January 7, 2014
English II Honors Goudy
The Kite Runner, written by Khaled Hosseini, is a heart-gripping tale of love, redemption, and acceptance. The story is about a young Afghan boy who grows up during the tough times of war in Afghanistan. In the novel, Hosseini effectively illustrates the theme of betrayal through his complex cast of characters. Hosseini presents this betrayal when Sanaubar leaves Hassan and Ali days after Hassan’s birth, through Amir’s abandonment of Hassan during his brutal rape, and finally through the lies Baba tells Amir and Hassan.
Hosseini illustrates betrayal in many ways, one of which is when Sanaubar leaves Hassan and Ali, abandoning them both and replacing them with a dancing troupe literally just days after she gives birth to Hassan: “She had refused to even hold Hassan, and just five days later, she was gone” (10). Though Sanaubar abandons them both, there does not seem to be much loneliness felt from either Hassan or Ali. In fact, Sanaubar’s abandonment leads to something greater between Hassan and Amir: “Baba hired the same nursing woman who had fed me to nurse Hassan… Then he would remind us that there was a brotherhood between people who had fed from the same breast, a kinship that not even time could break” (11). Though this leads to an unbreakable bond between the two young boys, it does not change the fact that Hassan’s mother abandons him a few days after birth. Sanaubar abandonment led to the constant bullying from Assef.
Another form of betrayal Hosseini writes about in the novel is Amir’s abandonment of Hassan during his brutal rape. Amir runs away from the horrifying sight of Assef assaulting Hassan in the alley because he is afraid of Assef. Amir’s fear gets in the way of his want to protect Hassan: “In the end, I ran. I ran because I was a coward. I was afraid of Assef and what he would do to me. I was afraid of getting hurt. That’s what I told myself as I turned my back to the alley, to Hassan” (77). Soon Amir is unable to bear the guilt any longer. He can simply no longer handle the guilt eating away at him, especially when he sees Hassan. Amir attempts to send both Ali and Hassan away, and he does this by placing his birthday money and watch underneath Hassan’s mattress. Amir is sure this will work because he knows Hassan will succumb to his loyalty to Amir once again. That’s exactly what he did: “…Then I understood. This was Hassan’s final sacrifice for me” (105). When Hassan takes the fall, Amir almost instantly knows that Hassan figures out that Amir has seen everything. Amir knows that he is once again betraying Hassan, and the fact that Hassan is rescuing him from Baba, rescuing him for possibly the last time, eats away at Amir. Amir simply wants to be rid of all the guilt and regret.
A final form of betrayal illustrated in the novel is when Amir has to find out the truth about his whole life from Rahim Khan. After thirty-eight years, Rahim Khan finally reveals the bitter truth of who Hassan truly was to Amir. Amir is nearly unable to accept it: “I felt like a man sliding down a steep cliff, clutching at shrubs and tangles of brambles and coming up empty-handed” (222). Hosseini expresses the sting, how Amir feels as if someone has punched him in the gut with all the force he/she could offer all from this painful truth. Hosseini clearly expresses Amir’s anger: “…What can you possibly say to me? I’m thirty-eight years old… What can you possibly say to make things better? Nothing…” (223).
In conclusion, the novel is a haunting tale about love, redemption, and acceptance, yet it mainly shows betrayal. Sanaubar’s abandonment was basically a part that causes the tragedy in the novel because it is part of Assef’s bullying. Amir’s betrayal to Hassan caused him and his father to leave, and it was the number one cause of all the guilt Amir feels in the novel. Finally, Baba’s lies to both Amir and Hassan brought the unknown truth all the way from the beginning of the novel to the end. Hosseini’s illustration of betrayal shows a great tale of the love, redemption, and acceptance in this story.
Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. New York: Riverhead, 2003. Print.