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The Kite Runner - Chapters 8 and 9 Summary & Analysis

Khaled Hosseini
This Study Guide consists of approximately 41 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Kite Runner.
This section contains 1,095 words
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Summary

Chapter 8

Hassan and Amir barely see each other for the next week. One day Ali asks Amir why Hassan is acting strangely. Amir says he doesn’t know. A few days later, Amir goes on an outing with Baba and a group of friends and relatives. Amir says he finally has Baba’s attention but now he simply feels empty. Amir and Hassan stop spending time playing together and Amir rebuffs Hassan’s attempts. One day Amir and Baba are planting tulips in the garden and Amir asks if Baba had ever considered hiring someone else as the household servants. Baba is furious, citing his forty-year relationship with Ali. He says he’s ashamed of Amir’s comments and that Hassan is not leaving.

School starts and Amir spends a great deal of time in his room. One day Amir asks Hassan to accompany him to their favorite reading spot. Amir is about to read, then stops and throws a pomegranate at Hassan. It strikes him and splatters. Amir screams at Hassan to hit him back, but Hassan refuses.

Baba throws an elaborate birthday party for Amir when he turns thirteen. Amir notes that his relationship with his father is already regressing with distance between them again. While the party is for Amir’s birthday, he knows that his father is the star of the show and the reason most of the people show up. Assef shows up with a book about Hitler as his gift to Amir. Amir is standing alone away from the party when Rahim Khan seeks him out. He presents Amir with a journal for his stories. Rahim says he’d almost married a girl once but she was a servant and his parents would never have accepted her. He reminds Amir that he’s open to anything Amir wants to talk about and Amir almost tells him about Hassan’s attack and his own reaction to it, but the moment passes as fireworks begin. During one blast that lights up the yard, Amir sees Hassan serving drinks to Assef and his friend.

Chapter 9

Baba's two gifts are a red bicycle that would have been welcomed a few months earlier and a fancy wristwatch. The only gift Amir treasures is the journal from Rahim Khan. Amir becomes convinced that things would be better for Hassan if he were not in the house so that he would be far removed from Assef. But Amir also admits his life will be better without Hassan’s presence. The next day Amir hides some money and the watch under Hassan’s mattress. He tells his father that the watch is missing and hints that Hassan might have taken it. Baba summons Hassan, Amir, and Ali to his office. Hassan admits to stealing the watch and Amir realizes this is Hassan’s way of protecting Amir one final time. Baba says he forgives Hassan but Ali says life is no longer tolerable for them and that they are leaving. Baba rants but Ali stands firm in the decision and they leave the following day for Ali’s cousin’s house in Hazarajat.

Analysis

The incident with the pomegranates is an effort on Amir’s part to find forgiveness. He says he wishes Hassan would hit him back, even hurt him. Amir is hoping that if he is punished for his inaction the day of Hassan’s rape, he might be about to find some semblance of peace and rekindle his relationship with Hassan. For all the insistence that Hassan is not his friend, Amir is now seeking the forgiveness one would seek from a friend.

Hassan’s station in life creates a chasm between the two that cannot be easily bridged though Amir has the power to make that gulf less formidable. Amir doesn’t make that effort and seems puzzled that Hassan doesn’t either. One day when the boys are talking, Amir promises he’ll someday be so rich that he can afford to buy two televisions – one for himself and one for Hassan. Hassan pledges that he’ll put his in the little hut where he and Ali live. This surprises Amir because he can’t imagine that Hassan would be happy to spend his life there with no hope of making a change. Another example of this attitude is seen when Amir sees Hassan serving the guests at the birthday party. Hassan is serving Assef and one of Assef’s friends though it seems too much to expect of him.

Assef is obviously unhinged even at this young age. When he and his parents show up at Amir’s birthday party, Assef does all the talking though it would have been normal for the parents to speak and Assef to only politely answer when directly addressed. Amir notes that it seems as if Assef’s parents might actually be afraid of their son. The gift – a book about Hitler – is a foreshadowing of what’s to come for Assef when he becomes a soldier himself.

Amir is hurting with the knowledge that he watched the attack on Hassan and did nothing, but he is unable to confess the situation to any of the adults in his life. Rahim Khan seems an obvious choice considering that Baba would never have been able to understand. Amir feels that it is his fault. Yet, some of the situation is beyond his control. After all, he is just a little boy. Some of the blame can be traced back to Baba who has been willing to let his son work as a servant in his household for all these years and is now willing to let him leave rather than confess the truth and take responsibility.

Ali and Hassan have obviously been crying when they enter Baba’s study to discuss the missing watch. Amir realizes that Hassan has told Ali the entire story – his attack, Amir’s inaction, and that Amir wants him to leave the household at all costs. Amir says he’s glad that someone else finally sees him for what he really is. He seems to still be seeking punishment for his decision and is unable to forgive himself without that.

Discussion Question 1

What kind of person is Assef? What does Amir observe about Assef's relationship with his parents?

Discussion Question 2

Describe Amir's party.

Discussion Question 3

Why does Amir hit Hassan with a pomegranate? What does he wish Hassan would do in return?

Vocabulary

Periphery, unwavering, envious, muster, momentum, harried, anonymity, interlude, teeming, trudged, unconvincingly, feeble, throng, amid, rickety.

This section contains 1,095 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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