Kite Runner & the History of Afghanistan

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    Kite Runner & the History of Afghanistan

  • KR1. Hassan Defends Himself with Slingshot Threat

    KR1. Hassan Defends Himself with Slingshot Threat
    Hassan was able to keep his composure and threaten that if Assef "make[s] a move, they'll have to change your 'One-Eyed Assef,' because I have this rock pointed at your left eye" (Hosseini 42). Despite repeated threats against him and his background and being outnumbered, Hassan never averted his eyes from the task of keeping himself safe. His rationality tranquilizes the situation but does not end te conflict, as Assef leaves vowing for revenge.
  • KR2. Amir Wins Kite-Fighting Tournament

    KR2. Amir Wins Kite-Fighting Tournament
    The moment after Amir had cut the last kite, "Hassan was screaming and his arm was wrapped around [his] neck. 'Bravo! Bravo, Amir agha!'" (Hosseini 66). Amir's victory gives him a jolt of pride and confidence that he had lacked in his life up to that point. Not only does he make himself proud, but he finally makes Baba happy as well. After over twelve years of conflict, Amir is successful in his attempt to impress his father and continues to mend their rocky father-son relationship.
  • KR3. Hassan is Raped by Assef

    KR3. Hassan is Raped by Assef
    While Hassan was being raped, Amir was "just around the corner... [and] could hear Assef's quick, rhythmic grunts. ...In the end, I ran" (Hosseini 77). Amir feels bad for Hassan, but does not have the courage to stand up for his friend, even after his victory earlier in the day gave him a boost of confidence. Amir's timid personality cannot handle the pressure and lets Assef run course with his operation, wreaking havoc on his desired Hazara target.
  • KR4. Ali and Hassan Leave Kabul

    KR4. Ali and Hassan Leave Kabul
    After Hassan is forgiven by Baba, Ali states that "[l]ife here is impossible for [him and Hassan] now, Agha sahib...We're leaving" (Hosseini 106). The thought to leave had clearly plagued Ali's mind for a long time, but he finally could not bear the harassment in Kabul any longer. The treatment from the teenagers had been unbearable and may have weighed him down so much as to not care for the conditions Baba provided for him and Hassan. Hassan's supposed act of thievery was but the final dagger.
  • Soviets Invade Kabul

    The Soviets began their operation "into Kabul on Dec. 27, 1979, to assist Barak Karmal, who had become president in a coup within the Afghan Communist Leadership" ("Afghanistan - An Overview").
  • KR5. Baba Confronts a Russian Soldier

    KR5. Baba Confronts a Russian Soldier
    In the face of death by gunshot, Baba demands that he will "take a thousand of [the soldier's bullets] before I let this indecency take place. ...[I]f I don't go down, I'm tearing him to pieces, goddamn his father!" (Hosseini 116). Baba once again embodies one of his highest values: standing up for oneself, albeit possible a little bit too harshly. He looks danger in the face and tackles it head-on, demanding a peaceful journey from the soldier for the sake of everyone in the car.
  • KR6. Baba Encounters a Store Clerk

    KR6. Baba Encounters a Store Clerk
    Baba struggles with the concept of American business, flipping out at a store. He roars that "[a]lmost two years we've bought [the owner's] damn fruits...and the son of a dog wants to see me license" (Hosseini 127). Baba finds that nothing is quite the same in America as it is in Kabul and has a hard time letting go of his past in a new country. It is Amir who stops him and prevents him from causing further conflict, demonstrating the beginning of a major change in their father-son relationship.
  • KR7: Baba is Diagnosed with Terminal Cancer

    KR7: Baba is Diagnosed with Terminal Cancer
    When Baba is given the diagnosis of terminal small-cell lung cancer, he says that it "is a clear answer. ...But no chemo for me" (Hosseini 156). Although Baba fully respects the doctor and the diagnosis, he is stubborn and wants to fight the cancer alone. He attempts to embody his strong passion to stand up for himself, but may not realize how destructive his condition will be to his mind, body, and physique.
  • KR8. Soraya Reveals her Past to Amir

    KR8. Soraya Reveals her Past to Amir
    After General Taheri accepts Amir's marriage to Soraya, Amir and Soraya talk and Soraya reveals her past. Amir is not shaken, thinking how "could I, of all people, chastise someone for their past?" (Hosseini 165). Amir had done enough sinful things in his life, especially in his childhood in Kabul. Having Soraya have many sins in her past may have comforted Amir, realizing the many things they have in common that make their bond with each other even stronger.
  • KR9. Amir is Married and Reflects

    KR9. Amir is Married and Reflects
    Amir enjoys his time with Soraya as they look on as a wedded couple, but he can't bear to "[wish] Rahim Khan were there. And I remember wondering if Hassan too had married" (Hosseini 171). Amir enjoys his new position as a husband in America, but he cannot forget his past in Afghanistan. His reflections embody the value of past and tradition that are rooted so deeply in his father as well as in himself.
  • KR10. Baba's Funeral is Held

    KR10. Baba's Funeral is Held
    Amir is deeply saddened by his father's passing, but he also realizes at the funeral that "Baba couldn't show me the way anymore; I'd have to find it on my own" (Hosseini 174). Throughout his life thus far, Baba had always been at Amir's side, guiding him and giving him advice on how to live his life. Now with Baba's death, Amir no longer has that dependency. He must find his way on his own, with no one but himself to show him the way.
  • Soviet Troops Leave Afghanistan

    After ten years and "peace talks moderated by the United Nations, the last Soviet troops left Afghanistan in February 1989, in what was in effect a unilateral withdrawal" ("Afghanistan - An Overview").
  • Pakistanis Provide Aid

    Possibly beginning in 1994, "Pakistani intelligence officers began funneling arms, money and supplies to Mullah Omar's men, as well as military advisers to help guide them in battle" ("Afghanistan - An Overview").
  • Afghanistan in Anarchy

    Following the Soviets' exit, power in Afghanistan "was anarchically devided among competing warlords and individual fiefdoms" ("Afghanistan - An Overview").
  • Omar's Followers Increase

    As 1994 came to a close, Omar "had nearly 12,000 followers and was rolling up the warlords to the north and east" ("Afghanistan - An Overview").
  • Bin Laden Arrives in Afghanistan

    In May 1996, the Taliban helped al-Qaeda by "[providing] a haven for Mr. bin Laden, who arrived by chartered jet at Jalalabad Airport in May 1996" ("Afghanistan - An Overview").
  • Taliban Takes Control of Afghanistan

    The Taliban, "the extremist Islamic group that...seized control in 1996" ("Afghanistan - An Overview"), established strict rules regarding religion and practice during their approximately eight years' rule of Afghanistan.
  • KR11. Rahim Khan Asks Amir to Find Sohrab

    KR11. Rahim Khan Asks Amir to Find Sohrab
    Rahim Khan lets Amir swallow the pain of Hassan and Farzana's death before saying that seeing Amir was "not all. ...I want you to go bring Sohrab here" (Hosseini 220). Rahim Khan's favor is not one of money, but of atonement. He knows of Amir's sins and wants him to make up, and retrieving Sohrab would be one of the highest forms of doing so: granting a wish for a dying man.
  • KR12. Amir Finds Out the Truth About Hassan

    KR12. Amir Finds Out the Truth About Hassan
    Rahim Khan continues to tell the truth to Amir, who is unable to contain himself when he finds out that Hassan is his brother. He storms out, bellowing that he is "thirty-eight years old and... just found out my whole life is one big fucking lie!" (Hosseini 223). For the first time, Amir's true story and Baba's deepest sins are revealed, adding a new layer of complexity to the novel. This strikes a chord in Amir, who, in his disgust, realizes that the Baba he knew is not the full father of two.
  • KR13. Amir Encounters Assef and Sohrab

    KR13. Amir Encounters Assef and Sohrab
    Amir has a bitter reunion with Assef that is only resolved when Sohrab uses his slingshot, which "made a thwiiiiit sound when [he] released the cup. Then Assef was screaming" (Hosseini 291). Here, Sohrab demonstrates the deep connection between himself and his father Hassan through his rationale and use of the slingshot. He also carries out the threat Hassan had made in 1973 in Kabul when he had threatened to get Assef in the eye with a slingshot, deepening the connection even further.
  • KR14. Sohrab Survives Attempted Suicide

    KR14. Sohrab Survives Attempted Suicide
    Once Amir receives the news that Sohrab is alive, it "takes [him] a moment to register what he had just said. Then he says more but I don't hear him. ...I weep my relief into this smtranger's small, meaty hands" (Hosseini 349). Amir now realizes that despite Sohrab's attempt, he had survived and would go to America. Not only would Rahim Khan's wish be granted, but Amir and Soraya would finally also have a child, the one thing that both acknowledged was missing in their lives.
  • 9/11 Attacks and Ultimatum

    Following al-Qaeda's attack "on the World Trade Center in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, President George W. Bush gave the Taliban an ultimatum to hand over Mr. bin Laden" ("Afghanistan - An Overview").
  • Karzai Named Chairman

    As an interim government was being formed, "Hamid Karzai, a supporter and relative of Mahammad Zahir Shah, the exiled former king of Afhanistan, was named chairman" ("Afghanistan - An Overview"); Karzai took office as interim president in the middle of the next year.
  • KR15. Amir and Sohrab Fly a Kite

    KR15. Amir and Sohrab Fly a Kite
    As Amir flies a kite with Sohrab at an Afghan festival, he blinks and swears that "the hands holding the spool were the chipped-nailed, calloused hands of a harelipped boy" (Hosseini 370). Amir sees such a deep resemblance between Hassan and Sohrab that the two blend before his eyes. As the novel comes to a close, Amir is reminded of the good times he had with Hassan and wants to revive these instances as he continues life with his own family and with Sohrab.
  • Karzai Elected President

    After over three and a half years as interim president, Karzai "was elected to a five-year term as president in 2004" ("Afghanistan - An Overview").
  • Gen. Petraeus Takes Charge of Central Command

    By October 2008, Gen. Patraeus "had taken charge of United States Central Command...with responsibility for military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and across the region" ("Afghanistan - An Overview").
  • Obama Makes Speech on Deplyoment At West Point

    On December 1, 2009, at West Point, "Mr. Obama announced his plan to deploy 30,000 addditional troops" ("Afghanistan - An Overview").
  • Obama Removes Gen. McChrystal

    Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who was brought in by Gen. Petraeus to help Americans' effort in Afghanistan, was removed by Obama "after contemptuous quotes from the general and his staff about senior administration officials appeared in an article in Rolling Stone magazine" ("Afghanistan - An Overview").