The Kite Runner Quotes

"I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975." (Amir, Chapter 1, p. 1)

This is the first line of the book and it sets the tone for the entire story. Amir is telling the story of his failure to protect the one person in his life worth protecting, his playmate and servant Hassan. Hassan would do anything for Amir, even suffer the indescribable violation of rape, just to satisfy a promise.

Amir, for his part, would not take the action needed to prevent the tragedy imposed on Hassan. Instead of standing up for Hassan, he took no action at all. This inaction was the beginning of a life filled with guilt and lies. It is also why he does the most courageous act of his life; he rescues a boy in Taliban controlled Kabul.

"Hassan never denied me anything." (Amir, Chapter 1, p. 4)

Outside of school Amir spent all his time with Hassan. Amir was the instigator and Hassan the actor. An example of this is the game played by the boys up in the poplar trees in Baba's orchard. Amir would beg Hassan to use his slingshot to fire walnuts at the neighbor's dog. Even though he knew it was wrong, Hassan could not say no to Amir. He even took the blame when his father, Ali, would catch them at it.

This desire to please Amir is the reason Hassan was raped by Assef, because he knew Amir wanted the blue kite, so he could present it to his father. This kite would be the proof of Amir's skill as a kite fighter. Hassan refused to give up the kite to Assef, so he suffered at his hands, to ensure he kept his promise to Amir.

"If I hadn't seen the doctor pull him out of my wife with my own eyes, I'd never believe he's my son." (Baba, Chapter 3, p. 23)

Amir isn't the boy his father is hoping for, because he will not stand up for himself. He lets Hassan do the fighting for him and then lies about what happened to his father. He refuses to give Hassan the credit he is do. Baba feels if he won't stand up for himself, then what kind of person will he be as an adult. He fears his son will never take a stand for anything.

He thought his son would be like him, a man who stands up not just for himself, but also for those who cannot stand up for themselves. Baba is a man of action, a self-made man, who never backs down from a fight. The minute someone tells him he can't do something, he starts figuring out a way to achieve his goal.

This is why his son is a stranger to him and he states he would have never believed Amir was his, if he had not seen him born.

"The curious thing was, I never thought of Hassan and me as friends either." (Amir, Chapter 4, p. 25)

Amir is explaining the unique relationship between Baba and Ali, and himself and Hassan. Even though Ali was brought up with Baba, same as Hassan was with Amir, Baba and Amir never considered them their friends.

Ali and Hassan are servants to Baba and Amir and they are Hazara, who are subservient to the Pashtun people, which is why Baba and Amir don't see them as friends. The Hazara are not allowed to go to school, they are not allowed the same freedoms and ability to work as the Pashtun. Another difference between Baba and Amir, and Ali and Hassan is Baba and Amir are Sunni Muslim and Ali and Hassan are Shi'a Muslim, the Sunni are the predominate denomination in Afghanistan.

While Amir doesn't consider Hassan his friend, Hassan considers Amir his friend, even though Amir will not allow his Pashtun friends to see him and Hassan together, nor will he acknowledge their relationship. Amir tells his school friends that Hassan is his servant.

"Some day, Inshallah, you will be a great writer," Hassan said. "And people all over the world will read your stories." (Hassan, Chapter 4, p. 33)

Amir has read Hassan the first story he has ever written. He first had given the story to Rahim Khan, who wrote him a note encouraging him to keep on writing. Now this reaction to the story by Hassan has given Amir the confidence to keep on writing. These two reactions to his first attempt at writing has given him the push he needs to consider writing as a career path. This is the beginning of what would become a successful career for him, when he is an adult.

"I opened my mouth, almost said something. Almost. The rest of my life might have turned out differently if I had. But I didn't. I just watched. Paralyzed." (Amir, Chapter 7, p. 73)

Amir is watching Hassan being held down by Assef's friends, so Assef can sodomize Hassan. Amir is watching from around the corner of a building, he is shielded from Assef and his friend's view. He could stop this horrible act from occurring. He knows he should stop it, but he is afraid of Assef hurting him and he wants the kite. It is for the kite Hassan's life is being torn apart. He promised Amir, he would retrieve the last kite Amir cut to seal his victory in the kite fighting tournament.

Assef and his two friends have cornered Hassan in an alley, they want the kite, but will allow Hassan to keep it if he submits to Assef's demand. Hassan, who could never disappoint Amir, gives in to keep his promise. He knows Assef wants to gain retribution for Hassan making him back down at an earlier date, but he doesn't know exactly what Assef is planning. He realizes what Assef is planning to do as he is being held down by Assef's two friends. This is the last time Hassan ever ran a kite. This is also the end of his and Amir's relationship, not because Hassan cannot stand to be around Amir, but because of his guilt, Amir cannot handle seeing Hassan. This is the moment Hassan's and Amir's lives change forever.

"Come. There is a way to be good again, Rahim Khan had said on the phone just before hanging up." (Rahim Khan, Amir, Chapter 14, p. 192)

Amir has received a call from his father's old business partner and Amir's friend Rahim Khan. He has asked Amir to come to Pakistan to visit him, because he is very ill and he wished to see Amir one last time. He also told Amir "there is a way to be good again". These words let Amir know that Rahim has been privy to the secret he has been carrying around with him all his life. Rahim knows about the alley and how Amir planted his gifts in Hassan's house, so he would look like a thief. He also knows Amir let Hassan admit he stole the items, which led to Hassan and Ali leaving Baba's house forever.

He travels to see Rahim who tells him of Hassan's and his wife's deaths at the hands of the Taliban. Rahim also tells him of the child they left behind, who is now in an orphanage in Kabul. Lastly, Rahim tells Amir how he can be good again. The path will require more courage than Amir has ever summoned in his life, but the result will be worth it.

"'I want you to go to Kabul. I want you to bring Sohrab here,' he said." (Rahim Khan, Chapter 17, p. 220)

This is how Amir will be good again, by rescuing Sohrab, Hassan's son from the orphanage. Kabul is still under the control of the Taliban, who look for ways to threaten and kill people in Afghanistan. The trip will be very dangerous and finding Sohrab will be very difficult, but if he can bring the child to Pakistan it will be worth it.

Rahim has promised Amir he has found an orphanage, which will give the boy a good life. Amir agrees to do as Rahim asks, even though the thought of going back to Kabul frightens him.

'"Your father and I were brother," I said. ....."Half brothers, really. We had the same father."' (Amir, Chapter 24, p. 322)

Amir has explained to Sohrab why he is trying to help him. Sohrab is confused, because his father had never told him Amir was his half-brother. This is because Hassan never knew of the connection, neither had Amir, because Baba kept the information a secret from both of them. Amir found out from Rahim during his visit to Pakistan, just a short time before he left to rescue Sohrab. This means Amir is Sohrab's half-uncle and gives him a slightly better chance at adopting Sohrab.

Amir also acknowledges the reason Baba kept the relationship secret was because Hassan was Hazara. Hassan's mother was Ali's wife; Baba had an affair with her after Amir's mother died giving birth to him. This information cleared up for Amir the reason Baba was so attentive to Hassan.

"I looked down at Sohrab. One corner of his mouth had curled up just so." (Amir, Chapter 25, p. 370)

Sohrab has been through a lot in his eleven years, he has lost his parents, been sold to Assef and abused the same way his father was, then rescued by Amir, only to be told he might have to go back to an orphanage, and he has attempted suicide. He is now living in the United States with Soraya, Amir's wife, and Amir; they have adopted him. He has not spoken a word in almost a year. He has not shown any interest in anything in almost a year. He is a boy lost in a strange world.

Then one day at an Afghan New Year's celebration, he and Amir fly a fighting kite together. Amir tells him how Hassan was the best kite runner he had ever seen. He reminisces about how he and Hassan used to fly kites together and asks Sohrab if he would like to fly a kite with him. Amir purchases a kite and decides to fly it alone, if Sohrab won't join him. Soon they are flying the kite together and for the first time since arriving in America, Sohrab smiles. It may be a small smile, but it is a start.

Related Links:

The Kite Runner Summary
The Kite Runner Quiz
The Kite Runner Chapter 25 Summary
The Kite Runner Chapters 1 - 5 Summary
The Kite Runner Chapters 6 - 7 Summary
The Kite Runner Important Characters
Literature Summaries

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