About this sample
About this sample
Words: 3669 |
19 min read
Published: Nov 19, 2018
Words: 3669|Pages: 8|19 min read
The story begins in December 2001 with the narrator, Amir, who is recalling a memory that happened in 1975, when he was twelve years old. He reveals that he received a call from Rahim Khan, a friend that lived in Pakistan. After his call, Amir walks around San Francisco and notices that there was a pair of kites flying in the sky. This causes him to think about his past and how it made him who he is today. When Amir and Hassan were children, they would climb trees and prank their neighbors by reflecting sunlight into their windows or using a slingshot to shoot walnuts at their dog. When they get caught, Hassan takes the blame all by himself even if Amir creates the idea. Amir and his father, Baba, live in an estate, while Hassan and his father, Ali, live in a servant’s mud hut at the end of their garden. Ali is Baba’s close friend as well as his servant.
Both Amir and Hassan grow up without a mother. Amir’s mother, Sofia, passes giving birth to him and Hassan’s mother, Sanaubar, runs away with a group of traveling singers and dancers after giving birth. One day Amir and Hassan were walking to Cinema Zainab when soldiers call Hassan “The Hazara.” Both Ali and Hassan are Hazaras (Shia Muslims) while Baba and Amir are Pashtuns (Sunni Muslims). Amir remembers the story that Rahim Khan tells him of how Baba wrestles with a bear. Baba proves to people that he can do the “impossible.” While Baba has no architect training or experience, he designs and builds an orphanage. People tell Baba that it isn’t in his blood to run a business, but he becomes one of the wealthiest businessmen in Kabul. When people ridicule Baba saying he won’t marry well because he isn’t from royal blood, he marries Sofia Akrami, one of Kabul’s most beautiful and intelligent woman and a descendant of the royal family. Baba has high morals. Baba teaches Amir that the only sin is theft and that all the other sins are a variation of theft. Amir looks up to Baba and tries his best to satisfy Baba by being more like him, but everything he does is futile. Amir tries to like soccer because Baba likes it, but he fails to find interest in it. While Amir likes to read and write, Baba does not like it because he does not think it is manly. When Amir cries, Baba can barely hide his disdain. Amir later overhears a conversation between Baba and his friend and business partner, Rahim Khan. Baba says Amir is different from the other boys and he is afraid that Amir would not be able to stand up for himself when he is older since he can’t do it as a child.
The story jumps back to the year of 1933 when Baba is born and the king of Afghanistan is Zahir Shah. This is also around the time when Ali lost his parents due to a drunk driver. Amir’s grandfather adopts young Ali in. Baba and Ali grow up together, but Baba never once calls Ali his friend when he tells his childhood stories to Amir. Young Amir says that he never thinks of Hassan as his friend because they have different religious and ethnic backgrounds. Despite that, Amir spends most of his childhood playing together with Hassan. After school, Amir usually reads to Hassan because he was illiterate under a pomegranate tree. Their favorite story was “Rostam and Sohrab.” One day, during their reading session, Amir decides to play a trick on Hassan by making up his own story instead of reading from the text. To his surprise, Hassan enjoys it and says it the was the best book that Amir has read to him so far. That night, Amir goes home and writes his first short story about a man whose tears turned into pearls. When Amir was done, he tries to show Baba but is ignored. Rahim Khan, on the other hand, takes the story and reads it. Not satisfied, Amir decides to read the story to Hassan who tells him the story if amazing except for one thing. Hassan states something obvious about what the character in the book could have done and Amir gets annoyed. He begins to think of offensive thoughts about Hassan being a Hazara. One night, gunfire is heard in all of the streets. Amir, Hassan, and Ali hide together in the house until the next morning. Amir says that their life was “the beginning of the end” and that the official end in December 1979 when the Russian invades Afghanistan and takes over.
That morning, after failing an attempt to understand the radio about Afghanistan becoming a republic, Amir and Hassan decide to go climb a tree. While they are walking, a rock struck Hassan in the back. When they turn around, they see Assef and his two friends, Wali and Kamal. Assef is the neighborhood bully and one of the children who name calls and tease Ali because of his limp. He is known for carrying his brass knuckles. Assef calls Hassan names and asks them if they heard the news about the new republic. Assef believes that Hitler is a good leader and that his idea of ethnic purity is right. He says that “Afghanistan is the land of Pashtuns” and that the Hazaras pollute their homeland. Assef begins to take out his brass knuckles and blames Amir as being part of the problem because he is friends with Hassan. For a split second, Amir thinks of Hassan only as a servant and not his friend. As Assef was about to punch Amir, he stops because Hassan aims a slingshot at him. Asseff tells them that it is not the end and that he will definitely come back. The following winter, Baba hires a plastic surgeon to fix Hassan’s lip. Throughout his recovery period, Hassan smiles but the winter when his lip only has a faint scar, he ironically stops smiling.
Winter is the best time of the year for boys in Kabul because schools close and they get to fly kites and run them. The highlight of every winter is the kite-fighting tournament. Boys build kites covering their strings with broken glass. When the string is cut, the kite falls, and boys called kite runners run across the city to catch the kite before it lands. For kite runners, the most wanted kite was the last one of the tournament because it was a “trophy of honor.” Hassan is the best kite runner in all of Kabul because he can predict where the kite will land before it falls. In the winter of 1975, the kite-fighting tournament is held in Amir’s neighborhood, but regularly each neighborhood would host their own competition. A couple of days before the competition, Baba says that Amir may win this year which motivates Amir’s desire to win. The day of the competition arrives and lasts the entire day. Eventually, Amir’s kite and the blue kite remains. They battle, but Amir wins in the end. Hassan promises Amir to bring the kite back and says “ For you, a thousand times over” before he begins to run. Amir accepts the many congratulations said and then goes looking for Hassan. He scours the neighborhood until he comes across an alley. Hassan has the blue kite but is surrounded by Assef, Wali, and Kamal. Assef threatens Hassan and tells him that he would be free if he hands that kite over. Hassan refuses and says it belongs to his friend, Amir. Assef and his lackeys charge at Hassan, pinning him to the ground without his pants. Wali and Kamal think that what they are doing is sinful, but they continue to pin Hassan down. Assef, on the other hand, doesn’t agree and rapes Hassan. Amir debates with himself whether he should go out and help, but he ultimately runs away. Fifteen minutes later, Hassan returns crying and bleeding, but Amir pretends he does not see it. The boys do not speak about what happened.
After the rape, Amir and Hassan do not spend time together anymore. While Hassan tries to rekindle their relationship, Amir continues to avoid him. When Hassan asks Amir if he did anything wrong, Amir yells and him and tells him to stop harassing him. One spring day, Amir asks Baba if they could get new servants in which Baba angrily replied that he will never replace Ali and Hassan. When school starts, Amir locks himself in his room. One day, he asks Hassan to walk with him because he wants to read him a story. After they sit under the pomegranate tree, Amir asks Hassan what he would do if he threw a pomegranate at him. Amir then begins attacking Hassan with pomegranates yelling at Hassan to hit him back, but Hassan does not. He even crushes a pomegranate on his own head and asks Amir if he was satisfied before leaving. Amir turns thirteen in the summer of 1976. The next morning as he opens his presents from his party and thinks that either he leaves or Hassan leaves. When no one was home, Amir takes his birthday money and his new watch and puts in under Hassan’s mattress. He then goes and tells Baba that Hassan was the one who stole them. Baba asks Hassan if he stole it and Hassan said yes. Amir figures out that Hassan knows that he saw him in the alley and is now framing him so he will leave. Baba forgives Hassan, which surprises Amir, but Ali refuses and they leave in the end.
In March 1981, Baba and Amir are fleeing to Pakistan with other Afghans. The story then jumps back forward in time to Fremont, California, where Amir and Baba have lived for around two years. Baba works at a gas station and is struggling a lot adjusting to his new life in America. One day, in a convenience store, Baba, causes a ruckus because the manager wanted to see his ID for paying with a check. Amir finishes high school in America. On the night of his graduation, he and Baba went out to eat. He reveals to Baba that he wants to major in writing in which Baba disapproves. The summer of 1984, Baba buys a used van. On Sunday mornings he and Amir set up a booth at a flea market in an Afghan community to earn money. Baba meets General Taheri at the market and Amir meets Soraya, falling in love with her at first sight. Amir speaks to Soraya after nearly a year and would only do so after the General leaves. He did that until one day General Taheri arrives while he was giving one of his stories to Soraya. The General throws his story away and tells Amir to return to his father. Amir does not even have the time to feel disappointed because Baba faints. Baba is diagnosed with lung cancer, but he refuses to receive treatment. He says this is what he has been preparing Amir for this moment in life and prohibits him from telling anyone about his sickness. As months go by, Baba slowly gets weaker until he gets a seizure one day. The doctors said cancer has spread to his brain. Many Afghans go to the hospital to see Baba. Amir asks Baba if he can go ask General Taheri for Soraya’s hand. Baba agrees and goes the next day. Baba tells Amir over the phone that General Taheri accepts the marriage plan and afterward give the phone to Soraya. Soraya tells Amir about her past because she doesn’t want to hide any secrets. Amir confesses that her past bothers him a little, but he still wants to marry her in the end.
The next evening, Baba and Amir go to Taheris’ home for a traditional ceremony. Everyone plans to have the wedding quickly because Baba might not last any longer. A month after the wedding, Baba passes. Many people who have been helped by Baba, come and pay their respects. After the funeral, Amir slowly learns about Soraya’s family because he didn’t have the chance. The story continues to the summer of 1988 when Amir publishes his first novel. He and Soraya want a child, but they fail to conceive and the doctors cannot explain why. Amir talks about adoption, but the General does not like the idea. Amir’s writing career does well and he publishes his second book, but the idea of not being able to have a child lingers in his mind. The book then jumps to June 2001 where Amir receives a call from Rahim Khan telling him to go back to Pakistan. Amir tells Soraya and a week later, he leaves. Amir lands in Peshawar reaches Rahim Khan’s apartment only to see a thin and frail Rahim Khan. They catch up with each other by telling stories until Rahim Khan coughs up blood. This prompts Amir to ask him about his health and Rahim Khan says that he is dying and he doesn’t know how much longer he can last. He tells Amir that he had been living with Hassan after he and Baba left Kabul. Rahim Khan tells Amir about Hassan before asking him for a favor. Rahim Khan tells Amir how he found Hassan and asked him and his wife Farzana to live in Baba’s house with him. Hassan refuses at first, but after finding out that Baba passed, he agrees to go back to Kabul. Hassan and Farzana continue to live in the servants’ hut out of respect. They both work to clean and repair the house. After giving birth to a stillborn, Farzana becomes pregnant again in 1990. That was the same year that Sanaubar returns, but all weak and injured. Amir and Farzana nurses her until she is healthy again and that winter, Sanaubar delivers their child, Sohrab. Sanaubar lives until Sohrab turned four. By then, it is the year 1995 and the Soviets has been defeated and has left Kabul. However, the fighting did not cease because of rival groups fighting within Afghanistan. In 1996, the Taliban takes over and bans kite fighting.
The story returns to Amir’s perspective. Rahim Khan gives Amir an envelope from Hassan. In it contains a letter and a photograph. Amir reads the letter. Afterward, Rahim Khan tells Amir that Hassan and Farzana have been killed by the Taliban and that Sohrab has been sent to the orphanage. Rahim Khan asks Amir if he can find Sohrab in Kabul and bring him to the American couple in Pakistan who will adopt him. Amir says he can’t go and will pay someone to do it. Rahim Khan explains to Amir that he has to go. Rahim Khan reveals to Amir that Ali was infertile. Amir asks Rahim Khan who is Hassan’s father to Rahim Khan replied that he knew. Amir found out that Hassan never knew about their relationship either and angrily left the apartment.
Amir gets some air and thinks back to all the times that Baba showed signs that he was Hassan’s father. Amir thinks about how Baba stole Ali from his dignity, Hassan from his identity, and most importantly, him from a brother. He realizes that he and Baba are more similar than they knew because they both harmed and betrayed their genuine friends. Amir figures out that Rahim Khan wants him to atone his mistakes as well as Baba’s and decides to find Sohrab. Rahim Khan finds Farid, an acquaintance, to take Amir to Kabul. Once he reaches Afghanistan, Amir says that Afghanistan has changed a lot since he was gone and that he feels like a tourist in his own country. They make a rest stop at Farid’s brother, Wahid’s, house. There Amir explains why he is back in Afghanistan. He also discovers that Wahid’s family fed all their food to him, so he leaves money under a mattress for them. On his way to Kabul, Amir sees the destruction and the aftermath of what the Soviets has done to his country. There are rubble and homeless people everywhere on the streets. Amir and Farid find the orphanage that they think Sohrab is staying in. Director Zaman tells Amir that Sohrab is not with him. He explains to them that every few months, the Taliban goes to the orphanage and exchanges cash for a child. Zaman says he can’t do anything to stop them because he has other children to feed. He tells Amir that they will find the official who took Sohrab away tomorrow at Ghazi Stadium.
The next day, they go to the soccer game at the Ghazi Stadium. During halftime, they drag a blindfolded man and woman out of a truck and bury them in a chest-deep hole on the field. A cleric says that they have disobeyed God, and is now being punished. An official appears on the mound and throws stones at the man’s head until he is dead. After he is done with the men, he does the same for the woman. Men throw the bodies back into the truck and the second half of the game starts. Farid tells a nearby Taliban that he wants to see the official and the official surprisingly agrees to see them that afternoon at 3.Amir and Farid arrives at the Taliban official’s house. He enters and the Taliban official asks him questions. Afterward, he tells the guards to bring Sohrab in.
Once Sohrab enters, they make him dance until the official sends the guards away. While rubbing Sohrab’s stomach, the official asks Amir how the “old Babalu” was doing. At that moment Amir figures out that the official is actually Assef. Amir tells Assef that he will pay for Sohrab, but Assef replies that he does not need the money. He notifies his guards to let them go if they can get out of the room alive. Amir takes out his brass knuckles and punches Amir up. As Assef beats Amir, he laughs because he feels relieved for the first time. Sohrab screams at Assef to stop, but Assef disregards his scream. Just before Assef lunges at Amir, Sohrab fired his slingshot, hitting Assef in the left eye. Amir and Sohrab run away and Amir passes out in the car. Farid sends Amir to the hospital. At the hospital, Amir slips in and out of consciousness for days. When he finally wakes up, Farid tells him that Rahim Khan is gone, but he left a letter. Rahim Khan tells Amir not to look for him and to forgive himself. The next morning, Amir tells Farid the names of the American couple who runs the orphanage and spends the whole day playing cards with the silent Sohrab. When Farid finds out that there never was an American couple, Amir decides to take Sohrab to Islamabad as Peshawar is not safe.
Amir and Sohrab arrive at a hotel in Islamabad. When Amir wakes up from his nap, he finds that Sohrab is missing. Amir remembers that Sohrab was fascinated by the sight of the mosque that they passed earlier. He finds Sohrab and talks to him about his parents. Sohrab is traumatized from Assef’s sexual abuse and says that it makes him feel dirty and sinful. Amir calms Sohrab down and asks him if he wants to go to America and live with him. Sohrab stays silent for a week until one afternoon. He asks Amir about San Francisco but is scared to go with him because he doesn’t think they will like him. Sohrab is petrified and never wants to go back to the orphanage. Amir calls Soraya and explains the adoption plan. The next day, Amir and Sohrab go to the American Embassy.
The employee there tells Amir that it is almost impossible to adopt Sohrab, but he will recommend him to an immigration attorney, Omar Faisal. They meet Omar the next day and Omar tells Amir that he might have a chance if he sends Sohrab to an orphanage, file a petition, and then adopt him in a couple of years after the government approves of the adoption. That night, Amir tells Sohrab the news that he might have to go back to the orphanage. Sohrab screams that the people at the orphanage will hurt him and cries until he falls asleep. When Amir wakes up, he sees that Sohrab is in the bathroom, taking his nightly bath. Then he calls Soraya and she tells him that it possible for them to adopt Sohrab once he is in the country. Amir, all excited and glad, goes to the bathroom to tell Sohrab the news, only to find him bleeding and unconscious. Sohrab is rushed to the hospital and is saved. For the next couple of days, Amir spends his time in the hospital with Sohrab. When Amir tries to talk or read to Sohrab, he says nothing. Sohrab just stopped speaking altogether. Amir takes Sohrab to San Francisco and they arrive in August 2001. In the beginning, both Amir and Soraya had high hopes for Sohrab, but because he never talks or likes to interact much they gave up on him. One rainy afternoon in March 2002, Amir takes his family and Sohrab to a park gathering with other Afghans.
Eventually, the rain stops and the sky clears. Soraya points out that there were kites flying. Amir finds the kite seller and buys a kite for Sohrab. He teaches Sohrab how to fly the kite and how to play. Amir and Sohrab cut one of the kites and as people were cheering for them, Sohrab smiles of a brief second. Amir asks Sohrab if he wants him to run the kite for him. Sohrab nods and Amir takes off after telling him, “For you, a thousand times over.”
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