Course Hero. "The Kite Runner Study Guide." Course Hero. 2 Sep. 2016. Web. 7 May 2021. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Kite-Runner/>.
Course Hero. (2016, September 2). The Kite Runner Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved May 7, 2021, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Kite-Runner/
(Course Hero, 2016)
Course Hero. "The Kite Runner Study Guide." September 2, 2016. Accessed May 7, 2021. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Kite-Runner/.
Course Hero, "The Kite Runner Study Guide," September 2, 2016, accessed May 7, 2021, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Kite-Runner/.
Chapter 5 opens with Amir and Hassan being startled by the sound of gunfire and bombs. They run to Ali, who tries to reassure them that it is only people hunting ducks. Even though Ali wraps his arms around both boys, he pulls Hassan closer when he sees him crying. Despite having more wealth and opportunities than Hassan, Amir is jealous that Hassan has a father who so tenderly cares. Baba does not return home until just before sunrise. When he fearfully runs to Amir and Hassan to wrap them in his arms, Amir is briefly glad about whatever happened that night.
Amir discovers later that the gunfire and bombing did not actually hurt anyone. They were part of a bloodless coup staged by the cousin of the king. Overnight, the 40-year monarchy in Afghanistan was replaced by a republic, which promised economic development, reform, women's rights, and technology.
Assef, a racist bully who lives in Amir's neighborhood, claims that his father knows the new president. He uses the regime change as an opportunity to share his vision for the country: "Afghanistan is the land of Pashtuns. It always has been, always will be. We are the true Afghans, the pure Afghans, not this Flat-Nose here. His people pollute our homeland, our watan. They dirty our blood." Despite not being a pure Pashtun (his mother is German), Assef threatens both Hassan (for being Hazara) and Amir (for being friendly with a Hazara). The attack starts with a rock thrown at Hassan's back, but Assef is forced to back off when Hassan uses his slingshot to aim a rock at Assef's eye.
The chapter ends with bandages and swollen tissue.
The introduction of the character Assef brings a personal and unstable element of violence into the novel—Assef represents a way of thinking that rejects people like Hassan based on their ethnicity and religion. Assef is a clear antagonist who thinks that Hitler was a great leader. At the time the young Amir did not know the word, but the older narrator reveals that he later learned that Assef was a sociopath. A sociopath is a cruel, violent person who inflicts suffering and has no conscience. Here Assef's antagonism serves to strengthen the bond between Hassan and Amir. When Amir's words are not enough to convince Assef to leave them alone, Hassan backs him with his slingshot.
As the narrator, Amir has brought the story and his younger self up to the point in time he referenced in Chapter 1. The last image connects to the temporary results of a successful surgery, which should lead to more happiness in Hassan's life. But the narrator foreshadows lasting pain.