No matter how far ahead you move in life, guilt will always drag you back. The Kite Runner follows Amir through his life in Afghanistan and the United states showing just how difficult dealing with the guilt and betrayal of the past can be. Khaled Hosseini develops the topics of guilt and betrayal through out the novel by showing how the different characters each handled their situation, and what they did to overcome it.
Amir feels guilty for not saving Hassan on the cold winter day of 1975. After Amir let Hassan get raped, he wanted someone to get onto him for letting it happen, but Hasson would not take action against him. This is shown when Amir says “I wished he would- I wished he’d give me the punishment I craved.” ( 92 ). Amir felt so guilty that he actually wanted to be punished for what he did. Even twenty years later in the book he has not forgiven himself. When Rahim says Hassans name Amir says to himself “ “Hassan”… those thorny old barbs of guilt bore into me once more”. ( 202 ). After twenty years of the passing of the rape just hearing Hassans name still affected him..
Baba betrayed Ali by sleeping with his wife. Ali and Baba were very good childhood friends, much like Amir and Hassan. It turned out however that Ali could not have kids, so when Ali’s wife turned out to be pregnant, he knew Baba betrayed him. We never heard Baba say anything about it, but we did get words from Amir saying “ how had Baba brought himself to look Ali in the eye” ( 225 ). Demonstrating that it would’ve been an incredible burden on Baba everyday with the guilt on his shoulders to see Ali. Rahim told us why Baba never said anything about it when he states “ All that a man had back then, all that he was, was his honor, his name. " ( 223 ). Further illustrating that even though Baba betrayed Ali, he never said anything about it.
Amir and Baba had a very complex relationship through out the book, but you would have never thought that Baba would have betrayed Amir. Once Amir finds out that Baba betrayed him by not telling him Hassan was his brother, he tells Rahim “I am thirty eight years old and I’ve just found out my life is one big fucking lie”, ( 223 ). This shows us how betrayed he feels because considering all the events in the book this is the only time he has used foul language. Amir just didn’t know how to feel about what he just heard, he said to himself "how am I going to reconcile this new image of Baba with the one had been imprinted on my mind for so long" ( 226 ). Further emphasizing how terrible he feels .
Guilt and betrayal completely change the characters actions dragging them back to some of their darkest moments in life. This can happen to many people in the world, but unlike Amir, they are sometimes never able to over come it.