6 September 2014
Although the novel, the Kite Runner, consists of several themes, the idea of betrayal permeates through almost every chapter. This theme depicts parallels between Baba and Amir, in which both characters betrayed their loved ones. Hassan is the main victim because he is not only betrayed by his own brother, but his own father also. Every act of betrayal in the novel correlates with the loyalty provided by Hassan.
Hassan is the result of Baba’s betrayal and the victim of Amir’s. Throughout the novel both Baba and Amir strive to gain redemption through this little Hazara boy, Hassan.
Early in the novel we are introduced to Baba’s philosophy that there is only one sin, theft. “Now whatever the mullah teaches, there is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft…. When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you cheat you steal the right to fairness. “ (1718). At the start of the novel, Baba is portrayed as a hero. He is constantly trying to make up for his sins by building orphanages and being a respectable member of society. Some may say this is a selfish act because he is simply doing all of these good deeds for personal redemption. Baba’s betrayal upon Ali is much like Amir’s betrayal upon Hassan. Throughout the novel Baba and Amir are comparing their differences but in the end they are more alike than they think. Baba betrayed his loyal Hazara by sleeping with his wife and bearing her a son. The guilt, much like Amir’s, haunts Baba for his whole life. When Baba and Amir escape to
America, they escape their past of unatoned sins ephemerally. The two Hazara
6 September 2014
servants were a constant reminder of both Baba and Amir’s betrayal along with the whole city of Kabul.
The most significant act of betrayal in the novel is the event in which Amir simply watches as Hassan gets raped by Assef. This powerful scene is the driving force for most actions in the rest of the novel. The degrading act of rape haunts not only Hassan but Amir also. In some ways we can come to believe that this act of betrayal was more hurtful to Amir than Hassan because he is haunted by guilt for some twentysix years.
Amir is completely aware and capable of helping Hassan in the alley, but his selfish and cowardly attributes stop him from doing so. In chapter seven, we are able to identify
Amir’s first act of betrayal when he says “ I had one last chance to make a decision.
One final opportunity to decide who I was going to be. I could step into that alley, stand up for Hassan the way he stood up for me all those times in the past and accept whatever would happen to me. Or I could run. In the end, I ran.” (77). In this scene we are able to see the correlation between Hassan and the sacrificial lamb. Amir is sacrificing Hassan for his own wellbeing and his fathers love and acceptance. In the alley, Amir displays his confusion with the relationship he and Hassan have. He is constantly fighting the idea of whether or not Hassan is worth saving. “He was just a
Hazara wasn’t he?”. Amir upholds this statement when he is more worried about the condition of the blue kite rather than the poor boy who just got raped because Amir sees
Hassan as less of a human. Amir mentions “ He had the blue kite in his hands; that was the first thing I saw. And I can’t lie now and say my eyes didn’t scan it for any rips. His chapan had mud smudges down the front and his shirt was ripped just below the collar.
6 September 2014
He stopped. Swayed on his feet like he was going to collapse. Then he steadied himself. Handed me the kite.” (78). There is a constant comparison between Amir,
Hassan and the kites. The two boys are like two kites