The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini
The Kite Runner Chapter 24 Summary
How It All Goes Down
- The chapter opens in Islamabad. Amir says it's "the city Kabul could have become someday" (24.1) with tree-lined boulevards and modern architecture.
- Amir, Farid, and Sohrab get a hotel room (it's much nicer than the dump in Kabul – no bloodstains, clean towels, etc.).
- Farid tells Amir he wants to go home and see his children. Amir tries to get Farid to at least stay the night, but no luck. Amir gives Farid an envelope with two thousand dollars in it – for his troubles. Farid is shocked. This is a substantial gift. Farid leaves.
- Sohrab has fallen asleep. Amir decides to take some of the pain medication Dr. Armand (the MD from the Peshawar hospital) gave him. He zonks out.
- When Amir wakes up, it's dark and Sohrab is gone. Oh flip.
- Amir limps down to the front desk and asks the manager if he's seen Sohrab. No luck. Amir imagines Sohrab locked in a car trunk, dead in a ditch – you know, the usual parental worries. (Actually, he's probably worried the Taliban swiped Sohrab.)
- The manager and Amir figure out Sohrab must have wandered over to the Shah Faisal Mosque, which impressed Sohrab when they drove past it. After annoying the hotel manager just enough, Amir gets the manager to drive him to the mosque.
- Amir finds Sohrab at the mosque. He's sitting on an island of grass in the parking lot. The hotel manager drops Amir off and heads back to the hotel. Amir sits down next to Sohrab and they have a little heart to heart.
- Sohrab talks about mosques for a little bit. He asks Amir about Amir's parents. The two talk about being orphans and missing their parents. Sohrab is beginning to forget his parents' faces. Amir gives Sohrab the Polaroid photo of Hassan and Sohrab.
- The heart to heart continues. Sohrab asks Amir if God will put him in hell "for what I did to that man [Assef]" (24.75). Amir tells him of course not, and gives Sohrab a vague history of his and Hassan's dealings with Assef. Sohrab cries for a little bit. He feels "dirty" because Assef sexually abused him. In fact, Sohrab doesn't even want his father and mother to see him, because he feels so sinful. Amir comforts him.
- Then Amir asks The Big Question: "Would you like to come live in America with me and my wife?" (24.94). Sohrab doesn't answer.
- For a week, neither Amir nor Sohrab mention Amir's offer. They go sightseeing, play cards, etc. At a scenic spot in the city, the two have a picnic. Sohrab points out a hawk and asks Amir if there are hawks in San Francisco. Amir doesn't really know – but the important thing is that Sohrab acknowledged Amir's offer to come live with him America.
- While picnicking, Amir blurts out that Hassan was his brother. Sohrab is surprised: Hassan never said he had a brother. Amir explains. At first, Sohrab doesn't understand why people would "hide it from Father and you" (24.112). Sohrab catches on pretty quickly: Hassan was a Hazara. Neither mention that Baba betrayed Sohrab's grandfather.
- Later that afternoon, back at the hotel, Sohrab and Amir watch TV and talk about San Francisco. While they talk about America, two clerics on TV discuss whether or not a Muslim will go to hell for wearing baggy pants.
- Sohrab asks about the weather in San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. Sohrab is scared to move to the US – what if Soraya and Amir get tired of him? What if they put him back in an orphanage? Amir promises that will never happen. Sohrab agrees to go to America with Amir.
- That evening, Amir finally calls Soraya. It's been a month since he's talked to her. He tells her everything – about Sohrab, Hassan, and his past. He says he wants them to adopt Sohrab. Soraya agrees to it.
- Amir and Sohrab go to the American Embassy. Amir needs to look into the logistics of adopting Sohrab. While Sohrab sips some lemonade in the lobby, Amir talks with an official there named Raymond Andrews. The news isn't good: chances are the adoption won't go through. Amir doesn't have any way to prove Sohrab's parents are dead and neither does he have any proof he's Sohrab's half-uncle. Raymond Andrews says Amir should just give up. However, as Amir leaves, he hands Amir the business card of an immigration lawyer.
- On the way out of the embassy, Amir caustically remarks to the secretary: "Your boss could use some manners" (24.251). The secretary informs Amir that Mr. Andrews hasn't been the same since his daughter committed suicide. Ouch.
- Back at the hotel, Sohrab takes a bath and Amir calls Soraya. Soraya says she called Kaka Sharif, her cousin, who has connections with immigration services. Sohrab has been strangely quiet ever since Amir met with Raymond Andrews – it's as if he senses possible abandonment. Sohrab finishes with his bath and falls asleep in bed. Amir takes a bath and shaves with a straight razor.
- Amir meets with Omar Faisal, the immigration lawyer Raymond Andrews recommended. He drives out to Amir's hotel and they talk in English with Sohrab in the room.
- Sohrab's adoption presents lots of problems: first, it's always hard to adopt in a disaster; second, usually the US Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) doesn't like to send a child away from his home country; third, Islamic law doesn't recognize adoption; and fourth, no adoption agency is going to send someone to Afghanistan.
- Basically, what it comes down to is this: Amir doesn't have any papers to prove he's Sohrab's half-uncle and the only chance Amir has of adopting Sohrab is to put him back in an orphanage. Then an adoption agency could OK Amir and Soraya as parents. Of course, the real catch is that Amir has just promised he won't ever put Sohrab back in an orphanage.
- Amir has to break the news to Sohrab, which isn't going to be easy. He tells Sohrab that Mr. Faisal says there is way to get Sohrab to America, but it may take a while. And that he may have to put Sohrab in an orphanage for a little bit in the course of this process. Sohrab doesn't take the last part well at all. There's some sobbing and trembling. Sohrab falls asleep. So does Amir.
- The phone wakes up Amir. It's Soraya. The bathroom light is on and Amir figures Sohrab must be taking a bath. Soraya tells Amir that Kaka Sharif has found a way for them to adopt Sohrab. (Why did Amir tell Sohrab they would have to put him in an orphanage? Didn't the Kaka Sharif connection seem promising to him earlier?)
- Anyway, this is good news. Amir knocks on the bathroom door to tell Sohrab, but there's no answer. Amir opens the door. Sohrab has slit his wrists with the straight razor.
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