Student Question

What is the significance of this quote in The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini?

“I was learning that Baba was a thief. And a thief of the worst kind, because the things he had stolen had been scared from me the right to know I had a brother, from Hassan his identity and from Ali his honour. His nang. His namoos."

Expert Answers

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This statement, made by Amir, the novel's narrator, comes as the novel approaches a resolution; Amir has discovered that his childhood friend and playmate, Hassan, was actually his brother, a fact kept secret by both boys' father, Baba, for years and years.  It is a final heartbreaking twist as Amir continues to struggle, as he has for decades, with his childhood betrayal of his friend Hassan, who forgave him, and continued to love him like a brother until the day he died.  Amir realizes that his father, Baba, was more or less a fraud, an irony underscored by his lifelong posturing and all of the work that he put into keeping up appearances and presenting himself as an honorable man.  Hosseini develops Baba's character as someone who, although he truly loves his sons, makes his decisions based on an inherently selfish and self-centered ego, and these decisions affected both boys for the rest of their lives.  Amir will take advantage of an opportunity to atone for both his and his father's sins, but Hassan died without ever knowing of Amir's deep guilt and regret, and by the time Amir gets custody of Hassan's son, the child is already a deeply damaged and troubled individual. 

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