In The Kite Runner, why does the visit with the pulmonologist became unsuccessful when Baba asks where he was from?

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rareynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Baba refuses to see the doctor when he learns that his family is Russian—even though the doctor himself was born in Michigan and is "more American than we'll ever be," according to Amir. All that matters to Baba is that the doctor has a connection to Russia, the country that invaded Afghanistan. For Baba, it is a point of national pride to refuse to see the doctor. Pride is a major theme of this chapter. Baba's refusal to take treatment for his cancer is another expression of pride. Amir's pursuit of Soraya is governed by her father's sense of pride. Baba is even proud of the Pashtun reputation for being proud.

For Amir, this abiding pride is difficult to understand. On the one hand, his father's refusal to see the doctor because his grandparents came from Russia is almost ludicrous. On the other, Amir comes to understand that the Afghan community is built on such expressions of pride and that notions of honor and dignity define men like Baba.

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sboeman eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In chapter 12, Amir and Baba go to visit with the pulmonologist, Dr. Schneider.  The meeting was going well until Baba wanted to know where Dr. Schneider was from, then "lost it" when the doctor told him he was from Russia - Baba threatened he'd break Dr. Schneider's arm if he tried to touch him and refused to be a patient of a "Roussi".

This is, of course, in response to Baba's deep-seeded hatred of Russia after they attacked his beloved homeland of Afghanistan.  In the 1970's, Russia tried to invade Afghanistan, forcing many Afghans, including Baba and Amir, to flee the country for their own safety.

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