The Kite Runner begins with "I became what I am today at the age of twelve." To what is Amir referring?  

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Amir is the protagonist of the novel, The Kite Runner.  Amir's life took a dramatic turn when two things happened: First, he failed to rush to the aid of his servant/friend, Hassan, when he was raped by the bully, Assef. Instead, he timidly hid behind a fence and watched the event unfold; later, he pretended to know nothing about the act. Then, showing his extreme jealousy of his father's loving treatment of Hassan, Amir placed a watch and money--both birthday presents--under Hassan's mattress to set him up as a thief. When Baba found out, he forgave Hassan (secretly, his son), but Hassan's father, Ali, decided to leave their home because of the seemingly disgraceful actions of his son. 

These two acts of disgraceful deceit and cowardism hung over Amir for the rest of his life.

mkcapen1 | Student

Amir, is a young boy who grew up playing with his servant/sidekick in Kabul (who he later learns is his half-brother).  He and the boy do everything together.  However, Amir has some degree of jealousy over Hassan who is courageous and wins the constant approval of Amir's father Baba.  Amir also always takes up for Amir whenever there are problems with the town bully and sadist Assef.

Hassan is a child of the Hazara race.  This places him in a negative and freely mocked and abused position in society. Assef, the bully, always picks on him.  The day that should have been one of great victory for Amir turns into a life changing experience.  Hassan runs after the kite following the kite tournament, which Amir had won.

Assef and his two friends corner Hassan.  Assef rapes Hassan and degrades him.  Amir is hiding behind a wall and sees the whole incident, but does not have the courage to stop it.  Instead he acts like nothing happened but begins to become angry at Hassan.  He ignores him and pushes him away emotionally. 

Hassan continues to love and try to interact with Amir.  Amir wants him away from him so that he does not have to look at him and see his own guilt reflected.  He sees Hassan up by putting his money and watch under his pillow.  Ali, Hassan's father, and Hassan move away.

Amir begins a life of guilt and shame that he carries into his adulthood.

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The Kite Runner

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