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The Kite Runner Review
Transcript of The Kite Runner Review
Kite Runner Review
Zaria Mateen, Saahv Grays
Important Quote: “There is no more act more wretched than stealing.” (pg.18)
Baba built an orphanage. He’s also expressing how he doesn’t think Amir would be a very good man when he grows up. Baba feels the worst thing in the world is to steal. Amir feels he did kill Baba’s wife at birth.
Important Quote: “If I may ask, why did the man kill his wife? In fact, why did he ever have to feel sad to shed tears? Couldn't he just have smelled an onion?” (pg. 34)
The story jumps back in time to 1933, the year Baba is born and Zahir Shah becomes king of Afghanistan. Around the same time, two young men who are driving while drunk and high hit and kill Ali’s parents. Amir’s grandfather takes the young Ali in, and Ali and Baba grow up together. Amir says as a child he never thought of Hassan as a friend. Amir read to Hassan, who was illiterate. Their favorite story was “Rostam and Sohrab,” in which Rostam fatally wounds Sohrab in battle and then finds out Sohrab is his lost son. During one reading session under their favorite pomegranate tree, Amir begins to make up his own story while he is reading to Hassan. Hassan says it is one of the best stories Amir has read. That night, Amir writes his first short story, about a man whose tears turn to pearls. The man finds new ways to make himself sad so he can cry and become richer, until the story ends with him sitting atop a mound of pearls, sobbing over the wife he has stabbed. When Amir tells the story, Hassan tells him the story is terrific.
Important Quote: “Mine was Baba. His was Amir. My name.” (pg.11)
In Chapter 2, Amir explains how he grew up living in separated class conditions.
Pashtun- Sunni Muslim. Wealthy higher class-Amir+Baba
Hazara- Shi’a. Lower poor class-Hassan+Ali
Important Quote: “For you, a thousand times over.” (pg.2)
In Chapter 1, The main character is Amir. He is in his late 40s and he is reminiscing about his whole childhood. The quote above is very important to the development of the book.
Important Quote(s): “Some day I'll make you face me one on one.” Amir to Assef (pg. 42)
“If you make a move, they’ll have to change your nickname from 'Assef the Ear Eater' to 'One Eyed Assef'” (pg. 42)
Amir and Hassan discover Assef and two other boys from the neighborhood. Assef is a psychotic bully. He is one of the children who mocks Ali’s limp and calls him names. He also carries a set of brass knuckles. Assef calls Hassan a flat-nose and asks if they heard about the new republic. He says his father knows Daoud Khan, and that next time Daoud Khan is over for dinner he’s going to talk to him about Hitler. Hitler had the right idea about ethnic purity. Afghanistan is the land of Pashtuns and the Hazaras just pollute the country. Assef takes out his brass knuckles. He says Amir is part of the problem for being friends with a Hazara. For a moment, Amir thinks that Hassan is his servant, not his friend, but he quickly recognizes his thought is wrong. As Assef goes to hit Amir, Assef suddenly freezes because Hassan has his slingshot aimed at him, which allows Amir and Hassan to get away.
Important Quote: “For you, a thousand times over!” (pg. 67)
Kite fighting tournament takes place in Amirs neighborhood. Amir thinks that this is a chance to prove himself to Baba. He wins. Hassan goes to get the kite. Hassan gets trapped by Assef, Kamal and Wali. They rape Hassan. Amir watches and does nothing. Hassan comes out crying and bleeding. He decides to not bring it up to him, and pretend it never happened.
A terrible irony exists in the fact that Amir allows his friend to be raped in exchange for a prize that he believes will earn him Baba’s love
MAJOR TURNING POINT IN THE NOVEL.
Important Quote(s): “Would I ever lie to you, Amir agha?”
“I don’t know. Would you?”
“I’d sooner eat dirt,”
“Really? You’d do that?”
The highlight of the winter is the annual kite-fighting tournament, when boys battle kites by covering the strings in broken glass. When a string is cut, the losing kite flies loose, and boys called kite runners chase the kite across the city until it falls. The last fallen kite of the tournament is a trophy of honor. Hassan is the best kite runner in Kabul, and seems to know exactly where a kite will land before it comes down.
Important Quote: “The words I’d carved on the tree trunk with Ali’s kitchen knife, Amir and Hassan: Sultans of Kabul… I couldn’t stand looking at them now.” (pg. 87)
After the rape, Amir and Hassan spend less time together. Baba and Amir take a trip to Jalalabad and stay at the house of Baba’s cousin. When they arrive they have a large traditional Afghan dinner. Baba proudly tells everyone about the kite tournament, but Amir does not enjoy it. After dinner, they all lie down to bed in the same room, but Amir cannot sleep. He says aloud that he watched Hassan get raped, but nobody is awake to hear him. He says this is the night he became an insomniac. When Amir and Baba return home, Hassan asks Amir if he wants to walk up the hill with him. They walk in silence, and when Hassan asks if Amir will read to him, Amir changes his mind and wants to go home.
Important Quote(s): "I loved him in that moment, loved him more than I’d ever loved anyone..”
“Except Baba stunned me by sayaing, ‘I forgive you.’” (pg. 105)
The next morning Amir opens his presents. He thinks to himself that either he or Hassan must leave. As he is going out later, Ali stops him and gives him his present. It is a new version of “Shahnamah,” the book of stories Amir would read to Hassan. The morning after, Amir waits for Hassan and Ali to leave. He takes his birthday money and a watch that Baba gave him and puts them under Hassan’s mattress. He tells Baba that Hassan stole them, and when Ali and Hassan return, Baba asks Hassan if he stole the money and the watch. To Amir’s surprise, Hassan says he did. Amir realizes Hassan saw him in the alley, and he knew also that Amir was setting him up now. Baba forgives Hassan, but Ali says they must leave. Baba pleads with him to stay, but Ali refuses. It rains when Ali and Hassan leave, and Amir watches from inside as they go.
Important Quote: “Do you always have to be the hero?” (pg. 115)
It is March 1981. Amir and Baba are in the back of a truck with several other Afghans on the way to Pakistan. The ride makes Amir sick, and he worries he is embarrassing Baba. Because they can’t trust anyone, they left home in the middle of the night. The rafiqs, or comrades as Amir calls them, have divided society. People turn each other in for money or under threat. The truck driver, Karim, has a business arrangement with the soldiers guarding the road. But when they arrive at the checkpoint, the Russian guard eyes a woman in the truck and says the price of passing is half an hour with her. Baba won’t allow it. The Russian threatens to shoot Baba and raises his handgun, but another Russian officer stops him. After they pass the checkpoint, the husband of the woman kisses Baba’s hand. Kamal as raped and died, and his father kills himself.
Important Quote: “Baba loved the idea of America” (pg. 125)
The story jumps forward in time. Baba and Amir are in Fremont, California, where they have lived for nearly two years. Baba, who works at a gas station now, has had difficulty adjusting to life in the U.S. One day, in a convenience store he often shops at, he overturns a magazine rack because the manager asks for ID when Baba tries to pay with a check. Amir wants to explain that, in Afghanistan, everyone trusted each other to pay. That night Amir asks if it’s best that they return to Pakistan, where they spent six months while waiting for visas to enter the U.S. Baba says they’re in America for Amir, who is about to finish high school and go to college. On the night of Amir’s graduation, Baba takes him out for a big dinner, then to a bar where he buys drinks all night. He also gives Amir an old Ford Grand Torino as a gift. In the days after, Amir tells Baba that he wants to study writing. Baba disapproves and says the degree will be useless, but Amir has made up his mind.
Important Quote: “I suspected in many ways that Soraya was a better person than me. Courage was just one them.” (pg. 165)
After nearly a year of admiring Soraya, Amir finally gets the nerve to speak to her. General Taheri is away. She asks Amir to sit, but he does the proper Afghan thing and declines. For weeks he talks to Soraya only when General Taheri is away, until one day he is giving her one of his stories when General Taheri arrives. General Taheri throws the story out, and walking Amir away he tells Amir to remember that he is among other Afghans. Amir is disheartened, but he soon becomes focused on Baba, who is ill. Baba is diagnosed with lung cancer but refuses to receive treatment. Amir tells Baba he doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do. Baba replies that he’s been trying to teach Amir precisely this all his life and forbids Amir to tell anyone about his illness.
Baba weakens as the months pass until one day he collapses. The cancer has spread to his brain. Afghans arrive in droves to see Baba in the hospital. At Baba’s bedside, Amir asks if he will go to General Taheri to ask Soraya’s hand in marriage for Amir. Baba goes happily the next day. General Taheri accepts, and after Baba tells Amir over the phone he puts Soraya on the line. Soraya is happy, but she says she must tell Amir about her past because she dosen’t want any secrets. When she was eighteen, she ran away with an Afghan man.
Important Quote: “In the midst of it all, Afghanistan was forgotten” (pg. 184)
They got married and tried to have children.
Important Quote: "A way to be good again." (pg. 192)
The period is June 2001, and Amir has just received a call from Rahim Khan, who wants Amir to see him in Pakistan. Amir tells Soraya he has to go. Rahim Khan, the first grownup Amir ever thought of as a friend, is very ill. Amir takes a walk to Golden Gate Park, and as he sits watching a man play catch with his son and looking at the kites flying, he thinks of something Rahim Khan said to him on the phone. He told Amir there is a way for him to be good again. That night, while Amir and Soraya are in bed, Amir thinks of their relationship. They still make love, but both of them feel a kind of futility in the act. They used to lie together and talk about having a child, but now their conversations are about work or other things. Amir drifts off to sleep and dreams of Hassan running through the snow. A week later, Amir leaves for Pakistan.
Important Quote: "
, we say, life goes on." (pg. 201)
Amir lands in Peshawar, where Rahim Khan is. The driver of the cab he takes talks incessantly, telling Amir that what has happened to Afghanistan is awful. Amir remembers the last time he saw Rahim Khan, twenty years earlier in 1981. It was the night he and Baba left Kabul. They had gone to see Rahim Khan, and Baba had cried. Baba and Rahim Khan had kept in touch, but Amir had not spoken with Rahim Khan since just after Baba’s death.
Amir arrives at Rahim Khan’s apartment, and Rahim Khan answers the door. He looks thin and sickly. Amir tells him he is married now to Soraya Taheri, General Taheri’s daughter, and he talks about Baba and his career as a novelist. Rahim Khan says he never doubted Amir would become a writer. The conversation turns to what Afghanistan has become since the Taliban took over. He took care of the place, as Baba expected to eventually return. Meanwhile, Kabul became dangerous as the fighting between Afghan factions vying for control of the city grew worse. Rockets fell randomly, destroying homes and killing civilians. Rahim Khan says he cheered at first when the Taliban took over and ended the fighting.
Rahim Khan replies is dying and does not expect to live through the summer. Before he asks Amir for the favor, he must tell him about Hassan.
Important Quote: "And now, fifteen years after I buried him, I was learning Baba had been a thief." (pg. 225)
In this chapter, Amir learns that Baba lied to him and Hassan and also that Hassan is his half-brother. He feels obligated to go after Sohrab in Kabul so he can be good again and bring honor to Hassan.
Important Quote: "I feel like a tourist in my own country." (pg. 231)
In this chapter, Amir is on his way to Kabul. He sees the city in shambles and feels like he never lived there at all. Farid, however, says that Amir has never seen the country for what it really was.
Important Quote: "Don't ever stare at them! Do you understand me? Never!" (pg. 248)
In this chapter, Farid points out to Amir how ruthless the Taliban have become and how to act around them. Amir learns more about his mother. Amir and Farid learn that the Taliban come to Sohrab's orphanage and take a child away.
Important Quote: "I don't want to forget anymore." (pg. 263)
Amir comes to terms about what happened in the past and wants to make things better. Social norms about class are still present even in the middle of war. Amir and Farid witnessed a stoning of a man and his wife at a soccer game.
Important Quote: "OUT! GET IT OUT!" (pg. 291)
Amir finds the Talib that has Hassan. He finds out it is Assef. Assef wants them to have a fair fight for Sohrab. Amir feels as though him getting beaten is pay back for what he did when he was little. Sohrab made Assef 'One Eyed Assef' with his slingshot.
Important Quote: "Clean own the middle. Like a harelip." (pg. 297)
Amir has an everlasting scar on his lip that resembles Hassan's. He finds a letter from Rahim Khan that apologizes for the lies him and Baba have told him and to bring Sohrab to Amarica.
Important Quote: "You promised you'd never put me in one of those places, Amir agah." (pg. 341)
Amir tells Soraya about his past and about Sohrab. She agrees to let him live with them. Amir runs into difficulty getting Sohrab into America. Sohrab tries to commit suicide because Amir needed to put him back in an orphanage and broke his promise to not to.
Important Quote: For you, a thousand times over." (pg. 371)
Amir stays with Sohrab while heis in the hospital and prays for him to live. He reads the
for Sohrab. Amir finds a way to get Sohrab into America with Soraya's help. Sohrab blends into the background most of the year. The Twin Towers fall. Amir and Soraya celebrate the Afghan New Year with neighbors. Amir gets Sohrab to Kite fly with him.