The Kite Runner Study Guide

The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner is the story of Amir and Hassan, two boys in pre-Soviet Afghanistan. Amir is the son of a wealthy merchant, Hassan a servant. The two have an uneven friendship. Hassan is secretly Amir's half-brother, a product of his father's indiscretion with a servant. The two grow apart during the war and the subsequent rise of the Taliban and Amir journeys to America where his father passes away. He returns to Afghanistan to claim Hassan's son in the wake of Hassan's death at the hands of the Taliban.

Amir goes in alone to see the official, who lives in a palatial home. He is verbally abused and threatened by the official, who instructs guards to bring Sohrab to the room. He looks just like Hassan. Sohrab is dressed almost like a court jester, wearing make-up, and forced to dance whenever music is played.

The official asks Amir where“babalu” is, in reference to Ali. He removes his glasses, and Amir realizes the official is actually Assef. Assef says he can have Sohrab, but first he has to earn him. Assef tells his guards not to come in the room, no matter what they hear. He and Amir have unsettled business. Only one of themwill come out alive. If it is Amir, then the guards will have to let Amir and Sohrab go.

Assef beats Amir badly, breaking his nose and teeth. Amir starts laughing. He believes it is funny how just now that he is being beaten up he finally feels comfort. His laughing angers Assef more.

The fight ends when Sohrab points his slingshot at Assef, who lunges at Sohrab. Sohrab’s shot takes out Assef’s eye. This fulfilles the taunt of Hassan of calling him a "One Eyed Assef". Sohrab helps Amir out of the house. Farid drives them away.

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