| Quote #1
Hassan's favorite book by far was the Shahnamah, the tenth-century epic of ancient Persian heroes. He liked all of the chapters, the shahs of old, Feridoun, Zal, and Rudabeh. But his favorite story, and mine, was "Rostam and Sohrab," the tale of the great warrior Rostam and his fleet-footed horse, Rakhsh. Rostam mortally wounds his valiant nemesis, Sohrab, in battle, only to discover that Sohrab is his long-lost son. Stricken with grief, Rostam hears his son's dying words:
Although you can read the story of "Rostam and Sohrab" as an allegory for Baba and Amir's relationship, we think the most obvious parallel is to Amir and Hassan. Amir doesn't kill Hassan directly, but he does bring about Hassan's exile from Baba's household. This exile eventually places Hassan in a situation where he is killed. Amir, to some extent, takes the blame for Hassan's death. Like Rostam, Amir figures out much too late who fathered Hassan. We think you could very easily substitute "brothers" for "sons" in the final sentence: "After all, don't we all in our secret hearts harbor a desire to kill our brothers?" ("Cain and Abel" seems just as appropriate as "Rostam and Sohrab.")
| Quote #2
He turned to me. A few sweat beads rolled from his bald scalp. "Would I ever lie to you, Amir agha?"
Jeez, Amir. Notice how Hosseini prepares us for Amir's major betrayal of Hassan. Hosseini has Amir betray Hassan – or at least be cruel to Hassan – in all sorts of small ways. He inserts his own stories into the tales he reads to Hassan. He flaunts his literacy. He doesn't defend Hassan from the neighborhood boys and almost blurts out that Hassan is only his servant and not a friend.
| Quote #3
I stopped watching, turned away from the alley. Something warm was running down my wrist. I blinked, saw I was still biting down on my fist, hard enough to draw blood from the knuckles. I realized something else. I was weeping. From just around the corner, I could hear Assef's quick, rhythmic grunts.
Amir leaves Hassan in the alleyway. This passage, along with the passage in which Amir plants a wad of cash and his watch under Hassan's mattress, counts as Amir's two major betrayals of Hassan. Perhaps because of his guilt, Amir never tells Hassan he saw what happened in the alley. Which brings up an interesting side question: Do you think Amir's silence is a worse betrayal than Amir's cowardice?