Both Amir and Soraya were brought up by powerful, overbearing yet loving fathers. Both Baba and General Taheri were important people in Afghanistan, yet they were reduced to the world of the common man when they migrated to America. Neither adapted well. Arriving in America virtually penniless, Baba was at least willing to work, taking a job at a gas station and convenience store. The general must have been able to take some of his money with him when he left his native land since he never bothered to take a job. The two men enjoyed their time spent at the flea market; both did it for extra cash, but the general considered it only a "hobby," not a job.
Both of their children must have considered their fathers as bullies. Baba considered Amir a weakling while in Kabul, but he mellowed considerably in California, and Baba soon took pride in his son's accomplishments. Soraya's sexual liaison with a boyfriend in Virginia ended when the general brought her back home with him. He treated her as damaged goods, and it was primarily because of Baba's past status in Afghanistan that caused him to accept Amir as a husband for his daughter. However, once married, the general treated Amir well. While Baba's luck in business never returned to him once he reached San Jose, the general's long wait finally proved fruitful when he was invited to return following the fall of the Taliban.