In The Kite Runner, why does Sohrab refuse to speak after he arrives in the United States?

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sohrab is a child who has gone through two unbelievably horrific experiences. Both of his parents have been brutally murdered. He has been enslaved, humiliated, and sexually abused, completely powerless to protect or defend himself. He has lived in unrelieved pain and terror. For a child to survive these traumas and remain functional at all is amazing.

Sohrab's world shifts again when Amir enters his life and confronts Assef. Sohrab watches the horrible beating Amir endures, then acts, attacking Assef with his slingshot, becoming a part of the violence himself.

After a harrowing escape, Sohrab must once again deal with dramatic new circumstances as he finds himself accompanying Amir, a stranger to him. When he goes to the United States with Amir, he must deal with yet another stranger, Soraya. Sohrab finds himself in a strange country where people speak a strange language and follow strange customs. And he lives in a new home with people he does not know. Considering what Sohrab has experienced and endured, it is quite understandable that he would seek safety, shut down emotionally and withdraw into himself. Surely his heart and mind were in turmoil. For Sohrab to find his way back from despair and to begin slowly to rejoin the world is a testament to the strength of his spirit and to the depth of Amir and Soraya's commitment to him.

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The Kite Runner

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