choices tells him that he must take action to get Hassan out of his sights. This wasn’t because of Hassan’s status in Afghanistan, but it was because of Amir’s choices which led him to do the wrong thing that affected Hassan and Ali. Both Amir and Hassan had given justice and injustice based on their personal decisions which also refers to how injustice and justice (in this case) is based on personal choices, not from institutions. Furthermore, the Kite Runner illustrates the significant ways which religion can divide a nation into two major sects.


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