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The Kite Runner | Chapter 8 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 8 opens with Amir finding that his morning routine has not changed much. His breakfast and clothes are prepared exactly the way he is used to. The only thing missing is Hassan. Ali notices that something is wrong with Hassan and asks Amir if anything happened after the kite tournament. Amir does not directly lie, but he hides the truth with the question: "How should I know?"

To get away from the house, Amir suggests they take a trip to Jalalabad. Though Amir hopes that it will just be a special trip for him and Baba, Baba invites other friends and family, who discuss Amir's kite victory on the way. Amir gets carsick, and he feels sick again after they arrive and Baba continues to brag about him over dinner.

That night Amir becomes an insomniac; he whispers aloud that he had witnessed Hassan's rape, but everyone is asleep so his confession goes unheard. He realizes that he is going to get away with his crime, and he sees himself as the monster that grabs Hassan and drags him down to the bottom of the lake.

Back home in Kabul, Hassan and Amir sit under their pomegranate tree, but Amir realizes that going there together was a mistake. He cannot bear to look at the carved words: "Amir and Hassan: The Sultans of Kabul." He tells Hassan that they should leave, and he spends the rest of the winter avoiding Hassan. Hassan keeps trying to get Amir to spend time with him, which makes Amir feel worse. Finally he says angrily, "I want you to stop harassing me. I want you to go away." From then on Hassan keeps a respectful distance, but he continues to be a part of Amir's life through all the chores he does for him.

When Amir tries to get rid of Hassan by asking Baba about new servants, Baba says angrily, "He's staying right here with us, where he belongs. This is his home and we're his family. Don't you ever ask me that question again!" Baba knows that something is going on between Amir and Hassan, but he expects Amir to work it out on his own.

Months later Amir asks Hassan to go to their tree with him so he can read him a story he's written. They talk along the way. From the tree they pick a dozen pomegranates. Tossing an overripe one up and down, Amir asks Hassan what he would do if he hit him with it. Hassan's smile wilts, and he does not respond. The pomegranate strikes Hassan in the chest and explodes in red pulp. Amir shouts at Hassan to hit him back so that he could get the punishment he needs. Hassan does nothing, so Amir calls him a coward. When Amir finally stops pelting him with pomegranates, Hassan smashes one against his own forehead, and croaks, "Are you satisfied? Do you feel better?" Amir cries himself out, wondering what he should do with Hassan.

The last part of the chapter focuses on Amir's 13th birthday party. Baba throws a huge party that is true to his motto: "Invite the whole world or it's not a party." Assef shows up and informs Amir that Wali and Kamal are also guests. In front of Baba Assef is polite, witty, and generous, but Amir sees the madness in his eyes.

Amir leaves his own party, and Rahim finds him two houses down in a barren lot. To make Amir feel better, Rahim tells him about how he almost got married, but because his beloved was a Hazara his father sent her away. Rahim admits this was probably for the best because she would have suffered since his family would never have treated her as an equal. Another point of his story is: "In the end, the world always wins. That's just the way of things."

Analysis

With its focus on the aftermath of Assef's attack, this chapter has a gloomy and empty mood. Hassan's cheerful spirit is gone, and his physical presence is barely seen for a week. But his position in life does not give him the luxury of struggling with his emotions; this contrasts with Amir, who is consumed by guilt. Neither boy acknowledges what happened, and their relationship shifts for the worse.

Baba and Amir's relationship also shifts so that Amir is getting more approval and attention. This should be a happy thing, but everything in Amir's life now is overshadowed or motivated by his guilt. Since he is unable to deal with his guilt on his own, he tries to get others to punish him or to get rid of the source of his guilt. Despite wanting to be relieved of his guilt, he is actually too cowardly to truly confess. This is why he confesses when everyone is sleeping, and this is why he does not tell Rahim, even after being assured that he can tell him anything. This is also why he doesn't tell Hassan why he wants to be hit. In hitting Hassan and calling him a coward, Amir is once again using Hassan to protect himself from facing the consequences of what he has done and who he has become.

The line from Rahim serves as a foreshadowing of the rest of the plot. Within this chapter it is confirmed by the image at the end, when Hassan is forced by his position to serve drinks to the boys who brutalized him.

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Questions for Chapter 8

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Note: There may be some confusion as to the review question numbers in this module. The publisher issued two versions of the fifth edition of the Herrick text (with discrepancies only on pages 161 and
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Need answer as soon as possible by before 10 pm today. See the attachment, see other questions on attachment. In Chapter 8 of Writing for Success, please read about strategies for prewriting on pages
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