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Baba, Amir's father, has grown up and lived in Afghanistan his whole life. His life has been prosperous, and his roots are there. Now, he must flee his native country to save his life and that of his son. His takes the dirt as a memento, a reminder, of his past, much as a parent keeps a lock of hair from their young child who is now grown. As long as he has the precious soil of his homeland, he can see it, smell it, and stroke it to remind himself of better days. American is a foreign country, in its culture and values. This small bit of earth he can grasp and know that maybe someday, he can return to his homeland. Little does he understand that that homeland will never exist as it once had. This Amir discovers when he returns there many years later.
As explained above, Baba kissed and then put a portion of dirt in his snuff bag to carry it in memory of his homeland. His entire life was in Afghanistan, he was born and bred there, he married and started a family there, be established his career there and founded lifelong friendships with people there. When he kisses the ground he demonstrates his love for his country of origin and when he carries the contents of the snuff box close to his heart it shows his attachment to Afghanistan. He neither wants to leave nor does he want to forget where he is coming from. Therefore, the significance of Baba putting dirt in his snuff box is to show his sentimental attachment to his homeland which he wants to always remember even though they were fleeing to a foreign country.
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