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The story progresses hazara Hassan

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The most prominent character Hoseinni introduces in the novel is the hazara Hassan. His absolute loyalty to Amir can be seen on multiple occasions. However, as the story continues, it becomes apparent that Hassan’s loyalty eventually leads to his inevitable death. At the beginning of the novel, Hassan vows, without a seconds hesitiation, “For you a thousand times over” (2). This powerfully binding statement paints the picture of the supposedly everlasting brotherly bond forged with the flames of love between two friends.

As the story progresses, Hassan continues to show his firm loyalty by reamining by Amir’s side, standing up to the local bully Assef, and even undergoing sexual abuse, all just to fulfill Amir’s request to “Come back with [the kite]” (55). These actions clearly indicate to the audience that no matter what happens, Hassan will forever remain loyal to Amir. However, Amir does not display the same level of devotion to Hassan. He willingly lets him take the fall for actions he knows were his own wrong doings.

Amir even recounts to himself “But there was something fascinating -albeit in a sick way- about teasing Hassan. Kind of like when we used to play insect torture. Except now, he was the ant and I was holding the magnifying glass” (44). Consequently, Amir decides to push Hassan to his limit, constantly testing his dedication. In conversation Amir asks “[Would you] eat dirt if I told you too? ” ( and without a moments hesitation Hassan replies “If you asked I would” (44). Once again Hassan shows his unbreaking loyalty even when posed with such an absurd question.

As one final test, Amir tries to frame Hassan in the act of theft, the worst possible sin in Baba’s eyes in an effort to break Hassan’s loyalty. But once again, Hassan refuses to speak out against Amir, as his “final sacrifice” (__). Despite this final act of treason, Hassan is able to forgive Amir yet again and in the end, it is this constant loyalty that leads to the suffering and death Hassan is ultimately faced with. In his youth, Amir never truly displays the same level of devotion to Hassan as he recieved but to say that Amir completely detached himself from him is an exageration.

The brotherly love between them can be seen as Amir accepts the fact that there exists a “brotherhood between people who feed from the same breast” (__) but, due to the social norms of the time, Amir does not know whether he should show it. Based off the differences Amir observes between the way society treats the Hazaras, and the relationship between Ali and Baba, Amir is confused on what type of public relation to maintain with Hassan. “I was a Pashtun and he was a Hazara… and nothing was ever going to change that” (_).

Because of the way society saw Hassan, Amir treated Hassan as just “something he can play with when he’s bored” (77). Furthermore, it is Amir’s quest to gain Baba’s love, that tempts him to further abuse his relationship with Hassan. “Maybe Hassan was the price I had to pay, the lamb I had to slay to win Baba” (_). As Amir struggles to earn his father’s respect, he begins to take Hassan’s companionship and respect for granted, further instigating Hassan’s later suffering. However, even though he treats Hassan dishonrably, Amir still retains some loyalty to him.

When discussing mistakes from their past with his wife, Amir thinks to himself “I envied her, her secret was out… Dealt with” (_). Even though he never got to make amends, the fact that Amir still feels guilty after all these years is a sign of his lingering loyalty. This in turn drives him to find a way to atone for his mistakes and finally finds a way to show his loyalty to Hassan by taking Sohrab in as his nephew. Although Amir never showed the same level of loyalty as Hassan did in their youth, his ability to use his guilt to drive positive actions in the future should be highly regarded.

The final case that Hosseini uses to illustrate the effect of unreciprocated loyalty on relationships is Amir’s father, Baba. For a large part of the novel, Baba is seen as the father figure in the novel, a symbol of strength, success and respect. The people’s respect for him can be seen in the quote “When Baba ended his speech, people stood up and cheered” (10). But even though he is portayed as a hero, it was Baba who ended up betraying his childhood friend Ali in “the single worst way an Afghan man can be dishonered” (192).

By sleeping with Sanaubar, Ali’s wife, Baba has dishonored one of his closest and most loyal friends and ultimately loses Ali as a friend when he walks out. Ashamed by what he has done, Baba never reveals to Amir the truth of his actions. The only person Baba ends up telling is Rahim Khan due to the mutual trust and friendship they have established in the Afgahn society as social equals. However, by keeping the truth from Hassan and Amir, Baba breaks his number one belief: “There is only one sin… and that is theft” (12).

By lying to Amir and Hassan their whole lives, Baba has stolen their right to the truth, and has stolen Ali’s right to an honorable wife. After he commited the greatest sin, Baba feels extreme guilt and is determined to prove his loyalty to Ali. He begins to attempt to redeem himself and Rahim Khan notes that “good, real good was born out of your father’s remorse” (260) and every act of generosity from that point on “was all his way of redeeming himself” (260). It is these acts of kindness and selflessness that are meant to be valued even through Baba’s ill doings.

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