The Kite Runner

Baba Character Analysis

Amir’s father, a larger-than-life figure with wild hair and a loud voice, who works hard and succeeds at all of his endeavors, but stands by his strict moral principles. Baba’s great sin is committing adultery with Ali’s wife, and he is Hassan’s real father. Baba’s many works of charity and the orphanage he builds are part of his attempts to redeem himself.

Baba Quotes in The Kite Runner

The The Kite Runner quotes below are all either spoken by Baba or refer to Baba. 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 3 Quotes

Because the truth of it was, I always felt like Baba hated me a little. And why not? After all, I had killed his beloved wife, his beautiful princess, hadn’t I? The least I could have done was to have had the decency to have turned out a little more like him. But I hadn’t turned out like him.

Related Characters: Amir (speaker), Baba, Sofia Akrami
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:

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“And where is he headed?” Baba said. “A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything.”

Related Characters: Baba (speaker), Amir
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 6 Quotes

I was going to win, and I was going to run that last kite. Then I’d bring it home and show it to Baba. Show him once and for all that his son was worthy.

Related Characters: Amir (speaker), Baba
Related Symbols: Kites
Page Number: 56
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 7 Quotes

In the end, I ran.

I ran because I was a coward. I was afraid of Assef and what he would do to me… I actually aspired to cowardice, because the alternative, the real reason I was running, was that Assef was right: Nothing was free in this world. Maybe Hassan was the price I had to pay, the lamb I had to slay, to win Baba. Was it a fair price? The answer floated to my conscious mind before I could thwart it: He was just a Hazara, wasn’t he?

Related Characters: Amir (speaker), Baba, Hassan, Assef
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 12 Quotes

I envied her. Her secret was out. Spoken. Dealt with. I opened my mouth and almost told her how I’d betrayed Hassan, lied, driven him out, and destroyed a forty-year relationship between Baba and Ali. But I didn’t.

Related Characters: Amir (speaker), Baba, Hassan, Ali, Soraya
Page Number: 165
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 13 Quotes

Listening to them, I realized how much of who I was, what I was, had been defined by Baba and the marks he had left on people’s lives… Now he was gone. Baba couldn’t show me the way anymore; I’d have to find it on my own.

Related Characters: Amir (speaker), Baba
Page Number: 174
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 17 Quotes

“You know, Rahim Khan said, “one time, when you weren’t around, your father and I were talking… I remember he said to me, ‘Rahim, a boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything.’ I wonder, is that what you’ve become?”

Related Characters: Rahim Khan (speaker), Amir, Baba
Page Number: 221
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 18 Quotes

As it turned out, Baba and I were more alike than I’d ever known. We had both betrayed the people who would have given their lives for us. And with that came this realization: that Rahim Khan had summoned me here to atone not just for my sins but for Baba’s too.

Related Characters: Amir (speaker), Amir, Baba, Hassan, Rahim Khan
Page Number: 226
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 23 Quotes

I loved him because he was my friend, but also because he was a good man, maybe even a great man. And this is what I want you to understand, that good, real good, was born out of your father’s remorse. Sometimes, I think everything he did, feeding the poor on the streets, building the orphanage, giving money to friends in need, it was all his way of redeeming himself. And that, I believe, is what true redemption is, Amir jan, when guilt leads to good.

Related Characters: Rahim Khan (speaker), Baba
Page Number: 302
Explanation and Analysis:

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Your father, like you, was a tortured soul, Rahim Khan had written. Maybe so. We had both sinned and betrayed. But Baba had found a way to create good out of his remorse. What had I done, other than take my guilt out on the very same people I had betrayed, and then try to forget it all?

Related Characters: Amir (speaker), Baba, Rahim Khan
Page Number: 303
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 25 Quotes

I looked at Hassan, showing those two missing teeth, sunlight slanting on his face. Baba’s other half. The unentitled, unprivileged half. The half who had inherited what had been pure and noble in Baba. The half that, maybe, in the most secret recesses of his heart, Baba had thought of as his true son… Then I realized something: That last thought had brought no sting with it… I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.

Related Characters: Amir (speaker), Baba, Hassan
Page Number: 359
Explanation and Analysis:

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Baba Character Timeline in The Kite Runner

The timeline below shows where the character Baba appears in The Kite Runner. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Politics and Society Theme Icon
...in a mansion in the wealthy Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul with his father, Baba. The house is decorated lavishly and always filled with Baba’s friends and the smells of... (full context)
Violence and Rape Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
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Some of the children mock Ali’s appearance and limp, and call him Babalu, or Boogeyman. Ali and Hassan are Hazaras, an ethnic minority in Afghanistan that is looked... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
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...mocked him, and then ran away with a group of traveling entertainers five days later. Baba hired the same nursing woman that fed Amir to feed Hassan, and Ali often says... (full context)
Chapter 3
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Amir describes Baba and relates some memories of him. There was a legend that Baba had once wrestled... (full context)
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Baba always succeeded where other people said he would fail. He had no training as an... (full context)
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More of Baba’s successes included business – people thought he would fail, but he became one of the... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
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...school, taught the children that drinking alcohol was a sin punishable by damnation. Amir tells Baba this as Baba pours himself a glass of whiskey. Baba calls the religious teachers “bearded... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
Redemption Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Amir constantly tries to please Baba, but usually feels like a failure. He can’t help but think that Baba hates him... (full context)
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Rahim Khan, Baba’s friend and business colleague, seems to understand Amir better than Baba. Amir overhears him encouraging... (full context)
Chapter 4
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The story shifts to 1933, the year that Baba was born and Zahir Shah became king of Afghanistan. In that same year two young... (full context)
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
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They are still close, but Baba never calls Ali his friend and Amir never thinks of Hassan as his friend –... (full context)
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
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...spends the day cleaning the house and preparing food while Amir goes to school in Baba’s fancy American car. Hassan is illiterate because of his servant class, but he is fascinated... (full context)
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Amir tries to show the story to Baba (who is talking with Rahim Khan), but Baba is uninterested. Rahim Khan, however, takes the... (full context)
Chapter 5
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...hope of reform and economic growth. One winter (1974) Ali calls Hassan inside, saying that Baba wanted to speak with him. Amir describes how Baba got a present for Hassan’s birthday... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...kites. Amir finds the icy city beautiful, and flying kites together is when he and Baba are closest. Baba takes Amir and Hassan to a blind old man who makes the... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
Redemption Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
One night soon before the big kite tournament of 1975 Baba and Amir are sitting by the fire, talking, when Baba casually says that he thinks... (full context)
Chapter 7
Redemption Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
...is a clear, beautiful day as the boys gather in Amir’s neighborhood for the tournament. Baba and Rahim Khan sit on the roof to watch. Amir is so nervous that he... (full context)
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Amir prays that he might win and so redeem himself to Baba. Amir tricks the blue kite into a bad position and then cuts it, winning the... (full context)
Redemption Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
...praise, but he wants to wait until he has the blue kite before he meets Baba. He imagines the two of them like Rostam and Sohrab, father and son locking eyes... (full context)
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
...an alleyway, holding the blue kite – which Amir thinks of as the “key to Baba’s heart” – and facing off against Assef, Kamal, and Wali. Amir watches from around the... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Violence and Rape Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
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...also something worse. He had thought that the blue kite was his key to winning Baba’s love, and Amir was willing to sacrifice Hassan for that love. (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
When they arrive home, Amir’s reunion with Baba happens just as he imagined it would. Baba embraces him, and for a moment Amir... (full context)
Chapter 8
Betrayal Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
...knows what happened after the kite tournament, but Amir rudely denies knowing anything. Amir and Baba decide to take a trip to the city of Jalalabad and stay with Baba’s cousin... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
By the time Baba and Amir actually leave for Jalalabad, Baba has invited many family members and friends to... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
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When Amir and Baba return to Kabul, Hassan asks Amir to go up to their favorite hill. They sit... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
...of the winter passes with Amir avoiding Hassan and pretending his new, close relationship with Baba will last forever, even though it is only held together by something as fragile as... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
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One day while they are gardening, Amir asks Baba if he has ever thought about getting new servants. Baba is furious at the question... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
Redemption Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
That summer (1976) Amir turns thirteen, and Baba decides to throw him a huge party, though their relationship is growing distant again. Baba... (full context)
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Violence and Rape Theme Icon
When the party begins Baba makes Amir greet each guest personally. Assef arrives and jokes politely with Baba, and he... (full context)
Chapter 9
Betrayal Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
Memory and the Past 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... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Politics and Society Theme Icon
Baba forgives Ali and Hassan, which also surprises Amir – as Baba had considered theft the... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 10
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The story jumps to March of 1981. Amir and Baba, along with several others, are in the back of a truck fleeing Afghanistan for Pakistan.... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
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Baba stands up and tries to shame the Russian soldier, but the soldier says there is... (full context)
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...can no longer take them to Peshawar, as his truck broke down the week before. Baba is furious that Karim kept this information from them just so he could get paid... (full context)
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
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...his brother’s truck – it is a fuel truck. Before they get in the truck Baba picks up a handful of Afghan dirt, kisses it, and stows it in a snuff... (full context)
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They arrive in Pakistan and unload the truck. Amir is saddened by the sight of Baba’s two suitcases – the result of all his life’s work, along with “one disappointing son.”... (full context)
Chapter 11
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The story skips forward in time, and Baba and Amir have been living in Fremont, California for almost two years. Baba likes the... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
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...back to Pakistan, where they had spent six months waiting to get U.S. visas, but Baba says they are in America for Amir’s sake, not his own. Amir thinks bitterly that... (full context)
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Baba works at a gas station for twelve hours a day, six days a week. He... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
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That night Baba takes Amir to an Afghan kabob house, where he buys drinks for everyone and starts... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
Redemption Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
The day after his graduation Amir tells Baba that he wants to study creative writing, knowing that Baba will disapprove. Baba does indeed... (full context)
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The next summer, in 1984, Baba buys an old van and spends his Saturday going around filling it up with purchases... (full context)
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One Sunday Baba introduces Amir to a man named General Taheri, who is very traditional and formal in... (full context)
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On the way home Amir asks Baba about Soraya – he had heard rumors about her before. Baba is unwilling to spread... (full context)
Chapter 12
Redemption Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
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...Almost an entire year passes before Amir gets up the nerve to talk to her. Baba understands what is going on, and he warns Amir that General Taheri is a very... (full context)
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...disheartened by this encounter, but he has no time to brood because soon after that Baba gets sick. (full context)
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At first Baba only has a bad cold, but then Amir catches him coughing up blood. Amir takes... (full context)
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After Baba’s diagnosis, Amir breaks down and wonders aloud what he will do when Baba dies. Baba... (full context)
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Baba grows progressively weaker but keeps working and going to the flea market. He starts losing... (full context)
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The next morning Afghans fill the waiting room, wanting to visit Baba. The Taheris arrive and Soraya comforts Amir. Two days later Baba is discharged from the... (full context)
Chapter 13
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The next night Amir and Baba go to the Taheris’ house for the lafz, the ceremony of “giving word.” Baba looks... (full context)
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...months, and then the wedding, but they decide to have the wedding quickly because of Baba’s illness. Baba spends almost all of his life savings on the wedding, renting an Afghan... (full context)
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...After the ceremony there is joyful partying in the banquet hall, and then back at Baba’s apartment. Amir cannot help wondering if Hassan had also been married. Late that night Amir... (full context)
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Soraya wants to move in with Baba immediately because he is so sick. One day Amir comes home and sees Soraya slipping... (full context)
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The mosque is filled with Afghans for Baba’s funeral, and many of them tell stories about how Baba helped them when no one... (full context)
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Listening to everyone’s stories of Baba, Amir realizes how his father has defined who he is all his life. Now Baba... (full context)
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...from any other Afghan guy she has met. Amir thinks that maybe this is because Baba was such a liberal father, or because Amir was only around men his whole life,... (full context)
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After Baba’s death, Amir and Soraya get their own apartment in Fremont, close to the Taheris’ home.... (full context)
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
...and eventually gets it published. All the Taheris celebrate his success, and Amir knows that Baba would have been proud of him. (full context)
Chapter 15
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
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...thinks about the last time he saw Rahim Khan in 1981, the night Amir and Baba fled Kabul. Baba and Rahim Khan had kept in touch since then, but Amir had... (full context)
Violence and Rape Theme Icon
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After Baba and Amir left Kabul, Rahim Khan lived in their house (Baba “sold” it to him)... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
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Memory and the Past Theme Icon
...Pakistan to see him, but also for another reason. When Rahim Khan was living in Baba’s house, he was not alone – Hassan was there too. Rahim Khan wants to tell... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...because he was lonely and because he was getting too old to take care of Baba’s house by himself. Rahim Khan found Hassan in a mud hut, but the only one... (full context)
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Rahim Khan invited Hassan and his wife to come back to Kabul and stay in Baba’s house, but Hassan said that Hazarajat was his home now. Hassan asked Rahim Khan many... (full context)
Chapter 17
Violence and Rape Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
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...call from a neighbor in Kabul explaining what had happened. The Taliban had gone to Baba’s house and found Hassan living there. Hassan said he was taking care of the house,... (full context)
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...execution, and he is wracked 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... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
Redemption Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
...is not about money – Amir knows why he must go. Rahim Khan says that Baba had told him he worried about Amir being unable to stand up for himself as... (full context)
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...children. Amir asks who Hassan’s father was then, but then he understands that it was Baba. Hassan never knew either – they couldn’t tell anyone because of the dishonorable situation. Amir... (full context)
Chapter 18
Betrayal Theme Icon
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...he had known was a lie, but now he can recognize the many signs – Baba always buying Hassan presents, fixing his cleft lip, becoming enraged when Amir suggested they get... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
Redemption Theme Icon
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Amir realizes that he and Baba are more similar than he had thought, as they both betrayed someone who was totally... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
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...not driven Ali and Hassan from the house, they might have come to America with Baba and Amir, and things could have been totally different. Amir wishes that Rahim Khan had... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...here to find the son of his illegitimate half-brother (he no longer tries to keep Baba’s secret) and bring him back to Peshawar to be cared for. Wahid says that Amir... (full context)
Chapter 20
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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... (full context)
Chapter 21
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Amir sees Baba’s old house, and then the narrative slips into Amir’s memory of him and Hassan finding... (full context)
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...he feels he must watch. An old cleric recites a prayer, and Amir suddenly remembers Baba mocking his old religious teacher, and saying “God help us all if Afghanistan ever falls... (full context)
Chapter 22
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...and Amir thanks him for all his help. Amir goes up to the door, wishing Baba was there to help him, but he is all alone. Two armed guards come out,... (full context)
Chapter 23
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...and a man with a moustache, and a familiar man in a pakol. Amir imagines Baba wrestling the black bear, but when Amir looks into his eyes he sees it isn’t... (full context)
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Rahim Khan then says that he knows Baba was hard on Amir, but part of the reason for this was Baba’s own guilt.... (full context)
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...to live. Amir weeps as he reads the letter, and thinks about his similarities with Baba – how they were both “tortured souls,” who had betrayed their truest friend. Amir compares... (full context)
Chapter 24
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...the mosque. Sohrab talks a little bit about his parents, and then Amir talks about Baba. Amir gives Sohrab the snapshot of Hassan. (full context)
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...them knew. Sohrab guesses it is because Hassan was a Hazara, and he wonders if Baba was ashamed of him, but Amir says Baba was only ashamed of himself. (full context)
Chapter 25
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...finds the photo of Hassan under Sohrab’s pillow. Looking at Hassan’s face, Amir realizes how Baba was torn between his two sons, and how maybe he had thought of Hassan as... (full context)
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...Amir why there is a Hazara boy living with him now. Amir explains simply – Baba slept with his servant’s wife and had a son named Hassan, who is dead now.... (full context)
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...the rain for a while, apart from the rest. Amir talks with some friends about Baba and about the difficult job Karzai has. By the afternoon the weather clears. (full context)
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...holding the spool. Amir lets himself slip into his memories of Kabul, Hassan, Ali, and Baba, and then he cuts the string of the green kite. (full context)