The Kite Runner
With me as the glaring exception, my father molded the world around him to his liking. The problem, of course, was that Baba saw the world in black and white. And he got to decide what was black and what was white. You can't love a person who lives that way without fearing him too. Maybe even hating him a little. (3.12)
"Good," Baba said, but his eyes wondered. "Now, no matter what the mullah teaches, there is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft. Do you understand that?"
"No, Baba jan," I said, desperately wishing I did. I didn't want to disappoint him again. [...]
"When you kill a man, you steal a life," Baba said. "You steal his wife's right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. Do you see?" [...]
"There is no act more wretched than stealing, Amir," Baba said. "A man who takes what's not his to take, be it a life or a loaf of naan...I spit on such a man. And if I ever cross paths with him, God help him. Do you understand?" (3.29-34)
I heard the leather of Baba's seat creaking as he shifted on it. I closed my eyes, pressed my ear even harder against the door, wanting to hear, not wanting to hear. [Baba:] "Sometimes I look out this window and I see him playing on the street with the neighborhood boys. I see how they push him around, take his toys from him, give him a shove here, a whack there. And, you know, he never fights back. Never. He just...drops his head and..."
"So he's not violent," Rahim Khan said.
"That's not what I mean, Rahim, and you know it," Baba shot back. "There is something missing in that boy."
[Rahim Khan:] "Yes, a mean streak."
[Baba:] "Self-defense has nothing to do with meanness. You know what always happens when the neighborhood boys tease him? Hassan steps in and fends them off. I've seen it with my own eyes. And when they come home, I say to him, 'How did Hassan get that scrape on his face?' And he says, 'He fell down.' I'm telling you, Rahim, there is something missing in that boy."
"You just need to let him find his way," Rahim Khan said.
"And where is he headed?" Baba said. "A boy who won't stand up for himself becomes a man who can't stand up to anything." (3.60-66)