The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini
Betrayal Quotes in The Kite Runner
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Early that spring, a few days before the new school year started, Baba and I were planting tulips in the garden. Most of the snow had melted and the hills in the north were already dotted with patches of green grass. It was a cool, gray morning, and Baba was squatting next to me, digging the soil and planting the bulbs I handed to him. He was telling me how most people thought it was better to plant tulips in the fall and how that wasn't true, when I came right out and said it. "Baba, have you ever thought about get ting new servants?" (8.63)
Amir's question, of course, must pain Baba quite a bit since Hassan is his son. It seems Amir can't handle anything that reminds him of his cowardice, even if it's his best friend. Unlike Amir, Baba keeps the reminders of his guilt around. (Those reminders would be Ali and Hassan since Baba slept with Ali's wife and fathered Hassan.) Do you blame Amir absolutely for Hassan and Ali's departure? Does some unconscious part of Amir send Hassan and Ali away so he can have Baba all to himself?
Then I took a couple of the envelopes of cash from the pile of gifts and my watch, and tiptoed out. I paused before Baba's study and listened in. He'd been in there all morning, making phone calls. He was talking to someone now, about a shipment of rugs due to arrive next week. I went downstairs, crossed the yard, and entered Ali and Hassan's living quarters by the loquat tree. I lifted Hassan's mattress and planted my new watch and a handful of Afghani bills under it.
I waited another thirty minutes. Then I knocked on Baba's door and told what I hoped would be the last in a long line of shameful lies. (9.21-22)
People do something terrible in order not to do any more terrible things. This bizarre logic guides Amir. In order to not lie anymore, Amir needs Baba to fire Hassan and Ali. We find it quite sad that Ali, through no fault of his own, gets caught up in Amir's guilt and jealousy. Seriously, Ali is even more innocent than Hassan – Ali had no part in the alleyway incident and has served Baba faithfully his whole life. Sometimes Amir is a jerk.
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. And if Baba believed him, then I'd be the accused; I would have to explain and I would be revealed for what I really was. Baba would never, ever forgive me. And that led to another understanding: Hassan knew. He knew I'd seen everything in that alley, that I'd stood there and done nothing. He knew I had betrayed him and yet he was rescuing me once again, maybe for the last time. I loved him in that moment, loved him more than I'd ever loved anyone, and I wanted to tell them all that I was the snake in the grass, the monster in the lake. I wasn't worthy of this sacrifice; I was a liar, a cheat, and a thief. And I would have told, except that a part of me was glad. Glad that this would all be over with soon. Baba would dismiss them, there would be some pain, but life would move on. I wanted that, to move on, to forget, to start with a clean slate. I wanted to be able to breathe again. (9.29)
Amir is right about one thing: if Baba knew the extent of Amir's deception, he would disown Amir. Meaning, if Baba knew Amir planted the watch and cash, and that Amir abandoned Hassan when Hassan really needed him, Baba's rage would know no bounds. Notice Amir never tells Baba what happened to Hassan, or how he brought about Ali and Hassan's departure. Even after Amir and Baba arrive in America, Amir doesn't confess his misdeeds. Even when Baba is on his deathbed, Amir remains silent. In this way, Amir is totally and tragically wrong in saying he's "[g]lad this would all be over with soon."