What factors influence Amir's fear of being Hassan's true friend in the novel? What themes are explored through their friendship?

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For Amir, Hassan (the “blue-eyed boy”) is a reminder of the family’s servant status and his own lost opportunities.

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The full extent of the complexities in Amir’s and Hassan’s relationship is made apparent very late in the novel. Once the reader learns the reasons that Baba, Amir’s father, paid special attention to Hassan, we can see that Amir’s apparently irrational attitudes had some basis in fact. The strong class, ethnic, and religious divisions in Afghan society are manifested in the relationship between the two boys, which in some ways is an extension of their father’s relationship. Baba seems to be a conservative, traditionally minded man who believes that servants should continue in a subordinate status. For example, Hassan does not receive an education. Yet Amir, believing that his father is too hard on him and too soft on Hassan, becomes increasingly jealous of Hassan and treats him unkindly.

Amir grows up with a sense of entitlement that his class position supports. Living in America influences his attitudes toward class, and he begins to understand the reasons he abandoned Hassan when he most needed help. Sadly, once he learns that they are half-brothers, it is too late to mend their relationship, but he atones for his errors by building a new relationship with Hassan’s son, his nephew.

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While Amir and Hassan grow up as close as brothers, differences in ethnic group, religious belief, and economic status cause rifts between them. Their relationship is preceded by that of their fathers, Baba (Amir's father) and Ali (Hassan's father), who also grew up as friends, but Ali was servant to Baba's family. In the next generation, Ali still serves Baba and his son, Amir, and Hassan also serves the family, particularly Amir. The relationship between Amir and Hassan is complex because of this master-servant dynamic, which is also grounded in the ethnic/religious/class differences between them. Amir and Baba are part of the Pashtun ethnic group and the Sunni Muslim religion, both of which are the majority in Afghanistan. Hassan and Ali, on the other hand, are Hazara and Shia, both of which are minority groups that are disrespected and oppressed in the country. In terms of social class, Amir and Baba are well-to-do, as Baba (and Amir's mother, who is now deceased) is educated, financially successful, and influential, while Ali and Hassan are illiterate servants. These differences make Amir sometimes feel embarrassed to be seen with Hassan in public. Other characters, like the bully Assef, degrade Hassan mercilessly, but Amir is too afraid to come to his friend's defense. On the other hand, Hosseini repeatedly depicts Hassan protecting and defending Amir.

Amir's increasingly heartless treatment of Hassan seems to result from Amir projecting his own insecurity. Amir feels guilty and feels that Hassan is morally superior, so he seeks to take Hassan down a notch. While there were some hints of this earlier, the climactic moment in their relationship occurs when Amir witnesses Hassan being sexually assaulted by Assef at the end of the kite-fighting/kite-running tournament and does nothing to help Hassan or to stand up for him (even though he knows that if the situation were reversed, Hassan would come to his rescue). Amir is a meek, introverted child and even though he knows he should help Hassan, he can't follow through with any concrete action. Amir is also sensitive and so feels extremely guilty about his inaction. Instead of making amends with Hassan, though, he continues to project his own anxieties onto Hassan, testing his loyalty in scenes like the one in which Amir throws pomegranates at Hassan and begs him to throw something back, to fight back in some way. This is a clear example of Amir projecting his own inability to act onto Hassan. 

The friendship between Amir and Hassan could be related to a number of possible themes. One is that differences in class, religion, ethnicity, or other facet of a person's background can lead to serious conflicts in this person's relationships with those of other classes, religions, or ethnicities. The relationship between the two characters also shows us how betrayal can ruin a friendship and can go on to haunt the traitor for the rest of his life; on the other hand, this betrayal can present opportunities for redemption, and we see Amir taking advantage of that opportunity in the second half of the novel. 

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A strong underlying force in this film is the relationship between Amir and Hassan. Discuss their friendship. Why is Amir afraid to be Hassan's true friend and why does he constantly test Hassan's loyalty? Also, why does Amir resent Hassan? After the kite running tournament, why does Amir no longer want to be Hassan's friend?

Amir and Hassan have a deeply complicated and tragic relationship. In all honesty, it's very hard to characterize it as a "friendship" past a certain moment in time, and that point is far before the horrific day that ultimately breaks everything.

Kids aren't born into the world with prejudices. They pick them up from their parents, their friends, the society around them, and so on. It seems to have been the same way with Amir and Hassan—when they were young and more or less in the dark about all the things that would become problems later, they genuinely were friends and liked each other. The moment things truly went awry was when both boys started to become aware of the fact that the world didn't think the two of them were as similar as they thought. Amir was a Pashtun, the son of a wealthy man, and Hassan was a Hazara. Both he and his father were servants of Amir's family. Now, it's probably unlikely that there was a time when they didn't know there was a social class between them, but it wasn't initially as big of an issue as it was later.

As the boys both start realizing how the world around them worked, the relationship between them changes completely. Amir starts feeling pressure not to develop a close friendship with a Hazara, and Hassan feels that he should keep in his own place and be more of a squire than a friend to Amir. The difference between the two comes from how they handled that situation; this also provides the answer to the question of Amir's resentment.

In addition to coming from different backgrounds, the boys are actually not that alike as people, either. Hassan has a good heart and a strong sense of loyalty, while Amir proves to be a cowardly, petty person. Amir dislikes the fact that Hassan is actually better than him—as a person and as a kite runner—but he is also painfully aware of how true it is. In a situation like that, a person can go two ways: they can try to be better, or they can try to make the other person worse. Amir keeps testing Hassan, becoming mean toward him, but Hassan remains who he is. That only infuriates Amir further and feeds the bitterness in his heart. Amir's father's affection toward Hassan only adds to that.

After the kite tournament, where Amir witnesses Hassan getting raped by some bullies and doesn't intervene (because of his own fear), the friendship between them is utterly lost. Hassan figures out that Amir saw and didn't help him, but he can't confront Amir about this. Instead, he becomes even more silent and reserved than before, heartbroken to find out that Amir wasn't a good friend to him when he needed him the most. Amir, in turn, starts to resent Hassan even more because of how badly he hates himself for letting it happen. This leads to Amir sinking even further, falsely accusing Hassan of a robbery and letting his friend take the blame.

The rest of the story concerns Amir's guilt and, ultimately, his attempts to make up for it, but even then the reader can see how his childhood fears hold him back from doing the right thing for Hassan's son for a long time. The Kite Runner is a powerful story of how artificial constructs like prejudice and class ruin people, how children carry their scars for the rest of their lives. The novel doesn't inspire much sympathy toward Amir, who could be called an anti-hero, but the truth is that he was born into an unjust and uncaring environment. He could have made different choices, could have stood up for Hassan, but we can't know if things would have been easier for them for it.

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A strong underlying force in this film is the relationship between Amir and Hassan. Discuss their friendship. Why is Amir afraid to be Hassan's true friend and why does he constantly test Hassan's loyalty? Also, why does Amir resent Hassan? After the kite running tournament, why does Amir no longer want to be Hassan's friend?

Amir and Hassan have a close relationship and enjoy playing together as children. They are essentially best friends, but Amir refuses to acknowledge this fact because Hassan is a Hazara and he is a Pashtun. It would be considered socially unacceptable for Amir to develop a mutual friendship with Hassan openly. Also, Amir is jealous of Hassan because Hassan is pure and talented. Amir continually tests Hassan's loyalty because he cannot comprehend how a person can be so loyal and morally upright. Amir also gets a kick out of teasing and playing tricks on Hassan. Amir resents Hassan because Hassan is the epitome of everything Amir is not. Hassan is athletic, naturally intelligent, and has a pure heart. While Baba ignores Amir, he admires Hassan, which is another reason Amir resents him. After the kite tournament, Amir witnesses Hassan getting raped and does not take action to stop Assef. Amir is filled with guilt because he did nothing to prevent Hassan from being raped. Amir can no longer be friends with Hassan because Hassan only reminds him of his cowardly decision to stand idly by and watch Hassan get raped.

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The strong underlying force of The Kite Runner is the relationship between Amir and Hassan. Discuss their relationship.

The relationship between Amir and Hassan probably seems unusual to many people (especially in America), but the class status between the two boys was the primary conflict between them. Amir could never forget that Hassan was his father's servant's son, and he had trouble identifying him as a "friend." The fact that Amir did not consider Hassan his equal was a major focus in the story. Hassan also seemed to realize this, but his admiration and love for Amir was far more concrete. Ali's physical deformity and Hassan's harelip were only part of the problem; the fact that the two were Hazaras, Afghanistan's most lowly ethnic group, was not lost on Amir. As an adult, Amir's treachery toward Hassan haunts him constantly, and it becomes a prime focus in his life. One wonders how Amir would have treated Hassan had he known the two were actually half-brothers: Would Amir still have been jealous of Baba's attention? Or would he have accepted Hassan as an equal--and a real friend?

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