Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab once said "No amount of guilt can change the past and no amount of worry can change the future." In 'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini, he tells a story about a boy named Amir growing up having to deal with a great amount of guilt. Amir's lack of defending Hassan when he needed it the most portrays the guilt he had to deal with for the rest of his life.
Guilt can sometimes be hidden. At the beginning of the novel, Amir looks back at his life and the mistakes he has made. He explains it as "wrong what they say about the past, I've learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out"(1). After all of the years that flew by, Amir still has a feeling of guilt and regret. No matter how long ago the situation was or if he was forgiven, Amir's guilt will always haunt him and "eat" him alive. Ami flashes back to the time when Hassan needed him the most. As Hassan was being abused by Assef, Amir witnessed the entire incident. Amir had two opportunities. He could "step into that alley, stand up for Hassan . . . or run." Amir knew Assef would bully him as well. He thought if he ran away, then no one would know he witnessed the event and his life would not change and his reputation would not be at risk. Amir was only looking out for himself and did what he thought was the right thing for him to do at the time. The amount of guilt Amir felt was very vague because he did not think about Hassan and how the situation would affect him in the long run.
Guilt is like a shadow that follows you for the rest of your life. After watching the incident that Hassan had to go though, Amir ran away instead of sticking up for him. "The real reason I was running, was that Assef was right: Nothing was free in this world. Maybe Hassan was the price I had to pay, the lamb I had to slay, to win Baba"(77). Amir ran away because he wanted attention from Baba. He felt like Hassan was the barrier between Amir and Baba that was separating the two. He wanted Baba all to himself and the way for that to happen was if Amir kept quiet and pretended nothing happened. As days go by, Amir's decision to keep quiet came back to haunt him. Amir hoped "someone would wake up and hear, so I wouldn't have to live with this lie anymore. But no one woke up . . . I understood the nature of my new curse: I was going to get away with it"(86). Towards the middle of the book, Amir actually started to feel the guilt that was hidden towards Hassan. He felt the need to tell someone what he saw. Amir did not want to keep it in any longer. His guilt is starting to grow more and affect him.
Sometimes guilt can be a rude awakening. Assef and Amir reunited unexpectedly and started fighting. But Amir did not fight back, instead he laughed. "My body was broken . . . but I felt healed. Healed at last "(289). Amir thought he deserved the beatings to his face because it was like a payback for what he did to Hassan. Amir has been waiting his whole life for someone to do something about it, and now that someone did he feels complete. After Amir read the letter written to him by Rahim Khan, he could not help but think "what had I done, other than take my guilt out on the very same people I had betrayed, and then try to forget it all"(303). Amir is starting to realize what affects his guilt had on his life. He knows by not saying anything it made everything else worse. He betrayed the ones who were the most loyal and closest to him. Towards the end of the novel, Amir's guilt becomes more present to everyone and he does not keep it hidden anymore. Amir wants to move on. He feels like he messed up his life because he kept a secret that was about a horrible event. Amir's guilt is not "eating" him anymore but, it will always be in the back of his head forever.
Amir's lack of defending Hassan expresses his guilt throughout the book. His guilt becomes more present more towards the end of the novel. His life was greatly affected because of the amount of guilt he had to deal with. his life changed because he made a decision and how he has to deal with the guilt that follows him for the rest of his life.