In The Kite Runner, how does Amir startle the Afghans at the flea market?
I don't know that "startle" is the best word for how Afghans would view Amir's approaching Soraya, the daughter of General Taheri, but they certainly would have seen his move as bold. Amir goes to the Taheris' booth with the intention of talking to Soraya, but he does it under the pretense of looking for her father; so in that sense he is following the strict social customs of his culture. However, when Soraya informs Amir that her father is not there, Amir continues to talk to her and even asks her what she is reading. He knows how this will be viewed by other Afghans watching their "chat" and thinks:
"Me, . . . a single young man, and she an unwed young woman. One with a history, no less. This was teetering dangerously on the verge of gossip material" (146).
Even though Amir knows that his behavior might be bold and cause talk, he is willing to risk that because he is genuinely interested in Soraya and perhaps because he feels that she might be more accepting of him (and his guilt) if she, too, is someone who feels guilty about her past.