Study Guide for The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini Book Summary

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(Riverhead Books, The Berkley Publishing Group, New York, New York, 2003)

1.) “I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.” (pg. 1)

Amir tells us this as he opens his story and prepares us for the time he betrayed his best friend Hassan in an alley in Kabul.

2.) “There is a way to be good again.” (pg. 2)

Rahim Khan said this to Amir to encourage him to help Hassan’s son escape Afghanistan.

3.) “There was brotherhood between people who had fed from the same breast, a kinship that not even time could not break.” (pg. 11)

Ali would remind both Hassan and Amir of this so they would always remember to forge their friendship.

4.) ”And he got to decide what was black and what was white. You can’t love a person who lives that way without fearing him too. Maybe even hating him a little.” (pg 15)

This is Amir’s assessment of his father.

5.) There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft . . . When you kill a man you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal the right to fairness . . . ” (pgs. 17-18)

Baba teaches Amir this, but he himself commits this sin when he keeps the knowledge that Hassan is his son from Amir.

6.) “A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything.” (pg. 22)

Baba makes this observation when he talks about Amir who he fears will grow up a coward.

7.) “History isn’t easy to overcome. Neither is religion. In the end, I was Pashtun and he was Hazara. I was Sunni and he was Shi’a and nothing was ever going to change that. Nothing.” (pg. 25)

This Amir’s assessment of how far apart he and Hassan were, even though they were best friends, because of the social traditions of Afghanistan.

8.) “For you, a thousand times over!” (pg. 67)

Hassan yelled this to Amir as he ran to find the final kite Amir had defeated. They are words that Amir can never forget.

9.) “It was a look I had seen before. It was the look of the lamb.” (pg. 76)

Here Amir describes the look on Hassan’s face as Assef and two others rape him. The look reminds Amir of a sacrifical lamb.

10.) “I envied her. Her secret was out. Spoken. Dealt with.” (pg 165)

Amir makes this comment to the reader after Soraya tells him the whole story of how she ran away with a man and shamed her family. He wishes he could tell what secrets he carries around, too.

11.) “Baba had wrestled bears his whole life . . . In the end, a bear had come that he couldn’t best. But even then, he had lost on his own terms.” (pg 174)

Baba has died and Amir sums up his life with these words.

12.) “Amir and Hassan, The Sultans of Kabul” (pg. 264)

Amir finds these words he and Hassan had carved in the pomegranate tree so many years before, and he is reminded of the friend and the brother he has lost.

13.) “You don’t know the meaning of the word ‘liberating’ until you’ve done that, stood in a roomful of targets, let the bullets fly, free of guilt and remorse, knowing you are virtuous, good, and decent. Knowing you’re doing God’s work. It’s breath taking.” (pg. 277)

These chilling words were spoken by Assef who in his insanity believes destroying the Hazaras is God’s work.

14.) “. . . for the first time since the winter of 1975, I felt at peace. I laughed because I saw that, in some hidden nook in the corner of my mind, I’d even been looking forward to this.” (pg. 289)

Amir is being beaten to death by Assef, but he finally feels at peace, because somehow he has always believed he deserved it for what he had done to Hassan.

15.) “Your father, like you, was a tortured soul, Amir jan.” (pg 301)

Rahim Khan wrote these words to Amir to help him understand why he and his father had never had a close relationship.

16.) “I looked down at Sohrab. One corner of his mouth had curled up just so. A smile. Lopsided. Hardly there. But there.” (pg. 170-171)

Amir leaves the reader with these words and the knowledge that Sohrab is coming out of his silence and returning to life.

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