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The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner


by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner Chapter 17 Summary

  • Rahim Khan gives Amir an envelope. Inside are letters from Hassan and a Polaroid photograph of Hassan and Sohrab. Here's what the letters say:
  • Letter 1: Hassan hopes his letter will someday reach Amir in America and that Amir will write back. Hassan still thinks about Amir and tells Farzana and Sohrab all about Amir.
  • Letter 2: Kabul has changed. The Taliban have imposed strict rule: even Farzana is punished in the market for speaking too loudly. He brags about Sohrab – how good he is with a slingshot, how he likes the Shahnamah, etc.
  • Letter 3: Rahim Khan is very sick and will travel to Pakistan to see some doctors. Hassan has had a few violent nightmares but also dreams that Rahim Khan will get well, Sohrab will "grow up to be a good person, a free person [...]," and peace will come to Kabul. He hopes Amir will visit.
  • All in all, the letters are very warm – Hassan doesn't hold any grudges against Amir.
  • Rahim Khan delivers the bad news to Amir. A month after he arrived in Peshawar, a neighbor called and told him Talib officials executed Hassan and Farzana. Even though people in the neighborhood supported Hassan's story, the Talibs didn't believe Rahim Khan left the house in his care. Sohrab is in an orphanage in Kabul.
  • Now, Rahim Khan reveals the reason he asked Amir to come to Afghanistan: he wants Amir to rescue Sohrab from the orphanage. There are some people in Peshawar who will adopt him.
  • At first, Amir doesn't want any part of Rahim Khan's scheme. Rahim Khan gives him three reasons. First, Khan is a dying man and he wants Amir to do this for him. Second, Baba once thought Amir couldn't stand up for himself – now, Amir can prove him wrong. Third, Hassan was actually Amir's half-brother.
  • Of course, the last reason really changes things. Apparently, Ali was sterile, and Baba fathered Hassan with Sanaubar.
  • The chapter ends with Amir storming out of Rahim Khan's apartment.

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