The Kite Runner

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The Kite Runner Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The next morning Amir opens his birthday presents, but none of them give him any pleasure and he tosses them aside. Baba gives him a new bike and a nice watch. The only gift Amir doesn’t immediately discard is Rahim Khan’s notebook. Amir sits on his bed and thinks about what Rahim Khan said about his Hazara lover, and how it was better in the end that she was dismissed. He decides that either he or Hassan must leave the household.
Instead of working to redeem himself or make things right with Hassan, Amir continues to try to escape his feelings of guilt by avoiding Hassan. But he cannot avoid him forever as long as Hassan lives in the same household, so Amir decides to make him leave. Amir continues to not get any pleasure out of his gifts and Baba’s approval.
Themes
Betrayal Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
As Amir is leaving on his new bike, Ali stops him and gives him a present from him and Hassan – a glossy new book of old Persian stories (including “Rostam and Sohrab”) called the Shahnamah. Amir feels unworthy of the book, but he thanks Ali and rides guiltily on.
Hassan and Ali again prove themselves as loyal and selfless, contrasting sharply with Amir. Even the joy of reading and poetry has been corrupted by his betrayal.
Themes
Betrayal Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
The next morning Amir waits for Ali and Hassan to go out grocery shopping, and then he hides some of his birthday money and his watch from Baba under Hassan’s mattress. Then he knocks on Baba’s door and tells him that Hassan stole the watch and money. When Ali and Hassan return, Baba confronts Ali, who goes back to speak with Hassan. Then Baba decides to sit down all together and settle the matter.
Amir’s first betrayal involved a lack of action – doing nothing as Hassan was raped – but in this betrayal he goes out of his way, actively framing Hassan for thievery and lying to Baba. As Baba considers theft the greatest sin, Amir is sure that this will make Baba send Hassan away and Amir will have some peace.
Themes
Betrayal Theme Icon
The four gather in the study, and Baba asks Hassan directly if he stole the watch and money. To Amir’s surprise, Hassan says that he did. At that moment Amir understands that Hassan saw him in the alley, and he realizes that Hassan is making one last sacrifice for him now, despite his great betrayal. Amir feels the full horror of his guilt then, and again he feels like the monster in the lake.
Far from easing his conscience, Amir’s actions only heighten his guilt when he realizes Hassan knows all his sins and continues to sacrifice himself for Amir. Hassan again proves he is the better person, which makes Amir feel even worse about himself – like he is a monster.
Themes
Betrayal Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
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Baba forgives Ali and Hassan, which also surprises Amir – as Baba had considered theft the worst of sins – but Ali insists that they must leave. Baba begs him to stay, but Ali refuses and draws Hassan close, as if protecting him. Amir knows that it is he Hassan must be protected from. Baba cries for the first time that Amir has ever witnessed, and even Ali’s paralyzed face twitches in pain, and then Amir understands the enormity of the suffering he has caused. Ali says that he will go live with his cousin in Hazarajat. He will not let Baba drive him all the way there, but only to the bus station.
Baba shows how close he really is to Ali, and Amir starts to understand the years of shared history he is now destroying between the two men. Like Rahim Khan’s father, the privileged Amir sends the Hazaras away instead of himself doing something about his unhappiness. Ali and Hassan will go to Hazarajat, which is a poor region of Afghanistan that is mostly populated by Hazaras.
Themes
Betrayal Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Politics and Society Theme Icon
It hardly ever rains in the summer in Kabul, but it rains the day Ali and Hassan leave. Amir watches from inside his bedroom as Baba tries one last time to convince them to stay. Then they drive away and Amir realizes that the life he has known is now over.
This ends Amir’s memories of his time in Kabul, as they are inextricably linked with Hassan and his own betrayal.
Themes
Betrayal Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon