The Kite Runner
The Kite Runner Chapter 8 Summary
How It All Goes Down
- This chapter describes the weeks (and year) following the kite-fighting tournament.
- Amir rarely sees Hassan – he wakes to find his breakfast already cooked, his clothes folded. Ali asks Amir if anything is wrong with Hassan, but Amir treats Ali pretty poorly and, worse, doesn't tell Ali about the alley.
- Amir asks Baba if they can go to Jalalabad on Friday. Baba asks if Hassan wants to come along. Amir wants Baba all to himself so he says Hassan is sick.
- Much to Amir's dismay, Baba invites tons of relatives to travel with them. (Enough to fill three vans. And you thought your family vacations were bad.) The vans bounce along. One of Amir's cousins congratulates Amir on winning the kite-fighting tournament. Amir throws up all over her dress.
- That night, everyone eats lots of food. People play poker and have a few drinks. Amir is miserable. After everyone has fallen asleep – the men sleeping on the living room floor along with Amir – Amir blurts out to no one in particular: "I watched Hassan get raped" (8.40). No one wakes up or hears him. Amir's insomnia starts that night.
- Back in Kabul, there's more silence and distance between Amir and Hassan. Not even the Shahnamah can bring them together. This continues for the rest of the winter. Amir hangs out with Baba occasionally, but seems to spend a lot of time reading in his room.
- At one point during the winter, Hassan asks Amir if he's done anything wrong. Amir pretty much tells Hassan that he just wants to be alone.
- Right before school starts up again, Amir asks Baba if they can get new servants. Baba is furious. Amir knows he's really driven a wedge between himself and Baba now.
- That summer, Hassan and Amir walk up to the hill with their pomegranate tree. Amir starts to read a story to Hassan, but loses interest. He picks an overripe pomegranate and begins to pelt Hassan. Amir wants Hassan to fight back, but Hassan won't. Eventually, Hassan picks up a pomegranate and walks over to Amir and crushes it against his forehead.
- The chapter ends with Amir's thirteenth birthday party. Baba invites tons of people, there's heaps of good food, and even Ahmad Zahir, the pop musician.
- Assef shows up with a gift for Amir. There's an odd rapport between Baba and Assef as Baba asks Assef about soccer. In one of the most awkward exchanges in the book, Assef gives Amir his present and Amir stalks off. Amir opens the present on his own. It's a biography of Hitler. Ugh. Amir tosses it into the grass.
- Rahim Khan shows up. (He's such a nice guy!) He shoots the breeze with Amir and then tells Amir a story about how he almost married a Hazara woman. His parents and siblings, though, were outraged at the prospect of welcoming a Hazara woman into the family. The marriage didn't happen. Rahim Khan gives Amir his gift: it's a leather-bound writing journal.
- Oh yeah, there are fireworks at the party. Some fireworks go off.