Betrayal in Khaled Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner” plays a major role in the development of Hosseini’s protagonist Amir. Ignoring Hassan’s need for help, when he is raped by Assef, the entire story is changed from a boy fighting for his father’s love to one of redemption and forgiveness. Through trials of retrieval and pain, Amir must rid himself of guilt and accept the consequences of the past.
Throughout Amir’s life he and his father never connected on any level.
Amir always felt that his father resented him for killing his mother as he was born. Yet when the opportunity arrived, which was the kite fighting tournament, Amir would do anything to finally gain that love he always craved. After winning the tournament Hassan, a Hazara servant, runs down the final kite for Amir; which leads to the greatest betrayal a friend can do. After hours of waiting for Hassan, Amir starts to look for him, he sees him running away from Assef still holding the kite.
Amir follows Hassan and Assef only to witness Hassan refusing to give up the kite and unfortunately getting beaten and raped for his loyalty. Thinking of himself and finally claiming the love of his father, Amir closing his eyes and runs away betraying his friend and thinks to himself “I actually aspired to cowardice, because the alternative, the real reason I was running, was that Assef was right: Nothing was free in this world. Maybe Hassan was the price I had to pay, the lamb I had to slay, to win Baba.” (7.149) Because Hassan was “just a Hazara” (7.149) Amir believed it was alright, it was Hassan’s duty to serve Amir in any way possible. Realizing what he had done and feeling the guilt caused by his betrayal, Amir believes that the only way to get rid of such guilt is to frame Hassan for stealing and try to get him kicked out of the house to allow Amir to forget about what he has done and the pain that was caused by him running away.
Amir’s acts may have allowed him to gain the respect of his father but at a costly price of losing his one true friend. For most of his life Amir had to carry that guilt until June 2001 when Rahim Kahn, Baba’s old business partner, called with away to free himself of guilt. After years of living peacefully and quite possibly even forgetting about Hassan, Rahim gives him to right his wrong; he must find Sohrab and bring him to a safe place. This is the chance Amir needs to redeem him and have Hassan forgive him. Finding out that Assef has Sohrab he fights Assef for not only Sohrab but also his own life. During their night Amir finds himself laughing and realizing “… For the first time since 1975, I felt at peace” (ch. 22). Close to death Amir knows he is finally getting what he deserves. Assef beating the pain of guilt and regret out of him, which is more devastating than physical pain which can be healed and will one day be fully repaired, replaces it with the feeling of self forgiveness. With this Amir can finally forgive himself for being the coward he was and betraying Hassan.
Through the story Amir had to live with the guilt which ate away at his very being. He could never tell the truth about what happened that dark winter night; he could never forgive or could never forget the shame he brought onto himself. But with the realization and pain he endured while on his travel he learns that his past must be fixed even if that means risking his own life to save another. Amir even says “for you, a thousand times over” to Sorhab which was the exact same thing that Hassan said when he chased the blue kite before being raped. This quote states that although he may have messed up in the past he knows that by taking care of Sorhab. Although betrayal may have been what caused this story to divert from a boy needing his father love, it also portrays the need of redemption that Amir needed to move on and live a happy life.
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