Why is Amir angry at Baba in The Kite Runner?

Quick answer:

As an adult, Amir gets incredibly upset with Baba when he finds out that Baba was actually Hassan's biological father. Hassan is now dead and never knew the truth. Amir believes that Baba stole sacred parts of their lives with his lies.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

When Amir travels back to Afghanistan, he spends some time with Rahim Khan, who was Baba's former business partner. First, Amir learns that Hassan and his wife have been executed by the Taliban and that their son is now an orphan. Still reeling from this news, Amir is appalled when Rahim Khan asks him to travel to Kabul and rescue young Sohrab, who is so much like Hassan, from the orphanage. Amir protests, and Rahim Khan explains that this is part of Amir's duty.

He goes on to explain that Hassan's father, Ali, could not father biological children; instead, Baba was actually Hassan's biological father. Hassan died without ever knowing the truth.

Amir is furious that the truth has been hidden from him for so many years. Hassan wasn't simply a loyal friend; the two were unknowingly half-brothers. Amir becomes furious that his entire life has been a "lie," and he becomes even more upset as he considers the clues throughout his life that might have revealed the truth if he had been paying attention. Baba had paid to repair Hassan's cleft palate. He never missed Hassan's birthday. He once told Amir that Hassan was "family."

Baba had taught Amir that "there is only one sin, and that is theft." Amir believes that his father died as the worst kind of thief because he had stolen "sacred" parts of Amir and Hassan's lives: brotherhood, identity, and honor.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Why does Amir resent Hassan in The Kite Runner?

Amir resents Hassan because Baba shows him more attention and interest as a child. Even though Hassan suffers from discrimination because he is a Hazara and lacks many of the opportunities and privileges Amir enjoys, Amir resents Hassan for gaining Baba's affection and respect. Amir desperately wishes to gain his father's love and attention but is not naturally athletic or masculine. In contrast, Hassan is naturally gifted, fearless, and completely innocent. Amir's negative feelings of jealousy and resentment stem from his low self-esteem and lack of affection. When Hassan is present around his father, Amir feels neglected and is treated as an afterthought. There are many moments when Amir pleads with his father to not bring Hassan along with them because he wants Baba's full attention. It is Amir's jealousy and resentment that motivate him to not intervene when Assef is raping Hassan, which eventually ruins their friendship. As an adult, Amir discovers that Hassan was his half-brother, which explains Baba's fascination and admiration for him.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Why does Amir resent Hassan in The Kite Runner?

The issue of a father's love or attention becomes the root of why Amir resents Hassan.  Amir is bookish, more cerebral, and much more introverted than Hassan, whose nature as a child is quite the opposite.  As a child, Amir does not understand why his father demonstrates more outward affection to Hassan, and this becomes the basis of his resentment towards him. Of course, he later understands why this was the case.   Both are still friends, and Amir does not let his father's attention ruin the fundamental relationship between both of them.  Yet, this issue, or wedge, between how the father perceives both becomes the fundamental issue in reflecting the resentment that Amir has towards Hassan.  It is also the reason why Amir does not stand up for nor help Hassan in his time of need.  Consequently, it is the reason for the haunting that still follows Amir even when he leaves Afghanistan, triggering his need to return to it.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

How does Amir betray Hassan in The Kite Runner?

The betrayal that haunts Amir the most occurs when the boys encounter Assef after the kite tournament. When Assef demands that Hassan give him Amir's kite, Hassan refuses, insisting that Amir is his friend. Assef retorts that he needs to teach Hassan a lesson, calling him a "disrespectful donkey." Assef instructs his friends to hold Hassan down so that he can sexually violate him. Hassan is resigned to his role as a metaphorical "lamb" to protect Amir; in return, Amir makes no effort to help or save Hassan. He briefly considers making a different choice, but ultimately takes a cowardly decision:

I had one last chance to make a decision. One final opportunity to decide who I was going to be. I could step into that alley, stand up for Hassan—the way he'd stood up for me all those times in the past—and accept whatever would happen to me. Or I could run.

In the end, I ran.

After this horrific incident, Amir is consumed with guilt. He can't sleep and is annoyed that "Hassan [keeps] trying to rekindle" their friendship. He eventually asks his father if they can just get new servants, and his father indicates that he has no intention of doing such a thing, calling Hassan "family."

Amir concocts a plan that will betray Hassan a second time. Wanting to rid himself of Hassan's presence, he plants his new watch and some cash under Hassan's mattress. When Baba confronts Hassan and asks whether he'd stolen the money and watch, Hassan delivers a single word in response: "Yes."

Hassan meets Amir's betrayal with unflinching loyalty, just as he always has. Consequently, Amir realizes that he isn't "worthy" of the sacrifices Hassan makes for him.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Why does Amir feel distant from Soraya in The Kite Runner?

The Kite Runner deals primarily with the themes of guilt and redemption. In many ways, both those things are defined by the harsh Afghan culture and the society that dictates how people's lives should be run. Amir, the novel's protagonist, has a particularly hard time separating his own truths from those of the people around him. This ends up being the cause of the guilt that pains him for years, until he finally decides to try and redeem himself.

His wife, Soraya, on the other hand, never struggles with that particular problem. Being born a woman, she was always in a more difficult situation than Amir, but she ended up a much stronger person. Despite the patriarchal society she lives in, Soraya grew up to be both rebellious and good. She was able to critically determine exactly which parts of her culture she agreed with and which she didn't want to adhere to. Her decision to run away with an Afghan man, to whom she wasn't married, cost her a lot and put her in a difficult position, but Soraya's problems are all external, while Amir's are internal. She is criticized by the refugee community for her actions, but Soraya herself is not a conflicted person. She is aware that the community is being unfair to her. Amir, on the other hand, knows he's in the wrong and does nothing about it, being eaten up inside by his own conscience. Amir envies Soraya; that is the reason why he feels a bit distant from his wife. He loves her a lot, but he also feels inferior to her.

Unlike Amir, who can't bring himself to confess what happened to Hassan, Soraya is able to be honest about her past. This means that Amir is keenly aware of how far ahead of him Soraya is. She owns up to her "mistakes"—which are only mistakes according to their oppressive community—while he hasn't been able to deal with much worse things that are definitely his fault. Like with Hassan many years before, Amir starts to feel distant from a person he loves who makes him feel quite small with their example. This time, however, that feeling leads to Amir finally taking steps to atone for his sins and ends up bringing him closer to Soraya as well.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Why does Amir feel distant from Soraya in The Kite Runner?

In the story, Amir briefly felt distant from Soraya when she told him the truth about her past, while he was unable to share his past. Soraya told Amir about how in the past she ran away with a man. She was rebellious, and the man was into drugs. Members of her community talked about it, and the situation brought shame to her family. Eventually, her father found her, and she went back home.

Amir, on the other hand, thought of telling Soraya about his past, but he couldn’t talk about it and decided to keep it a secret. Amir wanted to tell Soraya of how he betrayed Hassan, how he framed him for theft, which led to the end of a forty-year relationship between his father and Ali. According to Amir, Soraya was better than him because she had the courage to tell him the truth.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Why do you think Amir states that he never thought of Hassan as his friend in The Kite Runner?

There are a number of reasons why Amir can never fully accept Hassan as a true friend, and not just as a playmate during his hours away from school. First, Hassan and Ali are both Hazara, the lowest ethnic class in Afghanistan. Amir is constantly reminded of Hassan's social status--by classmates, people on the street and even, more discreetly, Baba himself. Considered valued members of the household, Ali and Hassan nevertheless live in a mud hut on the property, not within Baba's spacious home. Although Amir enjoys Hassan's company, it is easier for him to avoid the scrutiny of others by abandoning the Hazara boy except when it suits him. Their differences are always visible to Amir: Hassan has a harelip (and Ali is crippled) and dresses simply in the local tradition; he is illiterate and gullible; and Hassan has the distinct Mongol features that so easily separates the Hazara from the other tribes in Afghanistan. As he grows older, Amir finds himself  embarrassed to be seen with Hassan in public.

Jealously becomes another reason Amir cannot think of Hassan as a friend. Amir is practically obsessed with gaining the positive attentions of Baba, and when Amir sees  Baba's own attentiveness of Hassan growing stronger, Amir's jealousy strikes out at Hassan. It is this streak that moves Amir to falsely accuse Hassan of stealing, thinking Baba will never trust Hassan again. Instead, Baba forgives Hassan, and Hassan shows his own loyalty to Amir by refusing to tell Baba of Amir's transgressions against him. Amir is even jealous of the few gifts Baba gives Hassan, such as the expensive kite and the payment of the operation to medically correct the boy's harelip.

Cowardice is yet another reason Amir has for refusing to call Hassan his friend. Amir doesn't have the moral fortitude to stand up for Hassan when he is verbally attacked on the streets, nor does he have the courage to intervene when Assef rapes Hassan. It becomes easier for Amir to take the cowardly way out in his dealings with Hassan, best exemplified by his placement of his own birthday presents under Hassan's mattress. 

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Last Updated on