BETRAYAL IN THE KITE RUNNER
Amir. Amir twice betrays his loyal servant, Hassan, while they are still boys in Kabul: First, Amir fails to come to Hassan's aid when he is sodomized by Assef shortly after the kite-flying contest.
I actually aspired to cowardice... Assef was right: Nothing was free in this world. Maybe Hassan was the price I had to pay, the lamb I had to slay, to win Baba. (Chapter 7)
Amir's guilt is so overwhelming that it forces him to commit an even greater act of betrayal: He deliberately plants items under Hassan's mattress to make him appear guilty of theft and force Baba to evict Hassan and Ali from the household. But instead of denying the false accusation against him, Hassan admits to the theft in order to protect Amir.
Then I understood: This was Hassan's final sacrifice for me... He knew I had betrayed him and yet he was rescuing me once again. (Chapter 7)
These two acts haunt Amir well into manhood, and he comes to realize that only a selfless act of bravery will allow him to atone for his transgressions.
Baba. Baba always preaches that "there is only one sin... theft." To Baba, every other sin is simply a variation of theft, including lying.
"When you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness." (Chapter 3)
Yet Amir finds after his father's death that Baba has committed these sins himself: He has fathered the child of Sanaubar, Ali's wife--cheating on his faithful servant; and he has kept it a secret--a lie that infuriates Amir and causes him to see the seemingly infallible Baba in a completely new light.
As it turned out, Baba and I were more alike than I'd ever known. We had both betrayed the people who would have given their lives for us. And with that came this realization: that Rahim Khan had summoned me here to atone not just for my sins but for Baba's too. (Chapter 18)