When Amir travels back to Kabul to rescue Sohrab, he is forced to visit his past enemy, Assef, who is a member of the Taliban. Assef has been molesting Sohrab, and Amir attempts to convince Assef to let him leave with Sohrab. Assef initially tells Amir to take Sohrab, and as they are leaving, Assef tells Amir that he can't take Sohrab for free. Assef then says,
"We have some unfinished business, you and I... You remember, don't you?" (Hosseini 203).
Assef is referring to the time when Hassan had threatened to shoot his eye out. Assef had then told Hassan and Amir that he would repay them both one day, and he prepares to fight Amir to the death. Amir narrowly escapes his battle with Assef and is saved by Sohrab, who shoots Assef's eye out.
In Chapter 25, Sohrab is recovering from his attempted suicide, and Amir asks him if there is anything that he can do for him. Sohrab simply says,
"I want my old life back" (Hosseini 259).
Amir is distraught because he knows that he cannot fulfill Sohrab's wish. Sohrab has experienced an immense amount of tragedy in his young life and Amir wishes that he could give Sohrab what he truly wants, but understands that he cannot.
One of the central actions takes place in these chapters. In chapter 22 we see the confrontation of Amir and Assef. During this encounter Amir had a choice. He could save himself or Sohrab. If he decided to save Sohrab, he would be beaten. He chose the path of courage. Amir faced Assef and was beaten. Here is the quote:
“My body was broken—just how badly I wouldn’t find out until later—but I felt healed. Healed at last. I laughed.”
The odd thing about this quote is obviously the fact that Amir laughed and in his brokenness he found healing. Physically speaking, Amir suffered from broken ribs, a broken jaw, and other physical pains. However, in this act, Amir found redemption. He was able to redeem himself from his guilt of allowing Assef to rape Hassan from his boyhood days. Now Amir was able to pay back Hassan by looking out of his child.
The story is partially about redemption. Here we find one of the clearest examples of this theme.
In Chapter 20 of The Kite Runner, Amir says,
Returning to Kabul was like running into an old, forgotten friend and seeing that life hadn't been good to him, that he'd become homeless and destitute(246)
This quote, I think, is important on a few levels. On one level, it is important because it shows the reader how Amir feels on confronting his homeland, which has gone through many hard times. On another level, is this quote really about Kabul, or is it about one old friend whom Amir has left behind, an old friend he has forgotten, an old friend whose life has become disrupted and destitute?
In Chapter 21, Amir says,
I don't want to forget anymore (263).
His driver has just told him that nothing has survived and it's better to forget. But Amir has been trying to forget since he left his homeland, and he realizes that in order to be a whole and good person, he cannot forget any longer. He understands that he must confront his past and deal with it.
Can you find some good quotes in the remaining chapters, quotes that tell the reader something important about the themes of the story?