This explains why Baba loved Hassan so much -- Hassan was the more beloved brother, in Baba's eyes, even though he could not lay claim to him publically.
Finally, the novel reinforces blood ties perhaps most explicitly in the longing for a homeland that both Baba and Hassan experience. Neither of them can give up the past, no matter how much they try to move forward. After all, the novel begins with the words that Amir is who he is, not because of his location in the United States during the present moment of the book, or even his status as an author but of what happened back in pre-Taliban Kabul in 1975, "at the age of twelve, on a frigid and overcast day," remembering the events as if they still lived within him (Hosseini 1).
I had on 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."
During the incident described above, Amir perceives himself as having a choice. He can go into the alley and defend Hassan against Assef and his gang, and very likely get raped and beaten as well by the older, stronger boy. He knows he should because Hassan became a victim by refusing to yield Amir's kite to Assef. Hassan is sacrificing himself for Amir, as he later will sacrifice his life as an adult, protecting Baba's home. But Amir is a physical coward (and later an emotional coward) and instead he runs. This is why the event remains within him all of his life, and defines him -- Amir is a runner, running away from obligations, family, and home, while Hassan always stays and stands up for himself.
The irony, of course, in the novel is that the more Amir runs away from things, the more they remain with him. Even after his rape, Hassan stays in Baba's house until Amir concocts a terrible plot to extricate the boy from his home and father's heart. He cannot run away from Hassan's physical presence, and even after Hassan leaves, Amir still remembers his cowardice, and the incident haunts him for the rest of his life. His entire relationship with his father is defined and damaged by his inability to be a good son and to live up to the ideals of Hassan. "He got to decide what was black and white. You can't love a person who lives that way without fearing him too" (Hosseini 15).
Finally, by becoming a writer by trade, Amir is even more haunted by the ghosts of the past. Becoming a writer places him outside of the values and language of his culture, the morals idealized by Baba. But to be an artist he must come to terms with his relationship with his homeland and his failings as a child and as an adult. Time and time again Amir must relearn the truism that it is impossible to run away, and only by confronting evil can one vanquish it and feel whole.
Hosseini, Khaled. The…
Sources Used in Document:
Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. New York: Riverhead, 2004.