Friends play an indispensable role in people’s lives. They are more than a companion, for they are always present during happy and difficult days. They provide an open ear to listen, give a shoulder to cry on, and they will fight to remain accountable and loyal at all times. They offer a complex range of ideas and motivations to learn and grow as an individual. George Washington once said in quotations, “Friendship is a plant of slow growth and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.” For some people, friendship comes easy, but for others, it must pass through tests for it to gain the meaning of true friendship. In the Novel, the Kite Runner by Hosseini Khaled, the story presents the relationship between Amir and Hassan as the central theme and how their actions and words impacted on their friendship.
The story of the Kite Runner presents the relationship between Amir and Hassan and how it shapes their friendship as it develops. In the story, Amir is the son of a popular and rich man in Kabul, Afghanistan whom he refers to as “Baba” while Hassan is the son of Amir’s father servant. Amir and Hassan are childhood friends, and since their birth they have been close, playing together and enjoying each other’s company while they explored their surroundings and adventures. Amir narrates, “We were children who had learned how to crawl together, and nothing can change that, be it ethnicity, religion, or social class (Hosseini, 25).” This statement reveals the bond that both Amir and Hassan shared despite knowing that they were not brothers by blood. However, time created various obstacles which affected the nature of this childhood friendship changing their relationship. These obstacles brought about resentment and hatred and it testing the loyalty of their friendship.
The relationship between Amir and Hassan is puzzling because while Hassan’s love for Amir is selfless, Amir is selfish and afraid to be Hassan’s friend. Amir fails to admit that Hassan is his friend because of their differences in social classes. Amir is a Pushtan belonging to the ruling class while Hassan is a Hazara hailing from a lower class ethnic group. Amir fears to call Hassan his friend verbally because to him, Hassan is a mere servant belonging to a low social class. He says, not one point did Baba ever refer to Ali as his friend, neither did I think of Hassan as my friend. It is not easy to overcome history or religion. Amir reflects that nothing can change the fact that he and Hassan are different, and that is why he fears to become close with Hassan. There were many instances when Amir is challenged to stand up for Hassan as his friend, but since he considers Hassan as a servant, he does not want people to think any less of him. For this reason, Amir feels guilty towards Hassan, and so he cannot even go anywhere near him.
As a result of this fear, Amir is constantly testing Hassan’s loyalty to determine if he indeed is his friend. As the son of the most well-known wealthy man in Kabul, Amir is compelled to exercise power and control over Hassan whom he considers more of a servant than a friend. Even though they grew up together, Amir does not see Hassan as his equal. But despite everything that Amir put Hassan through, Hassan remains loyal. Amir treats Hassan in cruelly because he feels contempt for his actions, and no matter how many times he pushed away Hassan, he still stayed. He did this for his self-hatred, and he could only feel better by hurting Hassan. When Assef asks Amir about Hassan, he almost blurts out, “He is not my friend, he is my servant,” and this shows how Amir regards Hassan who despite everything considers him his friend (Hosseini, 41). Hassan tells him, “For you a thousand times” to show how unwavering his loyalty is towards Amir (Hosseini, 67). Amir feels that he does not deserve Hassan’s respect and loyalty, and that is why he is mean to him and thinks that if he hurts Hassan, he will go away.
Amir resents Hassan for the fact that despite everything that he put Hassan through, he remained loyal to him and this fact did not make him happy. He feels that he does not deserve Hassan’s loyalty and respect, and therefore Amir becomes mean and does not defend Hassan when he needs him the most. A chance comes for Amir to return his loyalty towards Hassan when Assef beats Hassan and rapes him, but Amir watches in fear and does nothing to help his friend. He says, “I opened my mouth to say something but I could not, I just watched paralyzed (Hosseini, 73).” Amir keeps quiet about the rape, but Hassan too says nothing, and this makes Amir resent him. He feels guilty, and he does not want anything to do with Hassan, and as a result, he does everything to drive Hassan and his father Ali away from their home. Baba treats Hassan and Amir the same way, and sometimes better than Amir, and this does not make him happy. Amir resent Hassan for the way he favors Hassan even though he considers him a servant. Amir watches the way Baba gives the attention he seeks from him to Hassan, and he develops an envious behavior.
After the kite tournament, Amir isolates himself from Hassan causing complications in their relationship. During this tournament, Hassan tells Amir,” For you a thousand times” while leaving to run the kite to show his love and loyalty to Amir. However, Amir fails to rescue his friend who stood by him when he needed him the most. Friends are supposed to help each other out in times of difficulties, but Amir betrayed Hassan and watched in cowardice as Assef tortured and raped him. Feeling guilty, Amir decides not to go anywhere near Hassan, and he even plots against him so that he could leave because he is constantly reminded of his selfish actions. His actions drive him crazy He says, “I lifted Hassan’s mattress and planted a handful of Afghani notes and my watch under it. I knocked on Baba’s door and then revealed to him the lies (Hosseini, 104).” Amir tried to make it seem like Hassan was a thief, and he knew the grave consequences of theft.
In summary, this story presents the relationship between Amir and Hassan and how their journey of friendship faced obstacles such as hatred and resentment impacting on their lives. Every individual is bound to make mistakes and suffer as a result; this story and the relationship between Amir and Hassan teaches the audience to develop genuine friendships and not to let prejudices such as social inequality come in the way.