The Kite Runner is a stunning debut novel, which has already called the major novel of the century, and its author is considered the living classic now. The Kite Runner was written by Khaled Hosseini and was firstly published by Riverhead Books in 2003. So, the novel is a kind of soulful story about friendship and loyalty, betrayal and redemption, bravery and weakness, fathers and sons. It is subtle, ironic and sentimental book that looks like a painting, which people can examine endlessly. Thus, we are going to explore the betrayal, because this topic is described in very bright colors in the novel and we can not leave it without attention.
Reading the novel we can find a big abyss between two main protagonists Amir and Hassan – one belonged to the local aristocracy, the other – a despised minority. One father was a beautiful and important person as the other – chrome and pitiful. One was a binge reader, the other – illiterate. The story shows us that Hassan’s harelip saw all people, but Amir’s ugly scars were hidden deep inside. It is even possible to say that personal motive of the book – is a close friendship between Amir and Hassan (who was a son of his servant). It seems that exactly this personal motive is the pivot of the book, because the fragility of relationships between two boys, when they were playing with fly kites, has appeared completely in that moment, when their whole former life was crumbling. Boys are presented like two kites that were caught by the storm, and dispersed in different directions. Each has its own destiny and own tragedy, but, as in childhood, they are associated with strong ties. Describing their friendship and relationships we can say that Hassan as one of the main protagonists of the novel was loyal to Amir through everything and this loyalty can be explained by the fact that two boys not only were born together, but also were educated as two brothers, not like a servant and master, but like real friends and two different personalities. Thus, we found that it was impossible to find more close to each people than Amir and Hassan were.
Thinking about the topic of betrayal Wafa asked the question: “how and where did the book show that it has betrayal as the main theme?”, and answering on own question he said that “the Kite Runner is about friendship to betrayal, through out the book. It first shows how Amir betrayed Hassan, then Amir betrayed his own father, and through out the book, Baba betrayed Ali, Amir, Hassan, Rahim Khan, and his own wife, having sex with his own servant’s wife, Sanaubr Amir, the son of Baba, is keen in kite running.”(Wafa, 2008). So, we see how close to each other people became betrayals and it is also interesting to explore the way how Khaled Hosseini portrays the life of the pre-revolutionary Afghanistan, both with gentle humor and not hiding tensions between different communities in the country. The author has used vivid images – disabled, who sell own prosthetic appliance to feed the children; people, who are guilty of betrayal and stoned to death during a break in a soccer game; a little boy, dancing needful rapists like the organ-grinder monkey…
Discussing the theme of betrayal in The Kite Runner, we should think about this term in some details. What is betrayal in its essence? Why are different people understand one and the same event in different ways? There is no a concrete answer on questions mentioned above, but we can declare that the reasons why a person betrays the other (or others), can surprise people by their variety. (Donskis, 2005).
The author of the novel shows us that betrayal is not the quality of character, temperament or outlook. If we are going to make a list of human vices: cowardice, anger, greed, envy, deceit … – a betrayal would be away from this list. It is not a vice, but it is an act. Being more specific we can say that it is the subjective perception and definition of a certain deed. In such a way Brinkley stated that “the novel does not intend to give an encompassing narrative of Afghanistan’s history nor its troubles, but rather to tell the story of a son’s attempt to respond to his father’s sin and his own cowardice and betrayal. There is nothing that haunts Amir more than the betrayal of Hassan after the kite running competition, as can be seen in Amir’s valiant defense of Hassan’s son in his journey to Kabul.” (Brinkley, 2010).
It becomes understandable that betrayal is a real test of our humanity, tolerance and conformance. Nobody is waiting of betrayal from the closest person and Hosseini, describing emotions of the main hero, shows us that the essence of betrayal could be found in a violation of person’s trust in the most important things for him, and it starts at the place where a faith comes to the end. This situation, of course, had a sad conclusion: it is impossible to predict betrayal, but it is possible to make an attempt to understand it and continue own life without a ‘heavy heart’. The novel explains that it is useless to guess where a person can fall down and begin to change something beforehand. Every time we faced to depleting feelings with all possible exigencies and it always comes a true quite unexpectedly.
Moreover, comparing situation from own life and events described in the book people begin to change own attitude to the world in general, and existed life, in particular. It seems that the theme of betrayal observed in The Kite Runner will help many people to reappraise own old values, and maybe make some new steps in the way to reform own past mistakes and turn over a new leaf.
Thus, taking everything into consideration it is possible to say that we have made an exploration of betrayal in The Kite Runner. This novel allows people to understand that a war is a horrible thing that includes thousands of maimed and shattered destinies. In conclusion, the novel is interesting not only with a living description of events in Afghanistan, but it is also interesting with possibility to describe the relationship between father and son (classic theme), the problem of identity, dignity and honor. The book, in fact, does not disclose the political issues, but tells the story how a beautiful country is now torn apart by many years of civil war. Hosseini shows through the plot and characters what tests had befallen his beloved homeland.
Brinkley, J. Afghanistan’s dirty little secret. San Francisco Chronicle, August 29, 2010.
Donskis, L. Loyalty, Dissent, and Betrayal: Modern Lithuania and East-Central European Moral Imagination. Rodopi, 2005.
Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. New York: Riverhead Books, 2003.
Wafa, A. W. ‘The Kite Runner’ Film Outlawed in Afghanistan. New York Times, January 16, 2008.
The betrayal of a loyal friend by a wealthier, more corrupt “master” is a recurring motif in The Kite Runner, and Amir and Baba’s feelings of guilt for their betrayals drive much of the novel’s action. The central betrayal comes when Amir watches and does nothing as Hassan, who has always stood up for Amir in the past, gets raped by Assef. Amir then worsens the betrayal by driving Ali and Hassan from the household. Later in the book, Amir learns that Baba also betrayed his own best friend and servant – Ali, Hassan’s father – by fathering a child (Hassan) with Ali’s wife Sanaubar. This knowledge comes as another kind of betrayal for Amir, who had always hero-worshipped Baba and is shocked to learn of his father’s flaws.
These low points in the two men’s lives create a sense of tension and guilt throughout the novel, but the betrayals of Amir and Baba also lead to quests for redemption that bring about some good in the end – as Baba leads a principled, charitable life, and Amir rescues Sohrab from Assef.