In Khaled Hosseinis book The Kite Runner, Hosseini describes the relationship between Amir, a young, upper class Pashtun boy from a wealthy family, and Hassan, a young Hazara boy who lives in his home as Amirs servant. The two boys are close friends and, later, turn out to be brothers.
The author has written about the close friendship that the two boys had and highlighted many of the social and historical issues that the boys had confronted, such as the discrimination and persecution of Hazara people by the Pashtun majority, the overthrow of the Afghan monarchy, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the rise of the Taliban regime. Even though the author highlights these aspects of Afghanistan, he still focuses on the friendship between the two boys with these issues remaining in the background of the story. He uses these issues as a basis for his story, not to be the center of it. Hosseini focuses more on issues of strained friendships and relationships, redemption, and the resilience of the human spirit.
This book leaves one to determine whether or not the two boys were true friends. Even though Amir did terrible things to Hassan and Hassan seemed to be a better friend to Amir than Amir was to Hassan, the two boys were friends for several reasons. First, they play together, despite the distinction of class, religion, and ethnicity. Amir is from the Pashtun majority, a Sunni Muslim, and wealthy. Hassan, on the other hand, is poor, a Shia Muslim, and from the minority Hazara tribe. Amir reflects upon these differences and how these differences did not change their relationship:
In the end, I was a Pashtun and he was a Hazara. I was Sunni and he was Shia, and nothing was ever going to change that. Nothing. But we were kids, who had learned to crawl together. And no history, ethnicity, society, or religion was going to change that either
Second, Amir felt guilt and shame about Hassan being raped for his whole life. He felt guilty about not being able to stand up for him due to his own cowardice and his envy of the Hassan. Amir felt so horrible about not intervening on Hassans behalf that he took drastic measures to try and alleviate his guilt. He threw pomegranates at Hassan hoping Hassan would beat him. Instead, Hassan simply grabbed a pomegranate and smashed it onto his forehead and asked Amir if he felt better. Also, Amir framed Hassan for stealing his watch with the hopes of driving Hassan away so he would not have to experience guilt anymore. In Chapter One, the narrator explains how witnessing Hassans rape made him who he was today:
I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975. I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek. That was a long time ago, but its wrong what they say about the past, Ive learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.
If Amir did not view Hassan as a friend, he would not have felt as bad as he did about Hassans rape. Also, Amir would not have taken the measures he did in order to make Hassan and Ali leave Babas home.