The Kite Runner Chapters 16 - 19 Summary

Rahim Khan wanted to ask Amir to do him a favor. First, he needed Amir to listen to the story of Hassan, what happened to him after Amir and Baba left the country. In 1986, after learning of Baba's death, Rahim felt compelled to find Hassan, so he traveled to the village where he had been told Hassan lived. There he found Hassan, who would have been 22 or 23 years old, living in a tiny house with his pregnant wife, Farzana.

He asked them to move in with him; at first Hassan turned him down. But, after learning of Baba's death, he reconsidered and they moved to Kabul to take over the maintenance of the house. They lived in the mud hut Hassan was born in and that winter Farzana gave birth to a stillborn baby girl.

In 1990 Farzana became pregnant again. One day an old beaten woman came to the house. Her face was a maze of cuts, which went even through her left eye. She looked horrible, but instead of seeking help, she asked only for Hassan. She revealed she was Hassan's mother, Sanaubar. She came to see her son, and after the initial shock the two started to build a relationship.

Sanaubar served as midwife during Hassan's son's delivery that winter. She doted on the child, who came to love her deeply. When the boy, Sohrab, was four Sanaubar died in her sleep. By this time several groups were fighting for control of Kabul. Luckily, they left the neighborhood the house stood in mostly alone. Hassan taught his son how to be a kite runner.

Then in 1996 the Tallaban took control and kite fighting was banned. More tragically, two years later they killed the Hazaras in Mazar-i-Sharif.

Rahim showed Amir some letters Hassan wrote to him, telling him of his life in Afghanistan. The letters also had a photograph of Hassan with his son. Then Rahim told Amir that after he had left to travel to Pakistan to see some doctors, the Taliban found out a Hazara family was living in Baba's house. The Taliban refused to listen to Hassan's explanation that he had a right to be in the house. Instead they took him out into the street and shot him, then they shot his wife as she ran screaming to her husband's side. They said since she attacked them the shooting was self-defense.

The favor Rahim asked of Amir was to bring Sohrab back to him from an orphanage in Kabul. He wanted to turn the boy over to a Christian couple running an orphanage in Peshawar. Amir was afraid to make the dangerous trip. Rahim told him his father always said Amir would be afraid to stand up for anything, but he thought Baba was wrong in his assessment of his son.

Then Rahim told Amir, Ali was sterile and Hassan's true father was Baba. Amir angrily leaves Rahim's apartment telling him nothing can make him feel better after finding out his whole life has been a lie.

Amir went for a cup of tea to think over what he had just learned. He realized now the attention his father payed to Hassan was that of a father, not a master. He also realized his father was a thief, because he stole Amir's right to know he had a brother, Hassan's right to know who he was, and he took Ali's honor. In the end, Amir decided the only way to atone for his and his father's sins was to bring Hassan's son to Peshawar.

Amir and Rahim made plans for his trip to Kabul. He bought clothes to make him blend in with the local people, exchanged his money for Kaldar and Afghani, and taken the picture with him. Rahim found a local man, Farid to drive Amir to Kabul. Farid, who had fought against the Soviets at the age of fourteen and had lost two children to a landmine blast, didn't have much regard for Amir. He considered him a weak American, who was only going to Kabul to sell off some land, so he could make money. He thought that Amir was not a real Afghan, because his father was rich. The only real Afghans, according to Farid, were the poor people of the country.

In Jalalabad, they stop for the night at Farid's brother's home. Wahid, Farid's older brother, was kinder to Amir, especially after finding out the real reason for his trip to Kabul. Amir now acknowledged Hassan as his half-brother and Wahid was honored to have Amir in his home. Farid was angry Amir didn't tell him the real reason for his trip. He decided he would help Amir find the boy.

As Amir and Farid ate, Wahid's three sons stared at Amir. He thought they were coveting his wrist watch, so he presented it to them. Instead he found out the next morning, the boys were salivating over the food he was ingesting, it seemed they had no food to eat. This discovery made Amir glad he had left a wad of money under his mattress.

Amir finds out the hardships Rahim and Hassan faced in the years after he and Baba left Kabul. He then finally decides to fulfill Rahim's request and retrieve Hassan's son from an orphanage in Kabul. The trip gives him a chance to experience Afghanistan the way most of the country did, as a poor but proud people.

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The Kite Runner Chapters 16 - 19 Quiz
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The Kite Runner Chapters 23 - 24 Summary
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Literature Summaries

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