CHAPTER 1 Summary

The narrator begins the story by proclaiming, “I became what I am today at the age of twelve.” He describes a mysterious crumbling mud wall and an alley beside a frozen creek in the year 1975. He affirms that he has been “peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.” The narrator then tells us that he had received a telephone call from his friend, Rahim Khan, in Pakistan. To him, it isn’t just Rahim Khan on the line; it is his past which is filled with sins for which he never atoned. After he hangs up on the call, he goes for a walk along Spreckels Lake on the northern edge of Golden Gate Park where he sees a pair of kites soaring in the sky. They remind him of Hassan, the harelipped (cleft palate, a congenital abnormality) kite runner who had once told the narrator, “For you a thousand times over.” He replays the last words of the telephone conversation from Rahim Khan, “There is a way to be good again.” All the names of that time in 1975 flood back into his mind, the time when everything changed and he became who he is today.

We do not yet know our narrator’s name, but we do know some significant things about him: he lives in San Francisco and is of Middle Eastern descent; the year 1975, when he was twelve years old, was a pivotal time in his life; and there was a young man who was an important part of his life, a young man named Hassan who had a harelip and who seems to have been inordinately devoted to our narrator. This chapter then prepares us for an extraordinary story about to unfold.

CHAPTER 2 Summary
This chapter opens with the narrator’s childhood memory of him and Hassan climbing the poplar tree in the driveway of his father’s home and using a mirror to reflect sunlight into the windows of the neighbors’ houses. He describes their boyish misbehavior in a fond way and also describes Hassan as having a face of a Chinese doll chiseled from hardwood. The face is marred by the harelip as through “the Chinese doll maker’s instrument may have slipped.” It’s also obvious that the narrator takes advantage of Hassan who he says would never deny him anything. Some of things he asks him to do are wrong, but Hassan never blames the narrator, always accepting responsibility himself. The narrator tells us he lives with his father, his baba, in the most beautiful house in his district in the northern part of Kabul, Afghanistan. His father is wealthy and influential, but it is apparent that he doesn’t provide the narrator with the time the boy would like with him. He describes many of the pictures in their home, including one of his father with King Nadir Shah in 1931 and one with his best friend and business partner, Rahim Khan. His father holds the narrator close as a baby in the picture, but his little hand is curled around the finger of Rahim Khan. On the south end of the garden behind his father’s house sits a modest mud hut, where Hassan lives with his father, Ali. Hassan had been born there just one year after the narrator’s mother had died giving birth to him. In the eighteen years that the narrator lived in the house, he had only been inside that hut a handful of times.

Hassan’s mother, Sanaubar, left him and his father when she decided to run off with a clan of traveling singers and dancers. They narrator wonders if Hassan ever dreams of his mother or aches for her like the narrator aches for his mother. Some of the narrator’s earliest memories of Hassan are of the discrimination he faces because he is Hazara. Hazaras were in the minority, because they were Shi’a (Shiite) Muslims and not Sunni Muslims. They were identified by their "Chinese-like" faces, because they were of Mongol descent. The narrator also tells us about Ali, Hassan’s father, who has two congenital deformities: his lower facial muscles are paralyzed, leaving him unable to smile, and forced to show his feelings with his eyes; and he had suffered through polio and his right leg was atrophied, forcing him to swing the weak leg in an arc as he walked. The narrator used to follow Ali through the streets and mimic his walk, but Ali never said anything ever. The neighborhood children were afraid of him and called him Babalu, or Boogeyman.

The narrator never knew much about the Hazara, because his history books seldom said anything about these people. Then, he discovered in one of his mother’s old books an entire chapter about how his people, thePashtun, had persecuted and oppressed the Hazara. When he shows the chapter to his history teacher, the man just wrinkles his nose and comments that the Shi’a way is to pass themselves off as martyrs. When he said the word Shi’a, he pronounced it like it was a disease. The narrator remembers that he heard that Hassan’s mother had taunted Ali just like the neighborhood kids had done. What’s more, at Hassan’s birth, seeing the harelip, she had sneered that Ali now had his own idiot child to smile for him. She had refused to even hold her baby and five days later, she was gone. As a result, the narrator’s father had hired the same woman who was nursing him to nurse Hassan, a blue-eyed Hazara woman from Bamiyan. Ali would always sing the song she had sung to the two babies and would then remind them both that there was a brotherhood between people who had fed from the same breast, a kinship that not even time could break. The narrator and Hassan had done everything together from the beginning. His first word was Baba, but Hassan’s was Amir, the narrator’s name. The narrator believes that the foundation for what happened in 1975 and all that followed was already laid in their first words.

This chapter introduces us to what obviously impacted greatly on Amir’s life: his father, Ali, and Hassan; the fact that his mother died at his birth and Hassan’s mother ran away; the fact that they are from two different social classes, Pashtun and Hazara; and the fact that he and Hassan fed at the same breast and that they believe in his country that that makes them brothers forever. By telling us these things, he is preparing us for significant events that will involve these people and the things that happened to them from the time they were born. He is also, in a subtle way, telling us that all these events had molded him into the man that he somehow is ashamed of having become and that he still has time, as Rahim Khan had said, to “find a way to be good again.”

CHAPTER 3 Summary
Amir opens this chapter by telling us how lore has it that his father once wrestled a black bear with his bare hands. Of course, he informs us at the same time that exaggeration orlaaf is a national affliction. Rahim Khan referred to Amir’s father as Toophan agha, or “Mr. Hurricane,” because his father was almost a force of nature. He was also a very good and generous man, having built an orphanage in the late 1960’s. On the day before the orphanage opened, Baba took Amir to Ghargha Lake for a picnic. He had wanted to bring Hassan as well, but Amir had lied and said Hassan was sick so he could have his father all to himself. He aches for his father’s praise and resents it when Hassan receives it instead. This happened once when they were skipping stones across the lake and he could only make it skip five times to Hassan’s eight. His father had patted Hassan on the back and even put his arms around his shoulders. Amir never had his father do the same to him. While they are at the lake for the picnic, Baba spends the time eating and working on his speech for the orphanage while Amir tries to get his attention by telling him that he thinks he has saratan or cancer. Baba just grunts and tells him to get the soda from the car. At the opening ceremony of the orphanage, Amir gets to hold his father’s hat while he gives his speech, a great honor for the young boy. The speech gets a long standing ovation and it allows Amir to further reflect on the man his father is: even though he was told that business was not in his blood, he established a very successful carpet exporting business, two pharmacies, and a restaurant with Rahim Khan as his partner; and when people said that he would never marry well, he met and married Sofia Akrami, a widely regarded and respected young woman of Kabul. To Amir, he is the only glaring exception to his father’s success. His father was a man who saw everything in black and white and as Amir says, he gets to decide what is black and what is white. This makes him a man to be both loved and feared and even hated a little. When Amir went into the fifth grade, he had a mullah (religious teacher) who taught his class about Islam, including the five daily namaz, or prayers and memorized verses from the Koran. He told his father one day what the mullah had taught them about the sins of drinking alcohol, while his father was pouring himself a whiskey. Baba sat down and pulled Amir onto his lap and told him that he would never “learn anything of value from those bearded idiots.” He proclaims that God will have to help them all if Afghanistan ever falls into the hands of the mullahs. Then, he tells Amir that despite what the mullahs teach, there is only one real sin and that is the sin of theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft and he cautions Amir to never forget that. In fact, he says that any man who takes what is not his to take is a man Baba will spit upon. Amir is very impressed with what his father says, but he is more impressed that he had talked to Amir man to man. He wonders how long it will be before his father talks that way to him again. Amir feels like his father hates him a little, because he had killed his mother when she bled to death giving birth to him. He believes that he should have had the decency to have turned out more like his father for having taken his beloved wife from him. Unfortunately, Amir is nothing like his father.

In school, Amir and his classmates play a game called Sherjangi, or “Battle of the Poems.” One student recites a verse from a poem and the opponent has sixty seconds to reply with a verse that begins with the same letter with which the first verse ends.

Amir is a dismal failure. on wine. trying valiantly not to show his disgust with a son who would cry at this famous. He also takes Amir to the yearly Buzkashi tournament. He wants him to achieve at sports and tries to get him to play soccer. or drunk. He insists that if he hadn’t seen the doctor pull Amir out of his mother with his own eyes. While they are at the tournament. He is the orphan son of a Hazara couple who had been killed on the road by two brothers who were high on hashish and mast. Baba is never impressed by this success of his son. He presents his Baba as a man who is larger than life and one whom Amir wishes he were exactly alike. he would never believe he is his son. Ali. had already stolen something very important from him. Notes This chapter is a reliving for Amir of how very much he desired his father’s acceptance and approval and how very seldom he received it. manly sport. Amir says that never in all the stories his father told about him and Ali did he ever refer to Ali as his friend. or highly skilled horseman. his father points out Henry Kissinger. CHAPTER 4 Summary This chapter begins with the background of Ali. carry the carcass with him around the stadium at full gallop. in spite of his contempt for thieves. Amir’s grandfather had been the judge who had ordered the two boys to serve in the army for one year as punishment and who had then taken the orphan son of the dead couple. sitting in the stands. It also occurs to him that he never thought of Hassan as his friend either. We will eventually see that his fear of the mullahs will come true when the Taliban eventually takes over the rule of Afghanistan and when Amir will learn that his father. but is not. Amir begins to cry and his tears force Baba to take him home. Amir goes on to describe all the different activities that he and Hassan would share: chasing the nomads. However. and drop it in a scoring circle while the opposing team’s chapandaz does everything in his power to snatch the carcass from him. The most poignant aspect of this chapter is the end when Amir overhears the worst words any child can hear from a parent: that he is a disappointment to his father and that his father wonders if he might not be his son at all. watching American .one of the chapandaz fell off his saddle and is trampled to death in front of the entire crowd. to snatch a goat or cattle carcass from the midst of a melee. Amir overhears his father tell Rahim Khan that “there is something missing in that boy. His father presents Amir with some wisdom that is also foreshadowing: he tells Amir that the mullahs would ruin Afghanistan and that the only sin is theft of any kind. Amir is riveted by a terrible accident . into his own home. they had fed from the same breast and had learned to crawl together and nothing would change that either. He had raised Ali with Amir’s Baba and they had grown up together just as Amir and Hassan have done a generation later. Unfortunately. Later that night. This is Afghanistan’s national passion: the object of the sport is for a chapandaz.” His father is upset that Amir never takes a stand or fights back against the other boys in the neighborhood and he fears that he will become a man who can’t stand up to anything. Of course. He is Pashtun and Sunni and Hassan is Hazara and Shi’a and nothing will ever change that.Amir is so good at this game that everyone wants him on their team. Hassan’s father. hurling pebbles from Hassan’s slingshot. the American Secretary of State.

Then. Also. he finds the plot hole in Amir’s story. Hassan loves them and begs him to read them again the next day. At that moment. Amir goes to school. Afghanistan changes forever.” Rahim Khan leaves Amir a note and speaks one word after reading the story: “Bravo!” The note is filled with praise for Amir. “Bravo!” He tells Amir thatInshallah. only to learn that he has killed his own son. instead of reading the words of the epic as written. or God willing. he rushes downstairs and wakes Hassan to listen to the new story. The story Amir writes is rejected by his father. Amir is angry for a moment that an illiterate Hazara had taught him about a weakness in his writing. It is the Afghanistan version of racism and classism and he and Hassan will become its victims in more ways than one. someday he will be a great writer and people all over the world will read his stories. the Sultans of Kabul. made up in his own imagination. He is rapt with attention until Amir finishes it and then he says the same thing as Rahim Khan. all while Hassan fulfills the role of Amir’s servant at the same time. Rahim Khan tries valiantly to substitute his own praise for that missing from Baba. but for Amir. Unfortunately. he is often seen as more intelligent than Amir and even though he can neither read nor write.his father doesn’t show any interest in even reading it. Hassan never believes he is better than his young master and actually idolizes him. Amir is so amazed at Hassan’s reaction that he sits down that night and writes his first short story. The ending of the chapter is an ominous one in that the life Amir and Hassan and their families have always known is about to come to an end. a very tragic tale in which the two warriors battle each other and one kills the other. They stay huddled together for the .western movies. Nonetheless. Rahim Khan is there and asks to read the story. it is not enough. His father is relieved that his friend is willing to read the story and leaves the room. One day. The story Hassan loves about Rostam and Sohrab is significant in that he will eventually name his own son Sohrab. the tenth century epic of ancient Persian heroes. but Hassan does not and so. It was about Rostam and Sohrab. exactly what he would have wished his father had said instead. He starts to explain to Hassan why he had written it that way. Fortunately for Amir. He takes it to his father and receives the usual lukewarm reaction . CHAPTER 5 Summary Afghanistan has just been overthrown by a coup d’état and Ali races to Amir’s and Hassan’s side. because it is not what he would have wished for his son to do with his life. He even carved into the pomegranate tree these words: “Amir and Hassan. Hassan is immediately excited to hear it. He just feels he can never live up to what his father wants and that his father hates him. Ali embraces him tenderly and Amir tries to tell himself that he is not envious.” One of Hassan’s favorite stories was from the Shahnamah. trying to calm them by telling them it is just a duck hunt. Notes Amir emphasizes the differences between his father and Ali and Hassan and him: they are differences of class and wealth and the two classes can never really cross into each other. Hassan recognizes in Amir’s plot something called a Plot Hole or an illogical aspect of the story. Amir substitutes his own stories. Amir reads to Hassan. When Hassan begins to cry. Amir wishes he could “open his veins and drain his cursed blood from his body. He is forever loyal. Nonetheless. He tells us that this overthrow of the monarchy would be followed about eighteen months later with the Russian invasion.

picks up some stones. Notes In this chapter. He is in contrast to Hassan who plans to use his slingshot against a Pashtun to save his Amir agha. He asks Amir how he can call such a one as Hassan a friend and Amir almost blurts out that Hassan is not a friend. Daoud Khan. to rid Afghanistan of unwanted minorities like the Hazara and save it for the Pashtuns. Amir is once again jealous and thinks that Hassan’s present isn’t fair. . as agha. For the next few years. Assef. because that is the winter that Hassan stops smiling. we see some significant events taking place: Amir once again shows his need for love and acceptance from his father. Assef lowers his fists and backs off. However. because he is envious of Ali’s tenderness toward Hassan and he is almost glad for the long night of wondering what happened in Afghanistan. However. we are introduced to the neighborhood bully. frantic to know they are alright. Hassan warns Assef that he will take out his eye if he doesn’t leave them alone. they discover Assef and two of his friends. as he does to Amir and Baba. One day in the winter of 1974. Hassan bends down. When the two whirl around. Despite the fact that Assef and his friends walk away. approaching them. Amir explains that Assef has a reputation for savagery in the streets and so is someone to avoid. Amir thinks this is ironic. Amir explains that it was a bloodless coup ordered by the king’s cousin. He embraces both boys and for a moment Amir is glad for what had happened that of the night until dawn when Babareturns. because Hassan’s agility with a slingshot is known throughout the neighborhood. Daoud Khan. although he is still so socially ingrained that he refers to him. and pulls out his slingshot. Amir and Hassan briefly discuss whether Hassan and hisfather will be sent away. it is plastic surgery to repair Hassan’s harelip. He uses this as a threat to Hassan and pulls out his brass knuckles. Also. They know Assef is capable of anything.” and we see that Amir is a coward. he brags that their new leader. something he very much hopes never happens. but his servant. who has strange. He even wishes he had his own scar. This foreshadows what his son Sohrab actually does to Assef many years later under. First. anti-social ideas that mimic Hitler. neither of the two boys feels comforted. while Amir and Hassan are building a snow fort. because Baba wants to speak to him. Hassan continues to be the better of the two boys in the strength of his character. Wali and Kamal.” Suddenly. It is Hassan’sbirthday and Baba has never forgotten to get him a present. but a servant. he calls them kunis. Assef’s decision to attack Amir and Hassan once again shows us the discrimination against the Hazara and foreshadows later events in which Assef will make good on his “patience. because Assef intends to hurt Amir as well since he and his father have “taken these people in. the family sees Afghanistan declared a republic and life goes on as before. Hassan orders Assef to leave them be. It would have done him no good. On the way. So far. Hassan is finally able to smile normally. he has found them. who intends to establish a republic. He wants. like Hitler did in Germany. His sense of his place in the social hierarchy doesn’t mean he is not deadly serious about protecting Amir and himself and warns Assef that he will take out his eye. The surgery goes well and by the following winter. dined at his house the night before and that Assef has plans to tell the man how much he admires Hitler. because he was embraced by Baba when he came home. he warns them both that he is a patient person and that what has happened that day is not the end between them. or master. This year. Hassan is struck in the back with a rock. Ali calls Hassan in. or fags. because he wants to tell Assef that Hassan is not his friend. Amir assures him that such an event will never happen and then they decide to go climb their tree. Then.

But they also show it in how they fly kites: there are no rules! When a kite is cut and begins to fall. Hassan throws the challenge back into Amir’s lap by asking. because it is so icy. Amir sees Hassan run for a kite for the last time. but with his ears and his feel for the wind. Now his baba has planted the idea in his head that he can win. the Hazara boy stands up and the kite that they had been waiting for literally drops into his open arms. Amir sighs when he mentions Iran. It is Amir’s job to actually fly the kite while Hassan holds the spool and feeds the line. Baba tells Amir that this year he’ll win the tournament. has promised that soon Afghanistan will have television and Hassan notes that they already have TV in Iran. Also. Amir and Hassan at first would make their own kites. before his eyes and before he can answer Hassan. The night before the tournament. a term of affection that Rahim Khan uses. It is also the season of kite flying. This would be used to cut the strings of kites flown by competitors. his teacher had once . Every kite is a prize to them. many Hazara live there. but the most coveted prize is the last fallen kite. or glasscoated string. including the tar. a card game. Amir thinks he is lying. Hassan just stopped and told Amir to sit down and wait. And maybe Baba will call him Amir jan. He wants to do this so badly. The Afghans are an independent people and showed this in how they fought the Russians. In the winter of 1975. Amir says that Hassan is the best kite runner he had ever seen. Amir has come close in past years. And maybe finally he will be forgiven for killing his mother. This is one activity that brings success to Amir and brings him closer to his father. CHAPTER 6 Summary Winter in Afghanistan is the yearly vacation from school. Social hierarchy occurred even in kite flying. Amir challenges Hassan’s loyalty by asking him if would indeed eat dirt if Amir asked. It leaves the reader wondering if there is something more in this relationship and foreshadows the impact of the truth about Baba’s love and generosity toward Hassan and Ali. However. However. Amir agha?” Then. They discuss the fact that Daoud Khan. the new leader.Hassan’s surgery is an unexpected gift for a Pashtun to give a Hazara. Amir himself presents both foreshadowing and irony when he tells us that the following winter something will happens that makes Hassan stop smiling. however. there is a kite-fighting tournament in Kabul. Several districts of the city are banding together for the first time to hold the biggest tournament ever. Baba always bought equally priced kites for the two boys and again Amir is jealous that he cannot be Baba’s favorite. but his father never does. Eventually. Every winter. but Hassan tells him he would sooner eat dirt than ever lie to him. Every boy would have gashes in their fingers all winter because of making the tar. the nearly blind kite maker. because he knows that the country is a sanctuary of sorts for the Hazara. but has never won. because this might end his “life as a ghost in his own home” forever. then the kite runners will go into action. Amir and Hassan warm themselves under a blanket and play panjpar. that the kite would come. He seems to have a sixth sense about where the kite will land and often doesn’t follow it with his eyes. “Would you ever ask me to do such a thing. The kite competition always begins early in the morning and continues until only one kite flies in the sky. Amir and Hassan decide they are better flyers than kite makers and they go to Saifo. Most of the Iranians are Shi’as rather than Sunnis and so. He almost finds a sick satisfaction in teasing the Hazara boy. One time. even if he had lived in their house his whole life. It is a trophy of honor and would be displayed on the mantle of the winner’s home for guests to admire.

There’s no monster. Amir wants to withdraw from the tournament and nearly does so. The commentary on the Iranians is interesting. People are sitting everywhere on their roofs. because Americans have had the same type of experience with that country and know that what the teacher says is true CHAPTER 7 Summary Hassan tells Amir on the morning of the kite tournament that he had had a dream. But Hassan wants to be there. This foreshadows the terrible day that Hassan and Ali are forced to leave the only home either of them have ever known. the family heads for the tournament.” Baba had told him that the comment was just jealousy. Amir daydreams for a moment and almost has his kite string cut. however. but no one is swimming. because it is said that a monster has come to the lake. Amir Agha. but he is somewhat uncomfortable when Hassan says he likes where he lives. “Remember. Hassan tells Amir that he is going to make Baba very proud the next day. Amir promises to buy Hassan a television and Hassan says he will put it on the table with his drawings. The people clap wildly for them and then change the name of the lake to Lake of Amir and Hassan. because it’s his home. Amir is pleased he thinks so. He finally decides that neither of them is smart enough to make up dream like that. For a moment. just a beautiful day. Hassan is the best kite runner and this position once again allows him to show his loyalty to Amir. Amir responds to this fear by jumping into the lake and is followed by Hassan. Hassan also continues to know Amir better than Amir knows himself: he knows that Amir is surprised that he would be content to stay in the same mud hut the rest of his life. because he is so close to him. they are at Ghargha Lake with thousands of other people. it is almost like Hassan can read Amir’s mind. we see Amir’s jealousy of Hassan who is treated equally by Baba and we continue to understand that Amir just wants his father to make him the favorite. because Iran was a rising power. A couple of times. The two of them go all the way to the middle and then swim back to prove that there is no monster. Amir is amazed that Hassan is content with the knowledge that he will probably spend the rest of his life in the mud hut behind Baba’s house. because it is his home. Soon after breakfast. Neither boy has a clue to what the dream means. In learning about the event. Once again. sipping hot tea and listening to Afghan music. so he just says.” The two send the kite aloft with Amir controlling the string and Hassan feeding it from the reel. until Hassan whispers to him. Sultans of Kabul.told his class that the Iranians were “smooth talkers who patted you on the back with one hand and picked your pocket with the other. This undeveloped relationship with his father haunts the boy who feels great loneliness because of his father’s inability to accept him for who he is. Notes This chapter introduces us to the event that gives the novel its title: the kite flying tournament. by three .” Amir is astounded once again at how well Hassan knows him and it occurs to him that maybe Hassan made up the dream. In the dream. He says he would never lie to him and his fierce acceptance of his position in Amir’s life reflects the great inner beauty of his soul. “Let’s do it. Amir makes it to the last dozen and then the last half dozen.

and Kamal . It is the single proudest moment of his twelve years when he sees father cheering like that. which makes his search for Hassan take even longer. “For you a thousand times over!” Amir then gathers in his own kite and takes it to the gates of his house.and the blue kite on the ground behind him. “We won! We won!’ while Baba stands on the roof and pumps his fists and hollers and claps. Amir also sees Hassan’s face and on it is the look of the sacrificial lamb. Finally. the only sound he hears is the pounding of his heart and all he smells is victory. Now for Amir. When he focuses again on what’s happening in the alley. He finds Hassan at the end of an alley. but that with forgiveness. This is the same look he sees in Hassan’s eyes. The rest of my life might have turned out differently if I had . As for Amir. who learns later that people were screaming.” Hassan is only able to throw one large rock before the boys are on him. there is also a price for the blue kite. tells him that he saw Hassan run by being chased by three boys dressed like Pashtuns. Nonetheless. Hassan refuses to give up the kite. there are only four left and he and the blue kite are two of them. Assef then takes off his coat while Amir crouches hidden from the rest and doesn’t speak up. he sees Hassan’s pants have been thrown into a corner and the three bullies are about to rape him. “Hassan. the day Afghans celebrated Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his only son to God. Amir cannot find the Hazara boy even though he searches everywhere. However. Unfortunately. how Amir had had a dream where he was lost in snowstorm and a bleeding hand pulls him out of the snow to see that the sky is blue and filled with kites. He and Hassan hug each other and scream. He hears a tremor in Kamal’s voice and he realizes that he is not afraid of Hassan. . By three thirty. Boboresh!” (Cut him! Cut him!) from the rooftops. Amir just stands and watches as they close in on Hassan. When a gust of wind suddenly lifts his kite. Assef tells Hassan that he forgives him for the incident with the slingshot the year before. because he has run it down fair and square and that now it belongs to Amir. his shock and his fear causes his mind to remember how he and Hassan had both fed from the breasts of Sakina and that there was a brotherhood between them. but is afraid of what Assef has in mind for Hassan. who runs a dried fruit stand. This reminds of him of how they ate lamb for the first of the three days of Eid Al-Adha. . Amir knows immediately who they are and frantically picks up his search. Wali. Amir calls out. He remembers how for one moment before the mullah sliced its throat. .Assef. he takes off to find Hassan with visions in his mind of how he will proudly present the blue kite to his baba. Amir’s greatest competitor is a blue kite that has cut many other kite strings. Finally an old man. He says. “Boboresh!. Amir loops it on top of the blue one and lets it out so it cuts the string of the blue kite. Hassan refuses to give it up. People have seen him go by at times and they stop Amir to help him and to congratulate him. . it comes down to the two of them. “I opened my mouth and almost said something . Assef asks Hassan if Amir would be as loyal to him and reminds him not to ever fool himself into thinking he’s something more than a dirty Hazara.o’clock in the afternoon. the lamb’s eyes reflect a look of acceptance to his fate. how they had once visited a fortune teller together and that the blind man was so shocked by what he felt in Hassan’s palm that he had not told him his fortune. After he hands it over to Ali. . come back with it!” and Hassan responds with his enduring loyalty. his way out blocked by the three boys . Hassan tells Amir they will celebrate later and takes off after the blue kite as a trophy for his beloved master.

both as bad as and worse than what the bullies have done. He says aloud. Notes This is the most important chapter of the entire novel in that it presents the problem that Amir will have to deal with the rest of his life. but in the end. As usual. it is his worst hour for what he allowed to happen to Hassan. all Hassan wants to do is sleep. because he is afraid of what he will see there. but so will Amir. Unfortunately. Later. like Ali. CHAPTER 8 Summary For entire week after the kite tournament. but Amir cannot tell him the truth. Amir sees Assef and his two friends run by and soon after comes Hassan with the blue kite in his hands. He still makes Amir’s breakfast and lays out his clothes. after Baba has continued with stories of the kite tournament. Ali wonders if Amir knows why Hassan came home a little bloodied that day. but then stops and that is the closest they ever come to discussing what happened in the alley. he convinces himself that this is the price he has to pay to win Baba. Hassan will pay a terrible price for that revenge. Baba is also quite worried about Hassan. He could not bear to see his “guileless devotion. The tournament is Amir’s greatest moment in his search for acceptance from his father. The dream foreshadows Amir’s victory in the tournament. and for that moment he can forget what he has done. Amir asks his father if they can go to Jalalabad on Friday and when Baba says yes and offers to bring Hassan. Amir wants the trip to Jalalabad to be between him and his father. This will now form the basis for the remainder of the novel. but he doesn’t stay around to talk to him and Amir can no longer hear him sing. The question is: is it a fair price? The answer is: he’s only a Hazara. When they arrive home. As he runs. “I watched Hassan get raped. Amir has his praise from him. Amir barely sees Hassan. at the deserted bazaar. he runs. Amir lies and says that Hassan is mareez. Ali tells Amir that. It presents his greatest sin and what Rahim Khan had referred to on the telephone as the event for which he could still do good. and Kamal. and of course. too. For. Amir is carsick all the way and it’s made worse when the friends and relatives all praise him for winning the tournament. but there is still a monster or monsters to be dealt with: Assef. Wali. at once. but to no one in particular.” Hassan almost answers him. Also. Amir himself. or not feeling well. Fortunately. Amir meets him at the birch tree and asks him where he’s been and that he’s been looking for him. the foreshadowing set into place with Assef’s warning that he was a patient person and would have his revenge eventually has finally come true. he just feels very empty. Amir’s face is in shadows and Hassan cannot read his eyes as Amir cannot read his. Amir’s inability to stand up for his friend is. everything happens just the way Amir had dreamed for so long: he carries the kite into the study where Baba opens his arms to congratulate him. He then realizes his new curse: he’s going to get away with it . isn’t he? About fifteen minutes later. because he hasn’t seen much of him and now Amir says he is sick.Amir has one last chance to stand up for Hassan before this terrible hurt is inflicted on him. Only Rahim Khan looks thoughtfully at him instead of offering congratulations. Instead.” but no one hears him. Even though he must share Baba this day. For he watched in cowardice even though Amir had stood up for him the year before. In the middle of the night. Amir awakens and hears everyone around him snoring and stirring in their sleep. but Baba ends up inviting all kinds of friends and relatives and they fill three vans. something he’s wanted for so long. He buries his face into his father’s chest and weeps. Amir is glad of this. lately.

Even Assef and his family are invited and when Amir observes how his parents behave around their son. given to taunt Amir. school starts soon after this conversation and gives him an excuse to remain in his room and complete his homework. Amir greets every guest personally and he receives a large pile of presents. When Hassan begs him to tell what he has done wrong. Amir closes himself in his room and reads. intelligent and popular. in spite of the fact that school will begin at that time. After this experience. writes stories and draws. He thinks it’s because of his remark about getting new servants. Amir just tells him to stop bothering him. “Are you satisfied? Do you feel better?” He turns away and walks down the hill while Amir once again breaks into tears and asks himself. The rest of that winter is hazy in Amir’s memory . he sees signs of Hassan’s unwavering loyalty. for Amir. he cannot wait for spring. too. Hassan is not going anywhere as far as he is concerned. but that he doesn’t want to be forced into the middle of it. That summer. This feeling is reinforced when Amir opens Assef’s present and it’s a biography of Adolf Hitler.should be a different person. Hassan picks up a pomegranate and Amir thinks he’s finally going to hit him. Finally. To his dismay. However. because he says he wants to read him one of his stories. Hassan and Amir go outside together and Hassan asks him to read from the Shahnamah.Amir and Hassan: The Sultans of Kabul . But Hassan instead smashes the fruit against his own forehead and asks Amir. but when Amir sees the carving in the tree . His father even reads some of his stories and so Amir believes their new found closeness will last. It soon becomes obvious that Amir wants Hassan to hit him back. He wishes Hassan would tell him off for that. When Baba is gone. Amir asks Hassan to go with him to their spot at the top of the hill. he will strike him. Fortunately. much to Baba’s embarrassment. Baba just tells him that he’s noticed that there is something going on between the two boys. Hassan keeps trying to re-kindle their friendship and that only brings on a headache for Amir. Amir follows Baba into the garden and asks him if he ever thought of getting new servants. Amir just throws it into the weeds. He taunts him to do so and even calls the Hazara boy a coward. it occurs to Amir that maybe they are a little afraid of him as well. this seemingly perfect boy. For the first time in his life.he only recalls how happy he was when Baba was at home. Also. But for Amir. Baba is planning a huge birthday party for Amir in spite of his belief that Baba is angry with him.who is handsome. The party turns out to be a huge success. Amir hits him with another one and another one until Hassan is smeared in red like he’d been shot by a firing squad. It makes Amir hold his head under his pillow and sob. Hassan refuses to answer and so Amir throws the pomegranate as hard as he can into Hassan’s chest. He emphasizes to Amir that this is Hassan’s home and that they are his family. Amir stays outside for a while until he is found by Rahim Khan. is walking back toward home. He lectures his son about how long he has known Ali and how Amir and Hassan were raised together from the breast. The guilt ridden cannot sleep. but Hassan merely follows his bidding. Rahim Khan tells Amir about the fact that he was once married to a Hazara girl . One day. When Hassan continues to remain silent. He warns him that if he ever says such a thing again.he tells Hassan he doesn’t feel like it. Amir won’t give Assef much attention and even refuses to go with him to a volleyball game the next day. but his eyes reveal the madness behind the perfection.and now he’s the monster of Hassan’s dream. Hassan?” The answer occurs to him only as he. One afternoon that summer (school was in session in the summer in Afghanistan). This begins his life as an insomniac. it seems like everywhere Amir turns. “What am I going to do with you. Amir turns thirteen and things are beginning to cool once more between him and Baba. They pick pomegranates and Amir asks Hassan what he would do if he hit him with one of them. The following week.

he even asks his father to get new servants. “Fireworks!” and they hurry into the house. Amir waits until Ali and Hassan leave to do the shopping.” Amir sees the gifts as blood money. He stops himself. He also understands that Hassan knows that he watched everything that happened in the alley and yet he is rescuing Amir once again. He treats him like a servant instead of his friend. Amir opens all his presents. This is Rahim’s way of trying to get Amir to tell him why he seems so unhappy and Amir almost tells him everything. Amir’s guilt is deepened as we see that Hassan has once again sacrificed himself to protect Amir. Nothing works. he hits him with ripe pomegranates. Rahim Khan then gives Amir his present: a leather-bound notebook to hold his stories. The only way he can do that is to turn his back on Hassan. because at least Hassan faced his attackers bravely while Amir just ran. This is followed by a scream. It is ironic that this is that it will only make his guilt greater. He picks up his new watch and some cash and takes them to their hut. Hassan says yes. he lies about him being ill. Amir understands that this is Hassan’s final sacrifice for him. The next morning. . The image of rain is suggestive of deep sorrow – Amir’s and for the death of a close friendship. However. By framing Hassan for stealing his gifts he forces Ali to insist on leaving. Assef knees the Hazara boy in the chest.named Homaira. Amir sees something he will never forget . Thebirthday party reinforces this even more: he must deal with the emptiness inside him every time he is congratulated for winning the kite tournament and he must stand speechless while Hassan is forced to serve the very boys who raped him. When Baba asks Hassan if he stole Amir’s gifts. the narrative voice gives no excuses for Amir’s shameful behaviour. Baba forgives Hassan but Ali announces that they are leaving.Hassan is serving drinks to Assef and Wali and after taking a glass. During one of the bursts of light from the fireworks. Amir’s guilt is so great that all he knows how to do is to deny it. he goes into Baba’s study where he reports the ‘theft’. however. Chapter 9 The next morning. because Amir cannot discard his guilt as easily as he can discard Hassan himself. He reflects bitterly that “Baba would never have thrown a party like that if he hadn’t one the tournament. Amir places the items them under Hassan’s mattress. The true coward that he called Hassan is really himself. it is Amir’s lowest point. Morally. The reader’s sympathy for Amir is challenged by his calculated actions in this chapter. Note as Ali and Hassan leave in Baba’s car the rain begins to fall. The book is expensive and one that they can barely afford. Notes This entire chapter is devoted to Amir’s attempts to forget what he has done to Hassan. however. He does receive two significant presents – the writing journal from Rahim Khan and the illustrated edition of the Shahnamah from Ali and Hassan. He is cold to Amir and he shows that he also knows about the rape and Amir’s betrayal. Shortly after. because he fears that Rahim would hate him. His family was so appalled at what he had done that they sent her away and he never saw her again.

not even their servant. Yet Kamal had suffocated on the fumes and died. they were thankful to be alive. furious that Karim had lied to them in order to take their money. and the others went into the basement to wait with them. Amir explains that Baba loved "the idea of America" so much that it gave him an ulcer. the refugees departed in the tank of fuel truck. Toor's. Baba defended the woman. who apologized for the first one. Baba smashed Karim against the wall and began to strangle him. It turned out that there were many other refugees in the house. which embarrasses Baba. Israel and Britain.Chapter Ten When Chapter Ten opens Amir and Baba are being smuggled out of SovietorShorawi-occupied Kabul along with other Afghanis. and his father explained to Baba that his wife had been shot and Kamal had been raped. Kamal had a sunken look in his eyes. Karim's connections. Chapter Eleven Chapter Eleven opens in the 1980s in Fremont. Before they left. a year and a half after Amir and Baba arrived in America. The rafiqs. he did nothing to save Hassan. Because it turned out that Toor's truck was irreparable. The truck was supposed to have no trouble crossing through the RussianAfghani checkpoints because of the driver. Later. Baba. The truck stops so that Amir can vomit on the roadside. It came from the gun of a more senior Russian soldier. He comforted himself with the memory of a spring afternoon he spent kite-fighting with Hassan. California. telling no one. Waiting there with them in the damp." Amir felt ashamed that while Baba would give his life to save someone. Kamal's father put the barrel of Karim's gun in his mouh and shot himself. or Communist comrades. Amir still has carsickness at age eighteen. and his father. Amir. and Mrs. The Russian soldier aimed the barrel of his gun at Baba's chest. the owners of the small grocery store across the street. At a checkpoint. Kamal. who had been waiting there for two weeks. The truck passed the checkpoint safely and in the darkness. Baba kissed the Afghani dirt and put some in his snuff box to keep next to his heart. Nguyen. a married woman. Amir awoke in the fuel tank feeling as though he was suffocating. explaining that he was on drugs. but the shot that rang out did not kill him. even though his support of Israel drew accusations from other Afghanis of his being antiIslam. Their goal was to reach the safer territory of Pakistan. but one Russian soldier demanded a half hour with one of the refugees. he told them that his brother. He believed that the only worthwhile countries were America. Amir thinks of how secretly they had to leave Kabul. When the refugees finally reached Karim's brother's house in Jalalabad. had taught everyone in Kabul how to spy on their neighbors and even their family. telling the Russian soldier that he had no shame and that he would "take a thousand bullets before [he] let this indecency take place. Mr. When they finally got out in Pakistan. Baba got into a fight with Mr. the Afghani soldiers would have let the truck pass without issue. One day. To Amir's dismay. In a rage. He was the only Republican among their blue-collar neighbors and even hung a framed picture of Ronald Reagan in their apartment. rat-infested basement were Amir's schoolmate. Nguyen had asked for Baba's ID when he . the woman's husband kissed Baba's hand. Only the married woman's pleas stopped Baba from killing Karim. truck had broken the week before and could not take them to Peshawar. Pakistan.

in Fremont he worked long hours at a gas station and missed almost everything about home. One one such day. Amir was shocked to find that Baba had bought him a Ford Torino to drive himself to junior college. Soraya was attending junior college. Baba said he wished Hassan was there. Just as Amir handed her a story to read. Soraya knew that Amir was a writer and said she would like to read one of his stories. The flea market was a cultural epicenter for Afghan families. remembering how he had lorded his literary over the oblivious Hassan. . Amir graduated from high school at the age of twenty. After the ceremony. She told Amir how. Amir's throat closed up with guilt. When they went inside. how to read. She was a nice woman with one peculiarity. When they drove home. Amir visited the Taheris' booth when the General was away. as a child in Kabul. who dominated the Used Goods section. The "casually arrogant" Taheri did not impress Amir. because two single young people chatting invited gossip.wanted to pay with a check and Baba was so insulted that he damaged their property. entranced him. Baba took Amir to a bar. It was clear to Amir that Baba missed their old life in Kabul and was having trouble adjusting to America. America was an escape from his memories of Hassan. He was grateful to be starting anew in America. He chatted with Khanum Taheri and Soraya. Soraya's mother. He found out that like him. saw Amir as a suitor for Soraya. General Taheri arrived at the booth and Soraya was forced to hand him the story out of propriety. Amir was ashamed. Amir also had to grapple with Baba's disappointment that he wanted to be a creative writer instead of a doctor or lawyer." Chapter Twelve Amir's desire for Soraya tormented him. At the flea market. The next summer. Kamila (or Khanum Taheri). Amir understood that Khanum Taheri. Baba told Amir that Soraya had had a relationship with a man that did not work out well and had not been courted since. Finally one Sunday. where he bought drinks for other patrons and became the life of his own impromptu party. when Baba was fifty. he asked Soraya what she was reading. Soraya. who already thought of her as his "Swap Meet Princess. showed up and greeted Amir warmly. Just then. This did not matter to Amir. He saw life in America as a gift he had given to Amir and something he would have to suffer. she taught her illiterate housekeeper. She wanted to be a teacher. he made excuses to walk by the Taheris' stand just to get a glimpse of her. On Saturdays. and perhaps the General. Baba bought an old Volkswagen bus. Every week. Amir found release from his guilt by driving his Ford for hours at a time and sitting by the ocean. Then General Taheri took Amir aside and scolded him for having such an open conversation with Soraya in the marketplace. This was not a casual question in the Afghani community. For Amir. Ziba. but his daughter. when Amir turned 21. Khanum Taheri sent Amir off with fruit and asked him to visit again. Whereas in Kabul he had been wealthy and influential. an old acquaintance of his from Kabul. but he could not muster the courage to talk to her. Baba introduced Amir to General Taheri. He dropped it into the garbage can. he and Amir drove to yard sales in neighboring towns and then sold their wares at the San Jose flea market. one side of her mouth drooped.

leaving everything they have and know behind in order to save their own lives. prosperous life was like in Afghanistan. meaning that it has been years since Ali and Hassan left. it is difficult to think of them as refugees. In newspapers and on the news in recent years. Finally. Amir is not at all free from his guilt. privileged life and thrust into one of uncertainty and hardship. Amir and Baba still went to the flea market on Sundays. he mentions that they have had several different servants in the intervening years. Schneider. At the same time. As the weeks progressed. Amir helped Baba dress and drove him to the Taheris' house. When the Taheris lived in Virginia. Hosseini even introduces Kamal as a foil for Hassan. Amir convinced him to see a doctor when he saw that Baba was coughing up blood. we know that Baba might have lost everything anyway. Amir is yanked out of his predictable. she ran off with an Afghan man. Baba refused to prolong his life with chemotherapy and made Amir promise not to tell anyone about his disease. so he told Soraya that nothing could change his desire to marry her. Kamal has been raped and no longer smiles. he knew that he of all people could not hold someone accountable for her past mistakes. It is also a warning of what could easily happen to Baba and Amir. the doctor showed Amir Baba's CAT scans. then went home to wait. had he stayed to see the Taliban rule and the United States bomb the land. The cancer had spread to Baba's brain and he would have to take medications and receive radiation. Baba called and made arrangements to visit the Taheris the next morning. Like Hassan. he fell on the ground and started having seizures. That night. so Amir took him home to die. When her father found her and dragged her home. Dr. Envy tempered Amir's joy because Soraya was now free of her shameful secret whereas his still plagued him. They found a new Iranian doctor. but Baba lost his temper when he found out the doctor was Russian-American. Still. Once news spread that Baba was dying. They finally got to see a specialist. Indeed. who discovered that Baba had terminal cancer. Baba called and said that the general had accepted and then put Soraya on the phone. many local Afghans came to pay their respects. Knowing Amir and Baba as we have come to. she found out that her mother had suffered a stroke that paralyzed the right side of her face. Amir prayed for the first time in a very long time. She was delighted but said she wanted to tell him a secret. Amani. Analysis Beginning in Chapter Ten. He makes the point that it was not always a wrecked country. Baba caught a terrible cold but did not wan to go to the doctor. His death and his father's subsequent suicide suggest one horrifying possibility of what might have happened to Hassan and Ali without Baba's protection. even though it has been for as long as many Americans have known about it. Baba lost weight and got sicker until one day. Because we know Afghan history. including the Taheris.Later that week. to ask for Soraya's hand in marriage. Amir is eighteen when he and Baba flee to Pakistan. Then Amir asked him to ask General Taheri to go khastegari. Amir was slightly upset to find out that Soraya was not a virgin because he was. Dr. The doctor told Amir that there was a suspicious spot on Baba's lung that he needed to have checked out. It seems as though Hosseini chose to focus on the a wealthy family's experience to show us what a good. After the diagnosis. Baba refused radiation. At the doctor's office. So much has changed . we have seen pictures of refugees and of starving. injured Afghan refugees.

let the waters carry me someplace far. To Baba's disappointment. yet Baba still has the same unflappable courage. Fremont. When Baba loses his temper after Mr. Baba feels good again because he has an important role to play. roaring along. and university professors" are reduced to selling used goods at the flea market. it is the last time we ever see him in his element. In getting married. When Baba stands up for the married woman. They are able to live in this reverie until Baba's diagnosis. Amir feels a now-seldom pang of guilt. where we see how much Baba has given up in order to ensure Amir a better future. in a position of power and defending those who are helpless. . they cling to one another. As much as Amir wants to be swept up in the "river" of America. When Amir graduates from high school and Baba wishes Hassan was there. Amir needs Baba to go khastegari. Once a party-giver and benefactor. he commits to preserving his roots because she comes from a traditional family. Baba can never be the same because he is no longer in a position to help others. As though to add insult to injury. out-of-work surgeons. because Hassan is his son and deserves the same opportunities as Amir. their relationship grows closer out of necessity. Baba is a gas station worker and General Taheri a welfare recipient. The incident with the Nguyens makes it clear how out of place Baba is in California. he is still rooted to Afghan tradition there because of the large community of refugees. America was a river. As Amir explains. Baba may feel closer to Amir in America because Amir is more like Hassan there. Amir restores Baba's dignity by showing him how much he is needed. he comes from a place where such a request would have signified extreme distrust. struggling. in Afghanistan the only 'credit card' they had was a branch into which a vendor carved a notch for each item bought. Baba is now a gas-station worker in a country where he does not even speak the language fluently. Seeing Amir and Soraya's traditional courtship and wedding also reassures Baba that Amir will not forget where he is from after Baba dies. The theme of sacrifice returns in Chapter Eleven. having lost almost everything familiar. luxurious house to living in a small apartment. which Baba and the Taheris greatly appreciate. almost legendary figure to a shrunken. his "harelipped ghost. From the moment he lays eyes on Soraya. weak ghost of his former self. I could wade into this river. From that point on. the cancer spreads to Baba's brain. Amir can set his mind on new goals and let the optimistic American spirit carry him as far away from Kabul emotionally as he is physically. While living in America is hard for Baba. He still wants to be a writer. and no sins. unmindful of the past. and to sit with him at the awroussi. Baba now depends on Amir to help him navigate American life. California is free of all the places and things that remind him of Hassan. "America was different. in the matter of their children's courtship they feel like important Afghan men again. he is not being irrational. no memories. As Amir will surmise later. to give word at lafz. He does not realize that Baba is feeling worse guilt. no longer protected by privilege." As he says. Once Baba and Amir come to America. As immigrants. Even in his pain and weakness. even "former ambassadors. Someplace with no ghosts. Amir must watch his father go from a strong. Nguyen asks him for ID. He has gone from living in a large. let my sins drown to the bottom. it is a dream come true for Amir. the source of his intelligence and his trademark unapologetic opinions. Amir is the same person in Fremont as he was in Kabul.since Amir was a boy. However. Once the person everyone else could depend on. Amir and Soraya's traditional courtship creates a little Afghan oasis in the confusion of America.

General Taheri was a complicated man. after which Amir and Soraya made love for the first time. As he listened to their remarks. lafz is followed by an engagement party called Shirini-kori and an engagement period. The men's and women's sections of the mosque were separate." Countless people whom Amir had never seen shook his hand and told him how Baba had helped them in one way or another. he even died "on his own terms. Amir could not help wondering whether Hassan had gotten married and what his wife was like. Amir himself does not reveal his sin until fifteen years later. Amir got to know the Taheris much more closely. Soraya's family came over to Baba's for dinner. There. Amir acknowledged that Baba was his obstinate self until the end. and spent the rest of his time waiting for the liberation of Afghanistan." He died in his sleep. He suffered from terrible headaches lasting days. so Amir sat next to General Taheri while Soraya and her mother were in another room. One day." Even though Baba is very ill. Baba's funeral took place at a nearby mosque. At the end of the night. Soraya and Amir helped Baba into bed. Amir and Soraya walked through the cemetery together and Amir cried at last. Soraya moved in with Amir and Baba after the wedding so that Amir could spend his father's last days with him. saying. He did not work and collected welfare because he considered this more dignified than taking on a blue collar job as Baba had. After Baba's death. After the burial. Amir came home to find Soraya hiding Rahim Khan's notebook under Baba's mattress. when he calls her from Islamabad. Amir told her he loved her for the first time. The party continued until the early morning." Baba made a speech and General Taheri welcomed Amir into his family. the ceremony of "giving word. called awroussi. cooking for him. Amir left the room to cry tears of joy. He refused his morphine. Her sin may be smaller than his. since he knew Baba disliked seeing him cry. Soraya cared for Baba as though he were her own father. Amir could see how happy Baba was to see him happily married. he felt terribly alone. Traditionally. But once Soraya is betrothed to Amir. A month after the wedding. but everyone agreed that they should skip it because Baba was so close to death. Only when he has no choice can Amir admit out loud to what he has done because for him. bathing him. and giving him anything else he needed. According to the ceremony. Baba admitted that he had coaxed Soraya to read him Amir's stories. but she has the strength to admit to it at the risk of losing him. "There is no pain tonight. Amir envies Soraya for freeing herself from her guilt and for being a braver and better person than him. he pities her because he knows she is subject to a sexual double standard.At the end of Chapter Twelve. Amir realized that he no longer had Baba to define him or guide him. Amir and Soraya were left alone together under a veil to gaze at each other's reflections in a mirror. Baba spent almost all the money he had left on the traditional Afghan wedding ceremony. Then Soraya joined the celebration and kissed Baba's hands. reading to him." Chapter Thirteen Chapter Thirteen begins at the Taheris' house with "lafz. As he listens to Soraya's story. he proclaims it "the happiest day of [his] life. He felt sure that he would . her parents can stop worrying that no one will ever want to marry her. "America [is] a place to bury [his] memories. Amir's guilt reappears.

Amir and Soraya bought a house. Amir's feelings of success were tempered with his guilt. in teaching. One night. The general urged them not to adopt. but for relieving her of her greatest fear-of Soraya becoming a spinster. That same year. Instead. but a new conflict erupted between the Mujahedin and the remaining communist government. Neither of them had any detectable fertility problems. Khanum Taheri focused much of her attention on Amir. he felt himself to be undeserving. he got a lierary agent and became a published writer. Soraya told her father she wished he was dead. sometimes he sat in on the classes Soraya taught and even took notes. They both enrolled at San Jose University. Soon after they discovered they could not have a family. he asked her never to mention it again. Despite their newfound material comforts. but she came home with him. In 1988. Ever after. After months of trying to conceive. when Amir received a call from Rahim Khan. he understood that Rahim Khan knew. At called back to serve in the government at any time. "a father-son story set in Kabul. He understood too well the torment of guilt and betrayal. When they told Soraya's parents. international politics were particularly fraught. Amir and Soraya began trying to conceive a child. Amir considered what Rahim Khan had said before hanging up. where Amir worked toward a degree in English and Soraya. she focused her energies on homemaking. "Come. Amir knew that Khanum Taheri was grateful to him not only for this. Amir and Soraya consulted fertility doctors. and the general gave Amir a typewriter. There is a way to be good again. Chapter Fourteen Chapter Fourteen opens in June of 2001. even in America. most of all because Afghan society depends on the line of succession. she was subject to a double standard regarding sexual behavior. General Taheri and Khanum Taheri were disappointed. he made her cut off all her hair. she became convinced that every small disturbance in her body was a serious ailment. but they were still unable to have a child. ever since her stroke. She adored him especially because he listened to her long list of imagined ailments. what he did to Hassan. but the general forbid her to sing. In their safe American abode. Khanum Taheri was a talented singer. He came to her lover's house and told him he would kill him and himself if Soraya did not come home. the absence of a child tormented them both. Amir dreamt of . The Taheris helped them furnish it. Amir and Soraya moved into their own apartment. Now that Soraya was married. Soraya told Amir the story of how the general forced her to end her affair. The Berlin wall was destroyed and the Tiananmen Square riots occurred. Soraya heard derogatory whispers everywhere she went. After Soraya told Amir the story." Soon after. but he also pitied Soraya for being a woman in Afghan society. Amir was comfortable leaving Soraya with her parents. and had always known. so he always wore his grey suit and watch in preparation to leave." Suddenly. Amir thought privately that his and Soraya's infertility was punishment for his betraying Hassan so many years before. her relationship with them had improved in the years since the wedding. The General no longer insisted that Soraya change her career path away from teaching. He told Amir he was very sick and asked him to come visit him in Pakistan. which the act of adoption obliterates. Amir finished his first novel. The Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan. That night.

Hassan and Farzana stayed in the servants' hut and did all the chores. Then he revealed to Amir that for all the years he lived in Baba's house after 1981. She became healthy and a part of the family. he felt the weight of it all was too much. after the hero in his favorite story from the book Amir used to read him. though they had been received initially as heroes. he is telling Amir the story of what happened to Hassan. he left for Peshawar. Farzana. thinking he had made the noise. and his pregnant wife. Even Baba's orphanage had been destroyed. but then Rahim told him of Baba's death. The city was bustling with vendors. Rahim Khan's face brightened in Amir's presence and at the news of his marriage fifteen years earlier. He laughed at Amir's offer to take him to America. Chapter Sixteen Chapter Sixteen is in Rahim Khan's voice. and was directed to a village outside Bamiyan. Amir saw how emaciated his illness had made him. Hassan named him Sohrab. now in his early twenties. their daughter was stillborn. they discovered that the former beauty was malnourished. had no teeth. Then Rahim Khan told Amir that he did not have long to live. Despite Rahim Khan's protestations. Farzana became pregnant again and Hassan's mother. at a soccer game. Initially. and had grotesque scars all over her face from being cut. Then in 1990. Chapter Fifteen As Amir rode through the streets of Peshawar in a cab. Hassan cried all through the night and in the morning he agreed to move in with Rahim Khan. Amir had last seen him the night before he and Baba fled Kabul. He told Amir that he needed a favor of him. He went searching for Hassan in 1986 because he was dreadfully lonely. He drove to Hazarajat. Hassan was overcome with joy when he saw Rahim Khan. whom he . and has barely spoken with him since. He did not remember the notebook he gave Amir. but when he returned he accepted Sanaubar as his mother. People in Kabul were afraid to leave their houses because of frequent shootings and bombings. Rahim Khan described how the Taliban was terrorizing Afghanistan. and children. with many children inside it. came to find him. When Rahim Khan answered the door. He told him that Ali had been killed by a land mine two years before. "For you. Hassan and Farzana refused to move to Baba's house. Still. shouting. but when the news of Baba's death reached him. a thousand times over!" A week later. she even delivered Farzana and Hassan's son. families. Sohrab became inseparable from Sanaubar. In the fall. He was managing to take care of the house and himself despite his age and arthritis. saying he accepted his fate. they buried her and Hassan placed a flower on her grave every day. Rahim Khan was staying in the Afghan section. He asked many questions about Amir. He found Hassan. Pakistan. living in a small hut.Hassan as he had seen him right before the rape. Hassan ran out of the house and was gone for hours. She collapsed at the gate of the house. but first wanted to tell him about Hassan. so many of his relatives and friends having been killed or fled since 1981.Sanaubar. A Talib pistol whipped Rahim Khan. Hassan also wore black for forty days in mourning for Baba. Once. he remembered being there in 1981 as a refugee. when they carried her inside and removed her burqa. Hassan lived there with him. a man next to him cheered too loudly. where Ali and Hassan had been living.

"A thing made of skin and bones pretending to be Rahim Khan opened the door. and traditional clothing. he knows that Amir must be the one to save Sohrab. Sanaubar died peacefully. . he would have wanted the wedding to be extravagant. Knowing he is dying. it becomes clear to us how irrevocably Afghanistan has changed. "There is such a thing as God's will.. he spends almost all his money on the ceremony. Yet once they begin to talk. so did the wedding. "Listening to them. knows his secret and has kept it for all these years. My whole life. Like Amir. He even took him kite running in the winter. He was right. Though Baba is reduced to having Amir and Soraya care for him in the last days of his life. Four years later. as he puts it. Rahim Khan believes that life has certain inevitabilities. I had been "Baba's son. The wedding also brings Amir back to Kabul momentarily." Analysis Just as the courtship had made Baba feel important again. Yet even had Baba not been dying. Amir discovers that someone. He says." Despite the fact that he and Baba were estranged for much of his life. most people celebrated. it is only now that Amir realizes he must form his own identity. I realized how much of who I was. he makes the case that adoption disconnects the family line and threatens the family's security. Baba couldn't show me the way anymore. When Amir and Soraya try to have a child. who feels more alone than ever before. but Hassan knew Hazaras' lives were in peril. what I was had been defined by Baba and the marks he had left on people's lies." What neither he nor Amir knows is that adopting will allow Amir to continue his family line and also redeem himself from having wronged family so many years before.called Sasa. And when you adopt. In Chapter Fourteen. when he wonders about Hassan. When the Taliban took over. I'd have to find it on my own. Because no medical explanation exists for their infertility. What he does not realize is that Rahim Khan does not want to be saved. he sets Amir's redemption into motion. When General Taheri discourages the couple from adopting. At the funeral. When Rahim Khan calls from Pakistan. Amir decides that it is a result of his betraying Hassan. It is a small consolation for Amir. The old man does not even remember the notebook that has meant so much to Amir for the last fifteen years. we finally revisit the phrase that Amir mentions in Chapter One: "there is a way to be good again. From the moment Amir sees Rahim Khan. for the first time. the idea of retribution makes a grand re-entrance. Rahim Khan. it becomes clear how close they still are and how much influence Rahim Khan has over Amir." Their meeting is out of placein Peshawar instead of Kabul-and so is Rahim Khan's appearance. Now he is alone not only with his sin and guilt but with all his decisions and his future. independent of Baba. Amir says. "Blood is a powerful thing . in 1998 the Taliban "massacred the Hazaras in Mazar-i-Sharif." Now we understand its magnitude. the Afghan community recognizes Baba for the man he was in Afghanistan." Just as certainly as he knows he is going to die. his death restores his dignity once again. He says. he wants to save Amir. it is his last chance to throw a grand party and feel as he once did in Kabul.. you don't know whose blood you're bringing into your house. The silence that grows between him and Soraya over their inability to conceive is filled with Amir's feeling of responsibility for it. rings." Now he was gone. Hassan tried to give Sohrab a good childhood despite the constant fighting and danger in Kabul.

we learn that Hassan remained a loyal and humble person until death. but Rahim Khan and Hassan remained surrounded by danger. though terrible. When Rahim Khan plays his best card and tells Amir that Hassan was his brother. Hassan died defending Baba's house and honor. Hassan even forgave Amir and considered him "the best friend he ever had. This is why it is the act of running the kite at the end that truly redeems Amir. we can see that Amir has become a foreigner in his own homeland. Afghanistan. And as Sohrab tells Amir later. and that he needs to redeem Baba as well as himself. At the same time. he must finally learn to be what Baba wanted him to be. presumably out of respect to Baba and also to Ali. Sanaubar is forced to wear a burqa. Even beforeFarid points out the fact point-blank. he merely took time to collect himself and then returned to welcome her with open arms. he still mourned for him the way a son does. and what Wahid calls him later on "a true Afghan. on pain of death. from having to learn English to not having money to seeing Baba degraded to watching him get sick and die. he is very much the person he was. as we know. Amir seems to have lost his connection to his identity. he handed Amir a letter and a photograph. Both men describe public beatings at the slightest provocation. Amir does save Sohrab by bringing to America. Through Rahim Khan's words in Chapter Sixteen. The photograph was of Hassan . so he made up the story about the Caldwells. But Amir returns to Afghanistan in many ways just as he left it: he is a person of privilege. and a person who does not want to take responsibility for his actions. he understands what it is like to be betrayed. he was 'carried away' by America's promise of a fresh beginning without memories of Hassan or what he did to him. a person who is afraid to stand up for others. Later we find out that Rahim Khan knows Amir better than the latter ever thought. Amir storms out like an angry child. Rahim Khan and Hassan bring the war stories from Afghanistan alive for us before we see them through Amir's eyes. Hassan was as forgiving as an adult as he was as a child. Even though he never found out Baba was his father. Amir experienced suffering and hardship. When Sanaubar returned decades after abandoning him. Amir had been exempt from violence the moment he boarded the plane to California.Because guilt has plagued Amir all these years. They had come to know a new. Whereas they are Afghans to the very end. he is evasive and keeps forcing Rahim Khan to raise the stakes for him. Back on Afghan soil. unlike all the other heroic things he does. Rather. As he stated before. while Amir had tried as hard as he could to forget all about it. it is of his own volition and out of the spirit of true selflessness and loyalty. It is true that in America. it is surprising that he does not seize the opportunity to redeem himself." Chapter Seventeen After Rahim Khan finished telling the story about him and Hassan. He insisted on living in the servant's hut and keeping house for Rahim Khan." In the end. but only after he is effectively tricked into doing so. The men's firsthand knowledge of these things highlights their difference from Amir. Suddenly. He realized that Amir would resist bringing Sohrab to America. who never asked for anything more.

Despite the terror. "No. Ali. When Hassan protested. they took him out to the street. who could only whisper. it seemed absurd that he had not realized it before. After he left Kabul. and Sanaubar had known about the matter in order to preserve their honor. Baba did not seem like such a shining example of righteousness. Ali was infertile. but for Baba's betrayal of Ali. He screamed at Rahim Khan and left the apartment. Amir now understood that Rahim Khan had called him to Peshawar to pay not only for his betrayal of Hassan. When Amir continued to refuse. He felt like a foreigner in his own life. Hassan had made sure he was literate and knew how to shoot a slingshot as well as his father. Rahim Khan was insulted. how he could have lived with himself after shaming Ali. One day. he received news of Hassan's death from a friend.and Sohrab. Rahim Khan revealed a monumental secret. No. but because Hassan was really his son. Hassan said. the Taliban came to the house and demanded that they leave. Hassan ended his letter by expressing his wish to see Amir in Afghanistan again. He returned to Rahim Khan's apartment to find him praying and told him he would bring Sohrab to Peshawar. Suddenly. forced him to kneel. He told Amir. making Hassan his son. The news devastated Amir. Now that he knew Hassan was his halfbrother. word spread that a Hazara family was living alone in Baba's house. Sohrab was a healthy and smart boy. Amir and Hassan were half-brothers." He said it was his dying wish for Amir personally to bring Sohrab to Peshawar. Hassan never found out. In the letter. Rahim Khan explained that the letter was written six months before. Amir was ready to take responsibility for his actions. but bore her second husband three daughters. at thirty-eight years old. don't we?" Then he asked Amir if he had become what Baba feared so many years before. Chapter Nineteen . A month after he had arrived in Peshawar. No. Amir had tea at a local café. An American couple named Thomas and Betty Caldwell ran a goodwill organization there and would take care of him. "I think we both know why it has to be you. as evidenced by the fact that his first wife bore him no children." Rahim Khan explained that the Taliban now occupied Baba's house and they were not held accountable for Hassan and Farzana's murders. Farzana spoke slightly loudly in the market and a Talib beat her so hard that she fell down and was bruised for days. Baba had always treated Hassan like a son not just because he cared for him. Baba. Chapter Eighteen After storming out of Rahim Khan's apartment. Amir wondered if he was to blame for Hassan and Ali's deaths because he was the one who drove them out of the house and split up the family. One day. Amir was furious at all of them for keeping the secret. Then he told Amir that he real reason he made Amir come to Peshawar was to bring Sohrab there. It was Baba who had gotten Sanaubar pregnant. a person who "can't stand up to anything. Amir wondered how Baba could have broken his own cardinal rule about not lying. and shot him in the back of his head. When Amir protested and suggested Rahim Khan hire someone to find Sohrab. Farzana ran out screaming and they shot her dead as well. Finally. Hassan described the violence and injustice in Afghanistan. Rahim Khan explained that no one but himself.

he points out the major plot hole in Amir's story. As he ate. "You were more right than you know. but Farid explained to Amir that he had never been a true Afghani because he grew up with so many privileges. he paced outside and pondered the fact that Afghanistan really was his homeland. But as an adult." who replied. He told Farid. he makes sure that Sohrab can read and write even though it breaks his family tradition. After asking for Wahid's permission. The letter is of course significant . He had abandoned his watan. Amir slept restlessly. fighting against the Soviet forces.. Later he apologized to Amir. "An honorable man . Wahid. saying the family had eaten earlier. causing him to abuse his privilege by playing tricks and being secretly cruel. but at his food. for example. Amir heard one of Wahid's wives scolding him for not leaving any food for the children. At this. He imagined that he himself was the Talib executing Hassan. Farid himself was missing toes and fingers from his years of combat. who looked much older because of all he had experienced." Farid was ashamed at his own presumptuousness. Before he and Farid left the next morning. Wahid called him. he suggested Amir use his writing to "tell the rest of the world what the Taliban are doing to [Afghanistan. he does feel that he has a right to knowledge. where they would spend the night with Farid's brother. Amir noticed that Wahid's three boys were staring at his watch. To his surprise. Hassan realizes that not being literate puts him at a disadvantage and makes him depend on others. He was a Tajik man of twenty-nine. two of whom had been killed by a landmine. Amir realized that the boys had been staring not at his watch. "You still think of this as your country?" Amir said he did because he had grown up there. Analysis Chapter Seventeen brings the subject of literacy into clearer focus. He ranted about how people returned their only to be greedy and milk money out of their old properties." One of Wahid's wives brought dinner to Amir and Farid. Amir felt awkward in his traditional Afghan clothing and long fake beard. Being literate when Hassan was not gave Amir a feeling of superiority over him. Unlike Farid. whereas Farid had stayed and fought for his homeland. The ability to read and write divided Amir and Hassan when they were boys. Wahid received Amir warmly. Then Amir explained why he was really in Afghanistan.]" Amir explained that he was "not quite that kind of writer. as usual. Farid was suspicious of Amir because he saw him as a defector. For this reason.. what matters to Hassan is intangible and enduring. When Amir woke up. A true Afghan. Wahid scolded Farid for his rudeness. they arrived in Jalalabad. Farid had two wives and seven children. since he had built a new and full life in America. dreaming about Hassan's death. At last. his homeland." When Wahid asked Amir why he had returned to Afghanistan.A driver named Farid was driving Amir from Peshawar to Kabul. Amir did not try to argue with Farid. Amir had fled to the privileges of America. Farid interrupted. both necessary for him to blend in to Taliban-controlled Kabul. it did not impress them very much. Even though Hassan feels entitled to very little all his life. "I feel like a tourist in my own country. His loyalty to the country surprised him. From inside. who told him. Hassan's illiteracy does not mask his intelligence. he gave it to them. Amir tucked a wad of money under a mattress for them to find. When he found out Amir was a writer.

As he tells Rahim Khan. Amir's opinion of Hassan has changed now that he knows they were brothers. a career. Hassan is communicating with Amir on an equal level. I was afraid I'd change my mind. family name and ancestry never even come into the equation. The topics of secrets and family ties converge and come to a climax in Chapter Seventeen." Amir's reaction to the news reveals how important family ties are anywhere. Amir is furious because suddenly the way he treated Hassan and Ali seems all the more wrong. Firstly. Amir clung to Afghan customs but insisted on forgetting his memories of Kabul. saying. but in Afghanistan particularly. As Amir says. and talk myself into not going. To him. whereas General Taheri is still awaiting the moment when he will be called back to his beloved watan. betrayals." Amir's disconnect from Afghanistan becomes even clearer when he is driving with Farid. but it is perhaps more noteworthy because of the simple fact that it is written. agonize. loved me in a way that no one ever had or ever would again. something he could never have done when they were boys. an ambassador of the written word. everything in Afghanistan was tainted with memories of Hassan. Hosseini gives a nod here to the power of the written word. Once he reached America. and secrets." Amir's youth when he arrives plays a large role in his feelings about homeland and nationality. Hassan is long dead by the time Amir reads his correspondence. as Baba had. he is a writer. For instance. The concept of "brother" is much stronger to him than the concept of "servant-best-friend" whereas Hassan had treated him like a brother no matter what." and not just his own. coward though he may be. I was afraid the appeal of my life in America would draw me back. but for the simple fact that it was not Kabul. Amir now feels as though his entire life has been "a cycle of lies. Amir is in disguise. "People [in America] marry for love. he is wearing traditional Afghan clothing for maybe the first time in his life. the reason the Taheris give Soraya to Amir so easily is because of Baba's good standing and ancestry. This also gives legitimacy to Amir because. But we are Afghans. rationalize. but his connection to America is stronger than his feeling of obligation to anyone in Afghanistan. big river and let myself forget. he is not as mired in Afghan traditions and attitudes as his father's generation. liar." When he finally consents to find Sohrab. As General Taheri says in Chapter Thirteen. Amir struggles with his separation from Afghanistan. Hassan's not knowing his identity meant he missed many of the things to which he was entitled." Amir's interactions with Farid and Wahid call into question the idea of homeland and national identity. and a family. in addition to his fake beard. He welcomed America not for its idealism.because of its content. and secret-keeper as he is. which endures and has an effect that transcends even death-after all. "I can't go to Kabul . Amir acknowledges his lack of loyalty to his fatherland. from whether one will be literate to whom one will marry. a home. He finally understands that Baba was as much of a betrayer. because he still feels some . I have a wife in America. that I would wade back into that great. "Rahim Khan had summoned be here to atone not just for my sins but for Baba's too. Over the course of fifteen years Amir has come to consider America his homeland. He admits." Among Afghans.. Because he is still growing up when he arrives. He also understands that this makes the importance of his redemption twofold. I was afraid I'd deliberate. "I knew I had to leave as soon as possible. ruminate. "Hassan had loved me once. his "harelipped ghost. one's family line determines much about how one's life will proceed.. when Rahim Khan finally reveals to Amir that Hassan was his half-brother.

Chapter Twenty The devastation in Kabul took Amir's breath away. I had fought for my father's love. he never experienced the life of a typical Afghan. he revealed that a Talib official had taken Sohrab a month earlier. An old beggar overheard them. Wahid proclaims him. he told them Sohrab was fantastic with his slingshot. he says. Farid warned him never to stand at the Talibs again. When a red truck full of Talibs drove by. "You probably lived in a big two.. He gave Amir just a few small details about her. which amounted to more than he had ever learned fromBaba. He grew up in one of the nicest houses in Kabul. while chatting. The man did not seem to want to talk about Sohrab. you just didn't know it. When they reached the Wazir Akhbar Khan district where Amir grew up. Chapter Twenty-One After Amir visited the orphanage in Karteh-Seh. and it was Hassan and Ali who did their chores and tended the garden. he was relieved to see that it had weathered somewhat better than the other neighborhoods. because they welcomed any chance to start a conflict. And on this soil.entitlement to it. "I'm his half uncle. "an honorable man . of course. All gated. Amir was deeply grateful. This news so enraged Farid that he tackled the man and tried to strangle him to death until Amir intervened. This official came every few months and paid to take a child with him. It turned out that the man was a professor who used to teach at the university alongside Amir's mother. or he knew he and all his children would be shot. The old man directed him and Farid to the orphanage in Karteh-Seh. albeit privately. As he and Farid drove away. from which he was inseparable. the horrifying truth about Afghanistan fell upon him more and more rapidly. he quoted a line from a poem Amir recognized. no doubt to buy food for his children. In the man's makeshift office.. The Taliban refused to pay for renovations or improvements. Baba had driven a Mustang and proudly so. probably Hazaras. the man had no choice but to consent. He pretended not to know who Sohrab was until Amir begged. Your father drove an American car. You had servants.or three-story house with a nice backyard that your gardener filled with flowers and fruit trees." Once he trusted the men enough to let them in. asked for change. He did have a gated backyard. that all of this is true. Farid sneers. he explained that they had no heat or hot water and very little food or supplies. "You've always been a tourist here." Amir has to admit. Amir was mesmerized by them for a minute. where the national team played soccer. "My mother had died on this soil. A skinny man answered the door at the orphanage. and started a conversation. . The man told Amir that he could find the Talib official at Ghazi stadium. A true Afghan" only when he discovers that Amir is going to Kabul to honor his family ties. When Amir insisted. He saw a man selling his artificial leg. It was now Amir who was begging the old man-for any details about his mother. It is only when Amir truly begins to reclaim his and Baba's honor that he also reclaims some of his Afghan identity." Farid quickly dispels any illusions of Afghan nationality that that Amir has when he says. and fatherless children begged on every street corner. he saw a forgotten corpse hanging in front of a restaurant." He points out that because he grew up with so many privileges. The buildings and streets had turned into rubble.

they were to be the graves of two accused adulterers. and made him dance. Amir discovered the horrifying reason for the two deep holes in the ground. He derided Amir for leaving Afghanistan. The Talib officer put on music. During halftime. The Sultans of Kabul. the men attended a soccer match at Ghazi Stadium. In return. Amir e what Baba had said years before: "God help us all if Afghanistan ever falls into their hands." Before he fell asleep. Chapter Twenty-Two Farid and Amir parked in front of a large house in Wazir Akhbar Khan where the meeting would take place. Before going to bed. Despite Farid's protestations. . The hotel was just as run-down as the rest of Kabul and there was even a bloodstain on the wall near the bed. then described with relish his role in the mass execution of the Hazaras. the lush green playing field now turned to dry dirt with two deep holes behind the goalpost. who saw that the boy wore bells around his ankles and makeup on his face. Talibs walked up and down the aisles. he could still make out the carving from their childhood: "Amir and Hassan. it was very easy for them to get an appointment for the same day. the men bonded over jokes about the bumbling cleric. A cleric announced to the crowd that the "will of Allah and the word of the Prophet Muhammad" said death by stoning was a just punishment for adulterers." The Talib official they had been waiting for appeared on the field. anyway?" Horror filled Amir as he realized that the Talib official was Assef. Sohrab's resemblance to Hassan shocked Amir. He personally stoned both of the accused to death. The Talib official entered the room and sat down opposite Amir. He longed for it to be as it once was. Farid explained that Kabul had not even had electricity for days. As he listened to this distortion of Islam. Although the tree was now decrepit. such as being able to receive over five hundred television channels. who noticed he had blood on his sleeve from the executions. saying he should have him shot for treason. whipping anyone who made too much noise. It was nothing like Amir remembered. who would be stoned in front of the thousands of attendees. Even though they were children. Amir climbed the hill with the pomegranate tree as he had with Hassan so many times. They painted its shell red and marched it around as though they were discoverers of a wondrous new species. After being frisked by armed Talibs. they felt as though they were world-renowned explorers. Then he ordered Sohrab to come into the room. "Whatever happened to the old Babalu. Afterwards. Amir told Farid about American conveniences. Farid waited in the car while a terrified Amir went into the house. Then he said to Amir. Farid told a Talib that they wanted to arrange a meeting with the Talib official. The next day. He ordered one of his men to rip off Amir's false beard. he was ushered into an empty room. Amir thought that perhaps Kabul was as "hopeless" as people said. Farid told him stories about fighting the Soviets. after which other Talibs buried them. banned to everyone but the Taliban. Amir walked up the driveway to Baba's house and saw that it had fallen into disrepair." After he sat for a while in contemplation. "Mullah Nasruddin. Finally. he insisted on staying for as long as possible. he and Farid drove off and checked into a nearby hotel.The chapter is interrupted by Amir's memory of finding a turtle in the backyard withHassan.

he had been "on a mission" to get rid of those he considered unworthy of living in Afghanistan. As Assef rolled on the floor in pain. One night. Sohrab helped Amir to the car. The Taliban have created a culture not only of violence but of humiliation. He was aiming his slingshot at Assef's eye. The government's appetite for violence is insatiable. Assef had used brass knuckles. when Sohrab begged him to stop. he joined the Taliban not for money but because he felt it was his divine task. just as his father had done half a century before. even small differences in custom . to beat Amir and knock out his teeth. preparing for another blow. his spirit finally felt healed. Both Hassan and Rahim Khan have described beatings by the Taliban merely for talking too loud. his favorite weapon from childhood." Years later. Amir describes the fight with Assef. when Assef had a terrible kidney stone. he found the same man injured on the battlefield and shot him in the genitals." The chapter is interrupted briefly by Amir's memory of the doctor who helped nurse him back to health. If Amir killed him. and many other Aghan immigrants to America suffer humiliation because they are in an unfamiliar environment. Ever since. He told his guards to wait outside the room and not enter no matter what they heard. Assef said Amir could have Sohrab. He remembers his ribs. It was Sohrab who saved him in the end. a bone in his face. Assef explained that he did not need money. in Taliban-controlled Kabul. the guard decided to beat him. even though Amir's body was broken. Now. and university professors" who had obviously worked hard to gain their status and wealth in Afghanistan reduced to selling at the flea market. Assef tried to jump on Sohrab. gouged out his eyeball. When Amir and Baba were fleeing to Pakistan. he would be able to go free. He remembers that at one point. When he was in prison in the 1980s. Besides. General Taheri. As Farid explains. they found out about a second rape. Amir's personal nightmare erupts into a public reality. merely staring at a Talib is reason enough for him to injure someone. Analysis Chapters Twenty through Twenty-Two showcase the devastation that reigns in Kabul under the Taliban. Their job status is taken away from them because they are unfamiliar with American ways and the English language. his wealthy parents lived on an Australian beachfront. Then Assef told Sohrab to stay as a "lesson. He was wailing in pain as the guard beat him until one kick to his side dislodged the kidney stone and made it pass so that he laughed through the rest of his beating. even government officials are raping children. Amir was lying on the ground with Assef on top of him. out-of-work surgeons. but provoke people so they can beat them. and his nose breaking. Farid drove away as fast as he could as Amir lost consciousness. He describes how "former ambassadors. they not only jump on any existing chance to enact violence. As Baba's incident with the Nguyens shows. However.When Amir offered to pay for Sohrab. he began to laugh uncontrollably. there was a guard who beat one prisoner each night in order to terrorize the others. The theme of violence has been central to the novel all along in the context of Hassan's rape. Baba. Assef believed it to be "a message from God. but he would have to kill Assef in order to leave the house. Kamal's. who shot him and in doing so. We already know that a single rape has influenced Amir's life immeasurably. we discover that under the Taliban.

Assef's childhood tendencies were a good predictor of how he would turn out as an adult. whereas most of the men in Kabul are dead. Even the way Sohrab defeats Assef is eerily similar to the way Hassan threatened himHassan had aimed the slingshot at Assef's eye once before. absurd-it had knocked the breath out of me. Hosseini brings to life something about which most non-Afghans have only heard. but because it is an echo of his confrontation with Assef when they were children. Yet once Amir returns to Kabul. Baba may have to sell other people's junk for money.. but now we understand that he was not exaggerating. . and Farid's accounts. Assef has become like his idol. Amir acknowledges the circularity of his journey when he ponders. they may just have looked at a Talib the wrong way. forgotten friend [whom] life hadn't been good to . in truth. Years before. In the moment when he hides money under Wahid's mattress. as evidenced by the countless fatherless children begging on street corners there..can cause humiliation for an immigrant. but the Afghan people as a whole. They are killed in public. As he remembers. are being dragged into a pit of hopelessness from which there is no escape. a quarter of a century later. Hassan saved him with his slingshot and now. He takes joy in massacring innocent people in the name of his own supremacy. he is now raping and humiliating Hassan's son.. Beyond their sheer violence. "The moment felt surreal-not. I had made a choice. supposedly to make an example for others. Not just the two victims in Ghazi Stadium. things in the story begin to come full circle at an accelerated pace. Amir seemed harsh when he called Assef a "sociopath" early in the story. Adolf Hitler. Above all. Once Amir sees how devastated Afghanistan has become. the story's sense of circularity crosses over into the near impossible or even slightly magical. those who emigrated to America are alive. Sohrab saves him with his. not surreal. The event is all the more significant because we experience it through Amir's eyesAmerican eyes-eyes that are unaccustomed to this type of unchecked violence and injustice. always turning up. degraded. This time." In incorporating the stonings at Ghazi Stadium into his story. It is as unfamiliar to him as "an old. the deaths of the accused adulterers in Ghazi Stadium embody what is happening to the Afghan people under the Taliban. The victims are accused of being adulterers." Once Amir finds out that the Talib official is Assef. but from what we know about the Taliban from Rahim Khan. and now Sohrab finishes what his father began. he understands what Farid said about him being a foreigner in his own homeland. From the moment Amir makes a commitment to return to Afghanistan." Just like Amir's and Hassan's.. Hassan. Homeless and destitute.What was the old saying about the bad penny? My past was like that. but he is far luckier than the amputee in Kabul who is trying to sell his artificial leg. And now. Amir himself cannot believe it. he is atoning for doing so fifteen years earlier. and killed cruelly and unjustly. we see how much better the difficult lives of American immigrants are compared to those who stayed. "Once. The fight between Amir and Assef is surreal not just because Amir does not remember everything clearly. Just as Assef raped Hassan so many years before. instead of plotting to ruin one child's life. he is trying to make sure that three other children do not starve. that choice had landed me right back on this soil. over those mountains. brought the world around me to a standstill . their public murders are meant to intimidate the masses and bring them under even closer control.

was hard on Amir only because of his own guilt. He surveyed the room. After Sohrab left. As a child. When Assef rains violence down on Amir. he sees a caretaker named Aisha. He has had several surgeries in the two days since Farid brought him in. and left. the doctor. "Let's just say we both got what we deserved. Faruqi. his upper lip was split open. he revealed that Hassan told him about the rape soon after it happened. he had refused. Farid and Sohrab came to visit. He does not know where he is or how long ago he was brought in. caring person." Farid told him that Rahim Khan had left Peshawar. Throughout the story. He told Amir that he did betray his friend. for Hassan as well. Most likely. he suffered several broken ribs and a punctured lung. When Farid asked what happened in the room with "the Talib official. Despite Assef's taunting and promises of violence. Amir asked Farid to leave Sohrab with him for a few hours. he said. Chapter Twenty-Three Amir is lying in his hospital bed. Rahim Khan explained that it was hard for him to watch Amir vying for Baba's attention. Dr. a story that is supposedly true. Assef is the one who gives Amir not only "what [he] deserve[s]" but what he longs for. Amir. Finally. Now. Amir has a vision of Baba fighting a bear in Baluchistan. In it. Amir has done everything in his power to avoid violence. Dr. he let Hassan do his fighting for him and refused to stand up for himself. The day dragged on. he sees that he is Baba. Baba. it is as though every blame and injury that Hassan took for him is being returned to him all at once. Amir stands up for Sohrab and in doing so. Rahim Khan believed that all of Baba's charity was in atonement for his sin. His betrayal of Ali and the fact that he could never claim Hassan as his son tortured him. and Farid-although he cannot remember names. At the end of the vision. explains his injuries.When Amir feels his blood running down his face and his bones breaking. he is being punished for what he did to Hassan. but it was punctuated by the entrance of a strange man. one ironic fact stayed with him. much less someone else. he feels gleeful. and his eye socket bone broken. As Amir tried to take in the magnitude of what happened. When Amir demanded that Hassan throw a pomegranate at him. stared at Amir. Even though Amir is aware that he could die. In his fleeting moments of clarity. he said. leaving behind a key and a letter for Amir. Sohrab was shy and refused to make eye contact. He assured Amir that he had suffered from his guilt so much only because he was a good. floating in and out of consciousness. all he can think of is that he wants to thank a child for something." Amir replied. He said he had left money for . but reminded him that he was only a boy at the time. Even though Amir tried to reach out to Sohrab and thanked him for saving his life. The next day. his spleen ruptured and had to be removed. a doctor. Amir read Rahim Khan's letter. he was a spy sent by Assef to threaten Amir's life. When Amir finally regains full consciousness. Faruqi said Amir was lucky to have survived such trauma. his jaw is wired together. he now had a harelip scar just likeHassan had. should learn from Baba's example and try to redeem himself as well. he feels "healed" of his decades-long affliction.

Then Farid came to visit." They found Sohrab sitting in front of the giant Shah Faisal Mosque. Amir took Sohrab to the American Embassy to see an official named Raymond Andrews. decided to help Amir find him. nor had there ever been. He promised Sohrab that he would never have to live in an orphanage again. "I will drive you because I am a father like you. but eventually Sohrab told Amir what Hassan said about him. The next morning. he revealed to Sohrab that he and Hassan were half-brothers. and Amir replied. Amir looked at his face in a mirror. Amir promised to show Sohrab the Golden Gate Bridge and drive him up the steep streets of San Francisco. Amir gave him the photograph that Rahim Khan took. Sohrab asked if Baba had loved him and Hassan equally." Back at the hotel. He planned to use the money from the safety deposit box to pay his bills. After fifteen years of marriage. Sohrab asked Amir if he would go to hell for taking out Assef's eye. which the key would open. He would have to prove that Sohrab was legally an orphan by providing death certificates for Hassan and Farzana. unlike Baba. omitting all the information about Assef. Faruq's advice. Amir told him that Assef was a bad man who had hurt Hassan many years before. he finally told her about Hassan's rape. Amir snapped at Raymond Andrews. Farid drove Amir and Sohrab to Islamabad Chapter Twenty-Four Islamabad was much more modern and cleaner than Peshawar. His monstrous appearance shocked him. he pulled away. this would have been impossible even in pre-Taliban Kabul. Before Farid left to rejoin his family. He ended the letter by requesting that Amir not look for him. and the hotel they stayed in even had a television-a big change from Kabul. Fayyaz. he explained that there were no Caldwells in Peshawar. Sohrab fell asleep and then Amir did the same. Amir left the hospital against Dr. He was ashamed that. that he was "the best friend he ever had. When Farid arrived with Sohrab. Amir called Soraya." Still. When Amir awoke. "he loved us equally but differently. Raymond Andrews told him that his chances of getting a visa for Sohrab were slim. and fly home. He warned Amir that they had to leave Peshawar right away before Taliban sympathizers tried to finish him off. saying. "They ought to put someone in . He assured Sohrab that Hassan would have been very proud of him. leaving his friend speechless. when Amir and Sohrab took a day trip to a hill. There. who told him about his memories of his parents. Amir sat on the grass with Sohrab.Amir in a safety deposit box. Sohrab was gone. They did not talk much. The next day. Amir sent him to find John and Betty Caldwell and spent the day playing cards with Sohrab. Amir told him he wanted to take his half-nephew to America. Amir told him that he was not dirty and after some coaxing. Sohrab let him hold him in his arms. The hotel manager. Sohrab was tormented by a feeling that he was dirty because Assef and his men had molested him. he had acted out because of his guilt rather than doing good. leave Sohrab with the Caldwells. At last. but Sohrab only sobbed. The issue of America lay dormant until a week later. The next day. He asked Sohrab if he would come to America with him. Amir paid him a little over two thousand dollars. Before leaving. Amir cried reading the letter. She told Amir to bring Sohrab home. every time Amir tried to touch Sohrab's arm.

a doctor tells Amir that Sohrab will live. Amir told him the good news from Soraya and asked Sohrab to forgive him for going back on his word. Amir told him the unedited story of what happened with Assef. having slit his wrists with Amir's razor. In the meantime. At Fayyaz's request. "My hands are stained with Hassan's blood. I pray God doesn't let them get stained with the blood of this boy too." As he and Sohrab left. A call from Soraya awoke him. he told Amir. Sohrab had not spoken a single word since then. When he finally gets to visit Sohrab in the intensive care unit. she gave the good news that Sharif would be able to get Sohrab a visa. Amir found it strange to hear non-Afghan Americans discussing the cities of his childhood. Amir sees how hopeless he is. seven months after they arrived. waiting for Sohrab. but Amir could not bring himself to promise. Sohrab just said he was tired and fell asleep. an ambulance took him and Sohrab to the hospital. told the general that Sohrab was the son of his illegitimate half-brother and told him never to call him a "Hazara boy" in front of him again. They did not tell the Taheris the story of why exactly they were adopting Sohrab or how Amir had gotten injured. a lawyer named Omar Faisal came to consult with Amir at the hotel. Then Amir opened the door to the bathroom and began to scream. Amit stopped staying in his hotel. he will do anything to ensure the boy's safety. but said there was some hope of adopting Sohrab if he was placed in an orphanage temporarily. What do I tell them?" Amir. In his prayers. compounding the damage done by decades of fighting. He and Soraya began to get involved on .your chair who knows what it's like to want a child. Sohrab cried himself to sleep and Amir fell askeep as well. We discover that Amir has been narrating the story in 2002. "I want my old life back" and that he wishes he was dead. He barely said a word. Sohrab sobbed and begged Amir not to put him in an orphanage. The Twin Towers had fallen in New York City and The United States had bombed Afghanistan. Eventually. saying. One day. After Omar Faisal left. He mumbles the phrases of prayers he still remembers. angered. Finally. he begs God to let Sohrab live. He knew that an orphanage might be their best hope. Amir did bring Sohrab home with him to San Francisco. He grew up in Berkeley but spoke perfect Farsi. He repeated what Raymond Andrews had said about death certificates. He finds a bedsheet and kneels on it to pray for the first time in over fifteen years. the receptionist told Amir that Raymond Andrews's daughter had committed suicide. Sharif. Finally. Amir knocked on the bathroom door to tell Sohrab that all their fears were over. They will want to know why there is a Hazara boy living with our daughter. It turned out that Soraya's cousin. The political landscape had changed in the interim since Amir and Sohrab arrived home. Amir told Sohrab that he might have to spend a little time in an orphanage. Chapter Twenty-Five Amir is at the hospital. but he would not answer. his belief in God suddenly renewed. General Taheri said. Finally. might be able to get Sohrab a visa because he worked for the INS. He showed no interest in the books Soraya had bought him or any activity they suggested. Sohrab lay dying in the bloody bathwater. Terrified. "People will ask." He recounts what he saw when he opened the bathroom door. even when Amir read him the story of his namesake from the Shahnamah.

Sohrab's fears make it clear that he took his fathers life lessons to heart. When Baba died. Like Hassan and Ali before him. Only when he runs the kite for Sohrab is he redeemed." Because Amir is not yet acting selflessly . When he puts himself in grave danger on Sohrab's behalf." which also describes the moment just before Sohrab saved Amir. he had been offered a post in the Afghanistan ministry. The first was when Amir witnessed Hassan's rape in the alleyway. Amir is challenging his guilt-challenging the bear. but Amir knew what to do. The story about Baba and the bear was a neighborhood legend. He and Soraya took Sohrab to an Afghan picnic in the park. As he stared up at it. which the bear represents. "the old lift-and-dive" as Sohrab watched. Amir performed Hassan's favorite kite-fighting trick. By now. Amir says. Not his too. trying to restore a hospital on the Pakistani border. Amir finds out that he is not the only one living in a cycle of guilt. The green kite fell out of the air." He even says. and rightfully so since he has been abused by so many adults. and Amir told him. he noticed that Sohrab had followed him and handed him the string. like many victims of cruelty. He believes himself to be "so dirty and full of isn. They stood in silence once more until they noticed a green kite closing in on theirs. Suddenly. On another level. he witnessed a half-smile steal over Sohrab's face. in which he is Baba. Analysis Amir's recovery is the second time in the novel that Hosseini uses broken images to convey a sense of detachment from reality. Amir called his cancer "the Bear he could not defeat. which Amir had later taken to represent any trouble Baba went through. a thousand times over. One one level. "I imagined Sohrab lying in a ditch. In Islamabad. Amir is Baba and Assef is the bear. General Taheri was not there because he had finally gotten his wish. Sohrab feels responsible for what has happened to him. Sohrab remained silent. Just as he does not kill the bear in his dream. Or in the trunk of some car. "Do you want me to run that kite for you?" Sohrab nodded. claw and hand swipe. after the kite. "For you. He bought one and brought it to Sohrab. He asked. Amir describes how "Spittle and blood fly. he ran as fast as he could to launch the kite. Amir knows that by escaping. When Sohrab disappears from the hotel. Only Amir kept trying. When the kite came close enough. mesmerized. Amir had kept his promise to pray after Sohrab had survived his suicide attempt. Amir has not yet defeated his guilt. Amir is still putting his own needs in front of Sohrab's because he is acting out of his guilt. Sohrab does not feel safe with Amir. It is important that the dream ends with Amir beating the bear but not killing it. he has bested Assef just as Baba supposedly killed the bear. The most important image from Amir's recovery time is his dream about Baba wrestling the bear." However. bound and gagged. a miracle happened. He told him that Hassan was the best kite runner he had ever known and asked Sohrab to fly the kite with him. the dream is about Amir coming to terms with his guilt." Amir ran among the children. "They fall to the ground with a loud thud. Sohrab soon gave it back to him. that is not the only reason Sohrab's fears are justified. Sohrab believes in God and does not believe that people should use violence to solve their problems. Amir noticed kites flying over the park. When Amir looked down at Sohrab. Amir explains that four days earlier. I didn't want his blood on my hands. people had gotten used to Sohrab's silence and even Soraya could not bear trying to engage him anymore.Afghanistan's behalf." The dream is full of symbolism on many levels. along with Khanum Taheri.

as if he were kneeling before the Virgin Mary. Amir's assurances that he is not "dirty" do little to comfort him. even in privileged societies and situations.towards Sohrab." The moment when Amir leaves the Embassy is doubly significant. Once Amir knows that he and Sohrab are in a safe place. When Amir finds out that Andrews lost his daughter in a violent way. it is ironic when the hotel manager says. He says. he assumes that they are free from violence. but Sohrab has faced real ones. Amir has not yet learned that breaking a promise to a child makes that child feel unsafe. Amir still does not understand what it means to be wounded in one's soul. He also is not yet the father that the hotel manager thought him to be because he has trouble understanding just how young and vulnerable Sohrab is. to be a true victim of war. to discover that even the sharpest image of hardship is not enough to cut through America's red tape. he is reminded that violence exists everywhere in the world. "There is a God. The way in which Sohrab tries to kill himself speaks volumes about the guilt he himself feels. Now." and he interprets his gesture as such-his gesture reminds Amir of Christianity instead of Islam. there always had been. I see Him here. the moment uses one of Hosseini's favorite techniques." He knows that Raymond Andrews is a "typical American. because he is suddenly pious like his friend. Despite the massive injuries he has sustained." Believing in God makes Amir resemble Hassan more. not feeling safe takes on a whole new meaning. "I will drive you because I am a father like you. Raymond Andrews is a figurehead for the red tape that one finds throughout American.. immigration policies. this is where those who have lost God will find Him . or any. Amir's feeling of separation from Raymond Andrews is particularly clear when he describes the way Andrews "press[es] his hands palm to palm. as Amir . Amir suddenly finds himself identifying with Afghanistan more strongly than he has in years. In the second place. Sohrab's suicide attempt teaches Amir how strong an influence fear has over people's lives. This is the real house of God. There is a God. and possibly seen his parents slaughtered still does not exempt him from procedure. He has authority in his voice when he tells Raymond Andrews." Hosseini takes us into the mundane yet necessary world of bureaucracy to show how international policies often compound people's experiences of trauma. there has to be. Not surprisingly. Amir has spent weeks feeling like a privileged American in compassion to the Afghans. Amir suddenly understands that people who are afraid need to believe in God in order to maintain their hope. Amir is shocked. Most people there don't have birthcertificates. And with the terror that Sohrab has withstood. Sohrab's suicide attempt breaks up the calm that falls over the story in Islamabad. he feels like an Afghan speaking to a privileged American who does not understand him. Most children are afraid of pretend monsters. it serves to reconnect Amir to his American identity. foreshadowing. In the first place. enslaved. It is fear and panic that drive him to pray after fifteen years and convince him that God exists.. but he drains the blood from his veins as though dying that way will clean him of his guilt and all his painful memories. The fact that Sohrab has been raped. However. "This is Afghanistan we're talking about. in the eyes of the people in this corridor of desperation. Not only does he die in the bathtub. In several ways. from which he has felt estranged while talking to Raymond Andrews. as perhaps we are.

Rahim Khan is the one who knows the true path to redemption. and the will to live again. He is still acting out of his long-held guilt. true forgiveness involves "pain gathering its things. His memories no longer being painful. I hope you can do the same. his prayers flow from a selfish locus. a thousand times over. He wants to bring him joy. kite fighting reminds him of pleasure instead of pain. "I was twelve again." From these words. opportunity. Amir is running in a positive way. he shares them with Sohrab: "Did I ever tell you your father was the best kite runner in Wazir Akbar Khan? Maybe all of Kabul? .. He is finally running with freedom in his heart instead of fear. away from Sohrab physically but toward him emotionally. . He says. I'm going to show you one of your father's favorite tricks." Now that Amir has forgiven himself. promising to be a more devout Muslim in exchange for Sohrab's life." Once Amir has stopped merely 'not wanting to have blood on his hands. As long as he is directing his remorse inwards. I pray God doesn't let them get stained with the blood of this boy too . As he puts it. the story finally comes full circle. he cannot truly help anyone else.acknowledges. a sense of security.. "My hands are stained with Hassan's blood. He does just that when he teaches Sohrab about kite fighting.. Watch. and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night. He will forgive your father." Rahim Khan understands that Amir takes pleasure in torturing himself with his guilt." are so meaningful. Only when he forgives himself and stops feeling the pain of guilt can Amir direct his full focus on repaying his debt to Hassan and Baba's debt to Ali.. packing up. and you too. I pray my sins have not caught up with me the way I'd always feared they would. He tells Amir in his letter. He is bartering with God." The kite is a symbol of Amir's good. Sohrab." In the ultimate moment of circularity. But. if only this were as easy as bringing him the kite. Forgive me if you wish. Amir runs the kite for Sohrab just as Hassan ran his last kite for him half a century before. When Amir and Sohrab fight the blue kite. Finally Amir understands what it is like to be as loyal and loving as Hassan. the person he is most concerned with is still himself. forgive yourself. he ended up turning his back on Hassan for good by running away from the scene of his rape. praying. The sport takes Amir back to the moment before everything changed. fatherly wishes for Sohrab. In the end. This is why the novel's last words. Even though Amir's story has made a circle metaphorically speaking. God will forgive. and can truthfully repeat Hassan's words. "I ran. Forgive your father if you can. it is clear that even though Amir desperately wants Sohrab to live. it has not ended where it began.' he can make use of those hands. "I know that in the end. most important. "For you. when Hassan had not been raped and they were just two boys having fun together. The last time Amir went to find a kite. me. the old liftand-dive.

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