Betrayal of Deep Friendships and the Consequences

7 July 2016

“Love is whatever you can still betray. Betrayal can only happen if you love” (John Le Carre). Betrayal is a huge part of Gene and Amirs’ lives in A Separate Peace and in The Kite Runner. They are both pushed to do things they normally wouldn’t do because of the feelings of guilt from betraying their best friends. They betray the people closest to them, the only people who truly care for them. The circumstances and outcomes of both books are shockingly similar and lead both to betrayal of best friends which leads to earth shattering remorse and guilt, then redemption.

Both books offer a glimpse at betrayal, the pains of war and the impact of guilt. In the two books, there are many examples of betrayal leading to horrendous things, and situations where one choice snowballs into a thunderous conclusion. In A Separate Peace, Gene betrays Finny, again and again. It starts with one big betrayal which then led to many others. Gene tried to kill Finny, he “… took a step towards [Finny] and then [his] knees bent and [he] jounced the limb” (60). With that one simple movement, that one choice, Gene almost ended Finny’s life.

Betrayal of Deep Friendships and the Consequences Essay Example

He betrayed Finny’s trust and friendship, and because of that one betrayal, Gene ended up betraying Finny’s trust time and time again to try and cover his first betrayal. He started to tell Finny the truth about his attempted murder when he stopped. He decided he “… would have to back out of it, [he] would have to disown it” (70). Gene decided that Finny didn’t want to hear the truth and couldn’t bear the truth, so he never told Finny. He again, betrayed Finny’s trust. When Finny later found out the truth, he was so shocked and distraught that he ran out of the room and fell down the stairs, breaking his leg and eventually dying.

Gene’s choice to betray Finny led to many more betrayals and eventually Finny’s untimely death. In The Kite Runner, there is a similar type of betrayal, a betrayal between best friends. Amir betrays Hassan by not protecting him when he was being raped. Hassan had protected Amir countless times before, but when he is getting raped, Hassan, “didn’t struggle. Didn’t even whimper. He moved his head slightly and [Amir] caught a glimpse of his face” (76). Amir stood by and watched while his best friend and half brother was raped.

He didn’t do anything to stop it. Then later, Amir is so guilty he makes up lies about Hassan stealing to try and kick them out, and at that point, Hassan and his dad leave the house out of shame. Even in this last moment of betrayal, Hassan still protects Amir. During the final confrontation between Amir, Baba, Hassan and Ali, Hassan could have told the truth, he could have said he didn’t steal and Amir had framed him. However, Hassan didn’t. At this time Amir’s “heart sank and [he] almost blurted out the truth.

Then [he] understood: This was Hassan’s final sacrifice for [him]” (105). Amir had betrayed Hassan a second time and then a third by not telling the truth to save Hassan and give him and Ali the protection of the house. His betrayal also eventually led to Hassan’s death. Had Amir chosen to intervene in Hassan’s rape, he wouldn’t have felt guilty enough to lie about Hassan stealing which led to Hassan leaving the house and having to live in Pakistan in a war zone where he was persecuted and killed. In both books, an initial betrayal led to a death of a best friend.

Death of a best friend, especially when it is your fault, is one of the most severe consequences that could ever be experienced. Gene and Amir betrayed their closest, most loyal friends, and faced the worst possible consequences. Both A Separate Peace and The Kite Runner take place during a war time which brings many things, and among them, pain and distress are the most prominent. In A Separate Peace, all the students face an exponential amount of stress as the thought of war and the question of whether to enlist or wait to be drafted was thrown about.

Some had trouble focusing on their studies, while to Gene “Sports don’t seem so important with the war on” (114). The kids at Devon couldn’t focus on the things they normally would be doing. Everyone was asking and wondering who would enlist? Some students like Brinker and Quackenbush claimed they would enlist and bragged about all the things they would accomplish. Surprisingly, Leper actually said he was “‘… going to enlist in these ski troops,’” (125). and followed through with his actions. However, the consequence of Leper’s choice to join the military led to a bad conclusion.

Leper was given a Section Eight discharge, a discharge reserved “‘… for the nuts in the service, the psychos, the Funny Farm candidates’” (144). Leper was a casualty of war, and he wasn’t the only one. According to Brinker, “‘[Finny is] the casualty’” (167). The Kite Runner is also an excellent example of the pain of war. Bad people rise to power in Pakistan. Amir’s childhood bully and Hassan’s rapist became a high ranking Taliban official and a widely feared figure, who later took children from the orphanage as sex slaves.

Hassan’s own son was a casualty of this after the Taliban “‘-shot [Hassan] in the back of his head. ’” (219). Sohrab was made an orphan due to war and the persecution of the Hazaras. Sohrab’s whole family was hurt by the war, along with the common majority living in Pakistan. As both stories show, the pain of war affects individuals as well as whole communities or countries. It is a deadly and painful component of life and impacts a multitude of people.

There is an immense amount of guilt thrown about in A Separate Peace and The Kite Runner as both Gene and Amir severely betray their friends, and that guilt doesn’t leave, it festers throughout the whole book. In A Separate Peace, Gene “never talked about Phineas… ” (202) because it hurt too much. Gene betrays Finny, then later, can’t even think of him, he can’t bear to remember him. Gene is so guilty about making Finny fall out of the tree and then lying to him which eventually, in a round about way, led to his imminent death, that talking about Finny was too much, he just couldn’t bear it.

However, something good did come out of Gene’s guilt. When Finny dies, Gene’s, “… fury was gone” (203). Finny’s death after Gene’s betrayal helped make Gene a better person. “Phineas had absorbed it and taken it with him, and I was rid of it forever” (203). Without that anger, that fury, Gene was a more open minded person. He was free of his own wrath. Gene was able to focus on the big picture and not just the little things like who is going to jump out of the tree? or who will be valedictorian? or will Finny find out what I did?

The original betrayal then the lingering impact of guilt had a good and a bad side to it. The Kite Runner has similar outcomes due to Amir’s everlasting guilt. Amir went back to Pakistan to save Hassan’s son. Not only did he save Sohrab from child slavery but he invited him to “‘come live in America with [him] and [his] wife? ’” (322) Had it not been for Amir’s guilt at betraying Hassan in the first place, Amir wouldn’t have gone back, wouldn’t have gone into Pakistan and save the poor boy. Amir became a better person due to the consequences

of his guilt. When Assed is beating him, Amir thought “My body was broken – just how badly I wouldn’t find out until later – but I felt healed (289). Amir betrays his best friend and as he later finds out, his half brother, then when he is getting beat trying to redeem himself, he actually feels healed. He gets his redemption, and like Gene, becomes a better person, and learns a lesson from his guilt. In both books, there is a large betrayal followed by guilt everlasting and some form of redemption shaping the guilty into a better person.

Across both novels, the overarching idea that keeps showing up is if you betray your friends, even during hard times, then it will come back to haunt you but can lead to redemption. Gene and Amir both did awful things to the people that cared about them and committed atrocious betrayals. However, they then faced an insurmountable amount of guilt which eventually led to redemption. The guilt shaped them into better people. Betrayal, while it is an awful thing, doesn’t always have entirely negative outcomes.

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