The Kite Runner

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Sohrab Character Analysis

Hassan’s son, a boy who is sent to an orphanage when Hassan and Farzana are killed. He is then taken from the orphanage and sexually abused by Assef, until Amir comes for him and brings him back to America. Sohrab is a symbol of all the terrible things that have happened to both the characters and the country of Afghanistan, but he also offers a chance for hope and redemption.

Sohrab Quotes in The Kite Runner

The The Kite Runner quotes below are all either spoken by Sohrab or refer to Sohrab. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Betrayal Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Riverhead Books edition of The Kite Runner published in 2013.
Chapter 25 Quotes

“Sohrab, I can’t give you your old life back, I wish to God I could. But I can take you with me. That was what I was coming in the bathroom to tell you. You have a visa to go to America, to live with me and my wife. It’s true. I promise.”

Related Characters: Amir (speaker), Sohrab
Page Number: 355
Explanation and Analysis:

Amir has rescued Sohrab and offered to adopt him and take him back to America, but then Amir faced a major setback and told Sohrab this might be impossible. Sohrab then tried to kill himself, and Amir found him in a bloody bathtub. Sohrab survived, and is now healing up, but he seems to have lost whatever spark of hope he had in him, and soon he stops speaking altogether. Here Amir reaffirms his promise that he will take Sohrab with him to America—even if Sohrab himself seems to have no opinion on the matter. Amir has come to see Sohrab as a son-figure, and also as a way for him to somehow redeem himself or bring good out of his past sins and betrayals. He did not help Hassan when he was raped, but now Amir can help Hassan's son, and he works with a passion that would not have been there had not Amir felt so guilty and driven to redeem himself.

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If someone were to ask me today whether the story of Hassan, Sohrab, and me ends with happiness, I wouldn’t know what to say.

Does anybody’s?

Related Characters: Amir (speaker), Hassan, Sohrab
Page Number: 357
Explanation and Analysis:

Hosseini starts drawing the book to a close, and Amir, who has been looking back and reflecting on his past, now catches up to his present in the narrative—he is back in the U.S., and Sohrab is living with him and Soraya. There is no neat conclusion here, and Amir's and Sohrab's future is uncertain. Sohrab still won't speak, and seems traumatized beyond repair, but as Amir has learned, there is always a possibility of redemption and turning bad into good. Hassan's part in the narrative has ended, as he was killed by the Taliban, but he seems to live on in his son, and Amir continues to live out his own relationship with Hassan and cycle of betrayal/redemption through taking care of Sohrab.

“Do you want me to run that kite for you?”
His Adam’s apple rose and fell as he swallowed… I thought I saw him nod.
“For you, a thousand times over,” I heard myself say.
Then I turned and ran.
It was only a smile, nothing more… A tiny thing… But I’ll take it. With open arms. Because when spring comes, it melts the snow one flake at a time, and maybe I just witnessed the first flake melting.

Related Characters: Amir (speaker), Sohrab
Related Symbols: Kites
Page Number: 371
Explanation and Analysis:

This poignant passage closes the book on a note of uncertainty, but also of hope. Kites return as the novel's most important symbol, here representing Amir's happy past and old friendship with Hassan, and also the potential of future happiness with Sohrab, Hassan's son. Sohrab is still traumatized and won't speak, but here he shows the first signs of healing—a small smile as he flies a kite with Amir, his new father-figure.

This passage also has a dramatic symmetry to it, as Amir repeats the words Hassan spoke to him years before, just before the rape that changed both their lives: "For you, a thousand times over." Hassan had been the "kite runner" of the novel's title, but now Amir is the one saying these words and running a kite—not for Hassan, but for Hassan's son. This suggests that Amir has finally found a kind of redemption through his actions, and he can relive his past and memories without the pain and guilt he once felt. It's also implied that in becoming the new "kite runner," Amir more fully assumes the good qualities that once existed in Hassan, and thus Amir becomes closer to his lost half-brother. The past is always repeating itself in the present, but now that his past pain has been partially healed, Amir no longer has to flee his memories of flying kites with Hassan—he can embrace them, while also looking forward to the potential of a better future with Sohrab.

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Sohrab Character Timeline in The Kite Runner

The timeline below shows where the character Sohrab appears in The Kite Runner. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 16
Betrayal Theme Icon
Redemption Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
...health, and the two became close. Sanaubar delivered Farzana’s baby, a boy that they named Sohrab after the character from “Rostam and Sohrab,” the story Hassan and Amir loved as children.... (full context)
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Violence and Rape Theme Icon
Politics and Society Theme Icon
...and Kabul was ruled by rival Afghan groups that were constantly at war. Hassan taught Sohrab to read and write, so that he would not grow up illiterate like his father.... (full context)
Chapter 17
Betrayal Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
...a letter and a picture of Hassan as a grown man, standing with his son Sohrab. They are both smiling as if the world were a kinder place than it is. (full context)
Redemption Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Politics and Society Theme Icon
Hassan describes his son Sohrab, and how much he loves him. They still walk up to the cemetery on the... (full context)
Redemption Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Politics and Society Theme Icon
...with grief. Rahim Khan continues – the Taliban moved into Baba’s house, and they sent Sohrab to an orphanage. Rahim Khan then says that this was the other reason he wanted... (full context)
Chapter 18
Betrayal Theme Icon
Redemption Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
...thinks of the phrase “a way to be good again,” and hopes that perhaps with Sohrab there is a way to end the cycle of betrayals and lies. (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
Redemption Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
...Rahim Khan praying, and he tells him that he will go to Kabul and find Sohrab. (full context)
Chapter 19
Redemption Theme Icon
...should not have assumed Amir’s reason for returning. He says he will help Amir find Sohrab. (full context)
Chapter 20
Violence and Rape Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Amir and Farid find the new orphanage (which replaced Baba’s, which was destroyed) where Sohrab is supposed to be. The director, Zaman, is very wary of their questions and at... (full context)
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Violence and Rape Theme Icon
Politics and Society Theme Icon
Zaman takes Amir and Farid to his office and says he has bad news – Sohrab is no longer there, and it may be too late for him. He is hesitant... (full context)
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Violence and Rape Theme Icon
Politics and Society Theme Icon
Zaman gets up, choking, and says that the official took Sohrab a month ago. Zaman explains that he has no power against the Taliban, and the... (full context)
Chapter 22
Betrayal Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Violence and Rape Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Politics and Society Theme Icon
The official asks Amir about America, but Amir only says that he is looking for Sohrab. The official says that many think that abandoning Afghanistan for America is as good as... (full context)
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Violence and Rape Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
The guards turn on music and make Sohrab dance, and then the official takes Sohrab in his arms and orders the guards to... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
Redemption Theme Icon
Violence and Rape Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Politics and Society Theme Icon
...is called ethnic cleansing, and Assef seems to enjoy the term. Amir again asks for Sohrab, but he won’t tell Assef what he plans to do with him. Finally Assef shoves... (full context)
Redemption Theme Icon
Violence and Rape Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
...that if Amir leaves the room alive they are to let him pass. He wants Sohrab to stay and watch, however. Then Assef puts on his old brass knuckles. After that... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
Redemption Theme Icon
Violence and Rape Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
...of swallowing teeth and blood, Assef throwing him against a wall and striking him, and Sohrab screaming. Then Amir starts laughing, as he suddenly feels at peace for the first time... (full context)
Redemption Theme Icon
Violence and Rape Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Sohrab cries and asks Assef to stop hurting Amir, and Assef warns him to put down... (full context)
Chapter 23
Violence and Rape Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Farid and Sohrab visit Amir the next day, and Amir thanks them and properly introduces himself to Sohrab,... (full context)
Redemption Theme Icon
Politics and Society Theme Icon
...at himself in the mirror, and sees all the damage to his face. Farid and Sohrab arrive, and Farid says they should leave Peshawar soon, as the Taliban have friends there.... (full context)
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Amir spends the rest of the day playing a card game, panjpar, with Sohrab, who still rarely speaks. Amir asks what Hassan had said about him, and Sohrab says... (full context)
Redemption Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Politics and Society Theme Icon
For the next two days, Sohrab and Amir play panjpar in silence. The next day Amir decides that he must leave,... (full context)
Chapter 24
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Politics and Society Theme Icon
Amir, Farid, and Sohrab arrive in Islamabad, and Amir is impressed with its size and cleanliness – to him... (full context)
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Violence and Rape Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Amir takes a pain pill and falls asleep, and when he wakes up Sohrab is gone. The hotel manager is unhelpful, and implies that Amir is a bad father.... (full context)
Redemption Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Violence and Rape Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Sohrab starts crying softly and asks if he will go to hell for what he did... (full context)
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Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Politics and Society Theme Icon
For a week afterward, neither Amir nor Sohrab mentions America, but one day they are playing cards and Sohrab asks about San Francisco.... (full context)
Redemption Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Later that day Sohrab asks about San Francisco again, and Amir describes the fog. Sohrab worries that Amir or... (full context)
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Politics and Society Theme Icon
The next day Amir goes with Sohrab to the American embassy. They meet with a man named Raymond Andrews, who listens to... (full context)
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Politics and Society Theme Icon
...asks if Andrews has any children, and Andrews says no. Amir then leaves angrily with Sohrab, and on the way out he comments about Andrews’ rudeness to his secretary. She explains... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Violence and Rape Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Politics and Society Theme Icon
They return to the hotel and Sohrab takes a long bath. Amir wonders when he will begin to feel cleaned of the... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
That night, Amir tells Sohrab that he thinks he will be able to come to America, but first he might... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
Redemption Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Violence and Rape Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Politics and Society Theme Icon
When Amir wakes up, Sohrab is in the bath, and Soraya calls. She says that her family contact can get... (full context)
Chapter 25
Betrayal Theme Icon
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Violence and Rape Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Sohrab is taken to the emergency room, and Amir is not allowed to go in with... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
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Fathers and Children Theme Icon
...neglect and betrayal, and he promises to pray every day if only God will save Sohrab’s life. (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
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Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Violence and Rape Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
After a while Amir falls asleep on the floor, and he dreams of Sohrab in the bloody bathtub and the razor he used to cut himself, the same razor... (full context)
Violence and Rape Theme Icon
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Several days pass with Amir sleeping on a hospital couch and Sohrab sleeping with a ventilator. Eventually Amir returns to his hotel to get some rest, but... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
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Violence and Rape Theme Icon
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Amir reads from the story of “Rostam and Sohrab,” but Sohrab shakes his head when Amir asks if he should continue. Finally Sohrab speaks,... (full context)
Redemption Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Eventually Amir takes Sohrab’s silence as an acceptance, and a week later they arrive in America. Amir remembers a... (full context)
Redemption Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Amir returns to the narrative, as he and Sohrab arrive in San Francisco in August of 2001. Soraya picks them up at the airport,... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
Redemption Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
That night Amir finds the photo of Hassan under Sohrab’s pillow. Looking at Hassan’s face, Amir realizes how Baba was torn between his two sons,... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
Redemption Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Politics and Society Theme Icon
...Amir tells the General about Kabul and the Taliban. General Taheri skirts the subject of Sohrab at first, but then asks Amir why there is a Hazara boy living with him... (full context)
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Amir describes the nature of Sohrab’s silence – it is not just quietness, but as if he had shut himself down... (full context)
Redemption Theme Icon
Politics and Society Theme Icon
Feeling helpless in the face of Sohrab’s silence and the new war in Afghanistan, Amir and Soraya get jobs with a hospital... (full context)
Redemption Theme Icon
Politics and Society Theme Icon
...“small miracle” that takes place on a rainy day in March of 2002. He takes Sohrab, Soraya, and Jamila to a park where a group of Afghans are celebrating the Afghan... (full context)
Redemption Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
...finds an Afghan kite seller and buys a kite, and he takes it over to Sohrab. Amir checks the string and talks to Sohrab about Hassan, and his skill at kite-flying... (full context)
Redemption Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Amir offers again, and Sohrab hesitantly takes the kite string. Amir wishes time would stand still. Then a green kite... (full context)
Redemption Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Behind them people cheer for their victory, and the tiniest smile appears on Sohrab’s face. Amir knows it is only a little thing, but it is perhaps a sign... (full context)