The Kite Runner - Chapters 22 - 23 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.
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Chapter 22

They arrive at the big house where the meeting is to be held and Amir says he doesn’t expect Farid to go inside with him. He immediately notices that Assef hasn’t changed clothes since the execution that day and that needle marks on his forearms identify him as a drug user. Assef begins to taunt Amir, asks why he left Afghanistan for America rather than staying to fight for his country. Assef calls in Sohrab is who wearing bells that jingle when he walks. He is forced to dance and he does so in something like a trance, apparently knowing he’ll be punished otherwise. Amir is amazed at the resemblance to Hassan. After Sohrab’s dance, Amir realizes the soldier holding him captive is Assef. Amir offers to pay for him but Assef refuses money. He says he’ll fight Amir with the winner taking Sohrab. Amir agrees. Assef tells the other soldiers to leave the room and that they aren’t to enter, no matter what they hear. He says if Amir walks out of the room with Sohrab, they are to allow him to leave unharmed.

Amir says, looking back on the fight, he’s certain he didn’t give Assef a good run because he’d never been in a fight before. While he’s being severely beaten, he suddenly feels cleansed of all the guilt and he begins to laugh. Sohrab intervenes, telling Assef to stop. He has a small brass ball taken from the base of a table in the slingshot aimed at Assef. Assef releases Amir and lunges for Sohrab, who fires, striking Assef in the left eye so hard that his eye is displaced and blood begins to run. Sohrab and Amir leave the room and the soldiers, remembering the orders, allow them to go. Farid is waiting outside.

Chapter 23

Amir wakes briefly in a hospital, then passes out again. He wakes several more times, each time with brief impressions. When he finally is coherent, he learns he had his spleen removed, his lung was punctured, and his jaw is wired shut. He learns that Farid has been taking care of Sohrab. He later discovers that the Caldwells don’t actually exist. Rhahim Khan has left a letter for Amir and disappeared. Two important aspects of the letter are that he has always known about Amir’s failure to help Hassan and that he has always known about Baba’s failure to claim Hassan as his biological son. Rahim Khan goes into details about both, saying Amir has always been too hard on himself for that mistake and that Baba treated Amir badly because he was never able to openly claim both his sons. The letter goes on to say that Rahim has left most of the money to Amir to help with expenses related to getting out of the country with Sohrab. The letter ends with a plea for Amir to forgive Rahim Khan, forgive his father, and forgive himself.

Amir continues to heal slowly and Farid says he isn’t sure how long Amir will be safe from the Taliban in this location. Amir and Sohrab begin spending more time together as Amir considers his options. Farid drives Amir and Sohrab when they leave the hospital and head to Islamabad. Amir sleeps most of the way but considers Rahim’s words, that “there is a way to be good again.”


On the way into the house for his meeting with Assef, Amir considers where he is and what he’s about to do. He knows that he might die in this attempt to rescue a boy who might already be dead. He considers that his actions in the next few minutes might leave Soraya a widow. He also considers that walking away might be the act of a coward, but Amir says that he’s never lied to himself about his weakness on this point. He also says that it’s not really cowardice if a person is merely acting a certain way for self-preservation. He refers to it as being “prudent.”

There’s a note of foreshadowing that’s rather interesting soon after Amir’s arrival in Assef’s office. He says he eats a grape without realizing it’s the last piece of solid food he’ll eat “for a long time.”

Assef tells the story of how he came to be a soldier. He says he was held captive with many others. All of them were periodically beaten. One day he was suffering with a kidney stone, and the beating he took dislodged the stone so that he was suddenly relieved of that pain. He says he began to laugh, which made his captors furious. He knew that God had kept him alive to perform “ethnic cleansing.” He says that’s why he killed so many, including Hassan.

Rahim Khan’s letter to Amir indicates that he does know that Hassan was raped while Amir stood by. He says Hassan told him the story. Rahim Khan goes on to say something that Amir has not been able to understand or accept in all these years. He says Amir himself was just a “troubled little boy” and that his decision wasn’t right, but it was also the decision of a child. Rahim Khan says Amir has always been too hard on himself for that mistake. He points out that if Amir were truly a bad person he would never have suffered over that decision. Rahim then goes into some detail about Baba’s lies regarding Hassan’s parentage. He says that Baba also suffered over that situation and that he denied himself a close relationship with Amir as punishment for having fathered Hassan and not claiming him. The result of that remorse on Baba’s part, according to Rahim, is that Baba helped everyone he encountered. His guilt over Hassan probably prompted him to build the orphanage, lend money to anyone in need, and feed the hungry and the poor. Baba was lauded for these things at his funeral, but Rahim realizes that Baba did most of it not because he was a good man, but because he was trying to make amends for his own failures. Again, a man without a conscience wouldn’t have cared.

Discussion Question 1

Why do you believe Assef fights Amir? Why does Amir agree to fight?

Discussion Question 2

Why does Rahim Khan leave a letter urging Amir to forgive Rahim Khan, Baba, and himself? What does Amir have to forgive in each?

Discussion Question 3

Why does Baba deny himself a close relationship with Hassan? Who suffered for Baba's lies?


Sallow, morbidly, epiphany, bourgeoisie, flogging, massacring, ethnic, impunity, yearned, snippets.

This section contains 1,130 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
The Kite Runner from BookRags. (c)2017 BookRags, Inc. All rights reserved.
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