Study Guide for The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini Book Summary|
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The trips to the flea market continue in spite of Babaís cancer. Amir sees the general and his wife several times, but he seems more reluctant to spend time speaking to Amir. His wife tries to silently apologize when her husband isnít looking. It becomes a time of firsts: the first time Amir can hear his father moan aloud from the bathroom, the first time he finds blood on his pillow, the first time he calls in sick from work. His friends at the market notice his weight loss and his fatigue, but they are too respectful to comment that he might be seriously ill. One Sunday, Baba has a seizure right there on the ground of the market. Amir comforts him with soft words assuring him that his son is there with him.
At the hospital, they discover that the cancer has metastasized to Babaís brain and thatís what caused the seizure. Amir stays with him at the hospital all night. The next morning the waiting room down the hall is filled with Afghans who file into his room and quietly offer their respects to this man for whom they care so much. Even the general, his wife and Soraya come to wish him well. Amir thinks about how his father had once told him that in spite of their hardheadedness and pride, there is no one youíd want by your side more than an Afghan. Amir is moved to tears and must leave the room when the general comes. Out in the hallway, Soraya comes to comfort him and he tells her that her gesture means the world to him.
Two days later, Baba is discharged from the hospital still refusing all radiation or chemotherapy. After Amir sees to his fatherís comfort, he asks him if he will do something for him: ask General Taheri for his daughterís hand in marriage. Baba smiles and immediately telephones the general and asks his permission to visit about an honorable matter. The general agrees and the two men - father and son - laugh together over this new turn of events. The next day, Amir helps his father dress for this important occasion, noting how large Babaís good suit now appears. The empty space between Babaís neck and his collar makes Amir think of all the empty spaces his father will leave behind when he is gone.
When Baba returns home, he tells Amir that the general accepted. However, Soraya wants to talk with Amir herself. In their conversation, Soraya tells Amir the truth about all the gossip - she had run away with a young man who was into drugs. She lived with him for a month, because she was rebellious and stupid. Her father eventually found her and made her come home. When she returned, she saw her mother had had a stroke which paralyzed one side of her face. Hr guilt overwhelmed her and she saw the error of her ways. Amir tells her that the story bothers him a little, but he knows that he of all people cannot chastise someone else for what they did in the past. It doesnít bother him enough to make him change his mind. She breaks into tears of happiness and while Amir is happy, too, he canít help but envy her, because her secret is out and dealt with. She is a better person than him, he thinks, because she has courage.
This chapter presents two very poignant situations: Amirís courtship of Soraya and his fatherís courtship with death. At the same time he is losing his beloved Baba, he is gaining a woman that he suspects is so much better than he will ever be. The way life is once again pulling at him is ironic. He deals with life in death and death in life. It fulfills the way of things that when one generation passes on, another grows up to take its place.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on The Kite Runner".
. 09 May 2017