How do I respond to this question?  Hassan was compared to a sacrificial lamb in previous chapters of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. How has he, yet again, proved that he is willing to...

How do I respond to this question? 

Hassan was compared to a sacrificial lamb in previous chapters of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. How has he, yet again, proved that he is willing to sacrifice himself for Amir?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Though you do not mention the chapters to which you are referring in Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, there are several key moments when Hassan sacrifices himself for the benefit of Amir. The first grand sacrifice Hassan makes is in chapter seven, though it is not a sacrifice of his own choosing. 

Hassan is Amir's kite-runner and, in his quest to get the blue kite for Amir--who wants it because Amir is desperate for his father's approval and knows this will get it, at least temporarily--he is raped in an alley by the racist bully Assef. Amir is there, knows it is happening, and does nothing to stop it. 

Hassan didn't struggle. Didn't even whimper. He moved his head slightly and I [Amir] caught a glimpse of his face. Saw the resignation in it. It was a look I had seen before. It was the look of the lamb. 

Hassan could have, and probably should have, reported the assault, but he does not; instead he simply hands the blue kite to Amir. He sacrificed himself so Amir could bask in Baba's praise.

The next time Hassan sacrifices himself for Amir happens just two chapters later, when Amir does something despicable to the boy who has never been anything but an honorable and loyal friend to Amir. He sneaks into Hassan's room and plants his new watch and some money under Hassan's mattress; then he accuses Hassan of stealing them. 

I knocked on Baba’s door and told what I hoped would be the last in a long line of shameful lies.

Hassan committed no crime, but his presence created such a mix of jealousy and guilt for Amir that Amir wanted nothing as much as he wanted Hassan to go away. That is what happened, as Hassan once again sacrifices himself for Amir:

Baba came right out and asked. “Did you steal that money? Did you steal Amir’s watch, Hassan?”

Hassan’s reply was a single word, delivered in a thin, raspy voice: “Yes.”

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.

Hassan makes one more sacrifice for Amir and Baba; he leaves his remote village and agrees to come back to the city, with his wife, and help Rahim Khan take care of Baba's and Amir's home during the Taliban occupation. If he had stayed where he was, he would likely have lived through the worst of the fighting and occupation unscathed; however, his love and sacrifice cost both him and his wife their lives. This, of course, is his final sacrifice for Amir and Baba. 

Read the study guide:
The Kite Runner

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