"I did something I had done twenty-six years earlier: I planted a fistful of crumpled money under the mattress.” Why is this moment so important in Amir’s journey in The Kite Runner?
It is a more mature Amir who "planted a fistful of crumpled money under the mattress" in Wahid's home on his return to Afghanistan. It is an act that he had first performed for an entirely different reason as a young boy: The money he had placed under Hassan's mattress was meant to disgrace him in the eyes of Baba, to show that Hassan was a thief. Though Baba forgave Hassan (and may have even realized that it was Amir who had placed it there, as Rahim Khan eventually came to discover), it meant the end of Hassan and Ali's employment in Baba's home and the end of the friendship between the two boys. This time it was a benevolent act made by Amir, leaving the money under the mattress of the poor Afghan family who had befriended him, knowing that their own pride would have prevented them from accepting the gift. He had overheard a conversation between Wahid and his wife concerning the lack of food in the house: Wahid's own children were going hungry so that his guest, Amir, could be fed. Amir's guilt--probably over both his earlier betrayal of Hassan and for the hospitable way in which he was treated by Farid and Wahid--led him to secretly leave the money once again. Amir would not have considered it atonement for his past behavior toward Hassan, but it was a start.