Baba sat Amir on his lap and explains his idea of sin and says “When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth” (18). To Baba there is only one sin, and this sin is theft. Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner is about a wealthy Sunni Muslim boy Amir that is raised in Afghanistan. Amir lives with his father Baba, Ali the servant and Ali’s son Hassan. Amir’s mother passed giving birth to Amir and Amir blames himself for his mother’s death. He struggles to gain a relationship with his father and lives threw a traumatic childhood.
When Amir was in fifth grade his teacher told the students that drinking was a sin and those who drank would be judge on the Day of Judgment. One day Amir was sitting in Baba’s study and told Baba what the teacher told him. After pouring his whiskey, Baba told Amir that bearded teachers knew nothing of sin and that Amir would not learn from those Mullahs. Amir was happy to be able to have a talk with his father because this did not happen often. The words Baba said about sin that day in Baba’s study stuck in Amir’s mind.
One day Amir participated in a kite battle and won by cutting the string of the last kite. Hassan, his servant and a good kite runner, promised Amir that he was going to catch the blue kite that Amir had just cut. After Hassan caught the kite he was confronted by Assef, a half German boy from the neighborhood, and his two friends. Assef was a bully and liked to pick on Hassan; that day Assef raped Hassan. Amir saw the rape from a distance and did not do anything to help. From that day Amir was unable to forgive himself and face Hassan.
After Amir’s thirteenth birthday Amir placed money and his new watch under Hassan’s pillow and then went to Baba and told him that Hassan had stolen his watch. Hassan, who was always protecting Amir, lied and said that he had stolen the money and watch. Amir was hoping that Baba would tell Hassan that he must leave the house, but instead Baba forgave Hassan. Amir was shocked by his father’s reaction and that he forgave Hassan. Baba was well known and highly respected in the community. He was known to be a man of his word. Why was Baba forgiving Hassan for theft when he had clearly said that there is only one sin, theft?
That day Ali and Hassan left, not because Baba wanted them to leave, but because Amir had chased them away. Rahim Khan, who was such a close friend of the family Amir called him uncle, asked Amir to come back to Pakistan because he was not well and did not have much time to live. Before Amir hung up the phone Rahim said to him “Come. There is way to be good again” (192). Amir’s distress and his curiosity about Rahim’s last words on the phone persuaded him to return to Pakistan, even though he still wanted to avoid confronting his past.
Rahim had plenty to say to Amir. He told Amir how he went looking for Hassan and brought him back to Kabul to live in Baba’s house. Rahim had been living in Baba’s house after Baba and Amir fled to America. Rahim also told Amir that Hassan had married and had a son. Rahim gave Amir some letters written by Hassan to read. Amir then asked Rahim if all is well with Hassan and his family. He wanted to know where they were. This is when Rahim told him the tragic news. Hassan and his wife had been killed by the Taliban and their son Sohrab had been sent to an orphanage.
Rahim asked Amir to go back to Kabul to find Sohrab and bring him to Pakistan. Amir did not want to go back to Kabul and made this clear to Rahim Khan, but this is when Rahim told him that Hassan was not just his servant, but he was actually his half-brother. Throughout his life Amir was never told the truth: his father had lied, Rahim had lied. Angered and distraught, Amir left Rahim’s apartment and went to a teahouse. He felt disoriented but began to remember all the obvious clues that Hassan was more than simply a servant.
He remembered that his father never forgot Hassan’s birthday and that he had wanted Hassan to be included in almost everything Baba did with Amir. Amir’s mind went back to that day when his father told him “When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth” (225). Amir couldn’t believe that Baba, his respected father, was a thief. Baba had lied and stolen the right for Amir and Hassan to be brothers. Amir had experienced an intense feeling of betrayal when he learned the truth that Hassan was his brother.
He was now getting a taste of his own medicine. He had betrayed Hassan all those years ago, by running away and not helping when Hassan was raped, by falsely accusing him of theft, and by keeping the truth from his father about these events. Amir now realized that Baba and he were actually alike. Amir thought of a cliche one of his creative writing teachers would have ridiculed: “Like father, like son” (226). Amir must have felt at that moment as though he was looking in a mirror and seeing not himself, but his father.
Every day, people tell lies not realizing that even a single lie can cause a lifetime of pain. Depriving someone of the truth deprives them of the opportunity to make their own choices and redefines what could have been. As The Kite Runner states, “When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth” (18). This lesson should be absorbed by everybody, since it brings a new and deeper insight into the consequences of lying. In the end, Amir finally realizes that the truth would set him free and he takes Sohrab back to America in an act of restitution “to make things good again”.