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The Kite Runner - Study Guide Chapters 12 and 13 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 878 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)

Summary

Chapter 12

Amir lives for the Sundays at the flea market, but he has trouble working up the nerve to actually talk to Soraya. Baba warns Amir to be careful not to harm Soraya’s honor or that of her father. Amir soon learns that Soraya wants to be a teacher though her father wishes for her to have a more lucrative career.

Baba becomes ill, and a doctor discovers a spot on his lung that is later diagnosed as Oat Cell Carcinoma. The cancer is advanced and inoperable. Baba insists that no one learn of his illness. One day he collapses at the flea market with a seizure and is hospitalized. Two days later, he’s released from the hospital. It’s obvious that he has only a little time left. Amir asks Baba to speak to Soraya’s father, asking for permission for them to marry.

Soraya telephones Amir that evening. She says her father has given his permission, but she needs to tell him something first. She and a young man had lived together for a short while. She fears that this fact will mean Amir won’t want to marry her after all. Though he’s hurt by the fact that she has already been to bed with another man, he knows that he can’t hold her past against her. He says he wants to marry her anyway.

Chapter 13

The traditions related to the upcoming marriage continue. The ceremonies would normally have lasted several months, but everyone can see that Baba isn’t likely to live that long. So, the event is hastened. Soraya becomes Baba’s chief caregiver, and he is almost completely bedridden in their apartment. One day Amir arrives home to find the two of them looking guilty as Soraya tries to hide something. He discovers it’s the journal given to him by Rahim Khan. Soraya says she hadn’t realized the depth of his talent. Baba says he “put her up to it.” That night, Baba says he is in no pain for the first time in a long time. He declines the pain medication and dies that night.

Amir begins to learn about his in-laws. The General is a tyrant who rules with anger. Khala Jamila – Soraya’s mother – is kind and gentle with a beautiful singing voice, though the General refuses to allow her sing in public. Amir and Soraya move to a one-bedroom apartment near her parents. They stop going to the flea market and focus on their studies. Amir spends more time writing and sells a book.

They try to have a child. after a year, a doctor tells them Soraya will never be able to conceive. They discuss adoption, but Amir can tell Soraya’s heart isn’t in it and drops the idea. They use the money from Amir’s second book to put a down payment on a house. Their lives settle into a routine, but Amir can feel the absence of a child in their lives. He compares it to a presence “settling between us … like a newborn child.”

Analysis

Interestingly, when Soraya confides her past to Amir he doesn’t reciprocate with the secret that has eaten at him for more than a decade. He says he can’t possibly chastise her for her past when his own is far from clean. He does say that she’s very brave for confiding in him and that, in his mind, makes her a better person than he.

At Baba’s funeral, many of the mourners share their memories of Baba. They talk about the things he did for them. Some of them mention money he gave them or loaned to them. Others talk about Baba’s willingness to help when no one else was willing. With this in mind, the reader may find a little more sympathy for Baba’s situation the last few years of his life. He’d been a wealthy man in Afghanistan, well-respected, and beloved. In America, he became a poor man who worked at a gas station just to get by. However, he retained his pride. Amir notes that they were eligible for government assistance when they arrived. However, Baba had refused, saying all he wanted was a job so he could earn his way. As a contrast, the General never worked except for making the small amount of money he could from the flea market. Other than that, he depended on government assistance because he wasn’t willing to lower himself to work at some menial job so much below his station in Afghanistan.

Amir notes that his mother-in-law loves him completely and unconditionally. This is likely because Soraya had become blemished in the eyes of the community and her mother had come to doubt Soraya would ever marry. The fact that Amir looks past Soraya’s indiscretion makes him a hero in the eyes of his mother-in-law.

Discussion Question 1

Why do Soraya and Amir marry more quickly than would be traditionally acceptable. What are their living conditions during their first few months of marriage?

Discussion Question 2

Describe Soraya's parents.

Discussion Question 3

What do the mourners say about Baba at his funeral?

Vocabulary

Reticence, furtive, demeanor, complimentary, metastasized, conversant, reverberated, posh, ambivalent.

This section contains 878 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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