Plot Overview

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara boy, a despised and impoverished caste. The story opens in December 2001, when Amir recalls an event that happened twenty-six years ago, when he was still a young boy in Afghanistan. Before the event, Amir had lived his life to the fullest. He lived in a big house with Baba, his dad, and along with that, Hassan and his father, lived among them. All went well until the day came when Afghanistan’s king was overthrown and things began to change. One day, Amir and Hassan were playing when all of a sudden, they ran into three boys: Assef, Wali, and Kamal. Assef, a sociopathic bully with a well-earned reputation for savagery, threatened to beat up Amir for hanging around with a Hazara, but luckily, Assef did not get the chance to attempt any critical action. As Hassan held out his slingshot and pointed it directly at Assef, Assef and his buddies backed away, vowing revenge against Hassan.

The story skips on to winter, when the kite-running tournament takes place. Boys cover their kite strings in glass and battle to see who can sever the string of the opposing kite. When a kite is loosened and is on its way to the ground, boys chase and retrieve it, a process called kite running. When Amir wins the tournament, Hassan sets off to run the losing kite. Amir waits for Hassan, but later, he decides to look for him. Amir then finds Hassan trapped at the end of an alley, pinned with his pants down. Wali and Kamal hold him, and Assef takes advantage of the moment and rapes him. Amir runs away, and when Hassan appears with the kite, Amir pretends he does not know what happened. Afterwards, Amir and Hassan drift apart. Hassan’s and Amir’s uncommon bond is torn by Amir’s choice to abandon his friend amidst the underlying political and religious tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy. Amir, who is racked by guilt, decides either he or Hassan must leave. He stuffs money and a watch under Hassan’s pillow and tells Baba that Hassan stole it. When Baba confronts Hassan, Hassan admits to it, though he did not do it. Shortly after, Ali and Hassan move out and leave.

The story jumps to March 1981. Baba and Amir are in the back of a truck as they escape from Kabul at the time of the Soviet invasion. After a dreadful journey, they make it to Pakistan. Two years later, Baba and Amir live in Fremont, California. While Baba works at a gas station, Amir finishes high school and goes to college. On Sundays, Baba and Amir spend their time selling items at a flea market. One day, at the flea market, Baba meets up with an old friend, General Taheri. General Taheri greets Hassan and Amir and starts talking about the misery and the terrible fate of Afghanistan. As the conversation unfolds, Amir notices General Taheri’s daughter, Soraya. Amir experiences love at first sight. When Amir finally speaks to Soraya, General Taheri catches him and tells him there is a proper way to do things. Not long after, Baba is diagnosed with lung cancer. Amir feels terrible and cries heavily after hearing the news. Later, when Baba returns from the hospital, Amir asks him if he will get General Taheri’s consent to marry Soraya. As Baba hears Amir’s request, he immediately calls General Taheri, beseeching a meeting with him. In the end, General Taheri accepts the proposal. The two families hold the wedding quickly because of Baba’s health, but unfortunately, Baba dies a month later. Afterwards, Amir and Soraya try unsuccessfully to have a baby while Amir works on his writing career.

Weeks later, Amir gets a call from Rahim Khan, Baba’s former business partner. Rahim Khan is sick and wants Amir to see him in Pakistan. Amir meets him a week later, and Rahim Khan tells Amir about the devastation in Kabul. He says things only got worse after the Soviets were forced out. After the Soviet invasion wore out, the Taliban dominated Afghanistan. After so much discussion, Rahim Khan asks Amir a favour. However, Rahim first tells Amir of Hassan’s state of being. Rahim explains that when Baba and Amir left Afghanistan, he watched over their house. Out of loneliness and because Rahim was getting older, he decided to find Hassan. He convinced Hassan and Hassan’s wife, Farzana, to come back to Kabul with him. Farzana and Hassan eventually had a little boy, Sohrab. A few years later, Rahim Khan went to Pakistan for medical treatment, but he received a call from a neighbour in Kabul informing him that the Taliban went to Baba’s house, shot Hassan and Farzana and sent Sohrab to an orphanage. Finally, Rahim tells Amir that the true reason he called him to Pakistan was to go to Kabul to rescue Sohrab from the orphanage. Rahim asks Amir to bring Sohrab to John and Betty Caldwell, a couple who will take good care of him. Rahim then talks to Amir about his past and informs him that Hassan was his half-brother. After hearing Rahim Khan’s statement, Amir was determined to save Sohrab and atone for all his sins.

In Afghanistan, Amir finds the orphanage where Sohrab is supposed to be, but he figures out that Sohrab is not there. The orphanage director tells Amir that a Taliban official took Sohrab a month earlier. If Amir wants to find the official, he has to go to the soccer stadium and seek the man. Amir goes to the game, and at half-time, the Taliban put a man and a woman in holes in the ground and the official Amir is looking for, stones them to death. Through one of the Taliban guards, Amir sets up a meeting with the official.

When they meet, Amir tells the official he is looking for a boy and the official tells the guards to bring the boy in. Sohrab is wearing a blue silk outfit and mascara, making him appear more feminine and suggesting that the men sexually abuse him. The official says something Amir recognizes, and suddenly Amir realizes the official is Assef. Assef says he wants to settle some unfinished business with Amir. Immediately after, Assef beats Amir with his brass knuckles, breaking Amir’s ribs and splitting his lip. Sohrab threatens Assef with his slingshot, and when Assef lunges at him, Sohrab shoots him in the eye, allowing Amir and Sohrab to escape. As Amir recovers in the hospital, he finds out there never was a couple that could care for Sohrab. Amir asks Sohrab to live with him in the U.S., and Sohrab accepts.

The adoption officials tell Amir that adopting Sohrab will be impossible since he cannot prove that Sohrab’s parents are dead. After hearing the information, Amir tells Sohrab that he may have to go back to an orphanage. Amir and Soraya figure out a way to get Sohrab to the U.S., but before they can tell Sohrab, Sohrab tries to commit suicide. Luckily, Sohrab lives, but he stops speaking entirely. Even after they bring Sohrab to California, Sohrab remains withdrawn. One day, Amir, Soraya, and Sohrab go to a park with other Afghans. Amir sees people flying kites, eating and exchanging food. Soon after, Amir sees a kite seller, and he buys a kite for Sohrab. Amir gets Sohrab to fly it with him. As Amir looks into the sky, he spots another kite and battles it. Using one of Hassan’s favourite tricks, Amir wins the challenge. Sohrab smiles, and as the losing kite flies loose, Amir sets off to run it for Sohrab. Finally, the story ends with Amir saying, “For you a thousand times over.”

An Entry Done by Sara Ali


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