The Kite Runner

Chapter 15-20

What are the consequences of Baba's lie? Do you empathize with Amir's reaction to Rahim's revelation? why or why not?

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The topics of secrets and family ties converge and come to a climax in Chapter Seventeen, when Rahim Khan finally reveals to Amir that Hassan was his half-brother. Amir is furious because suddenly the way he treated Hassan and Ali seems all the more wrong. The concept of "brother" is much stronger to him than the concept of "servant-best-friend" whereas Hassan had treated him like a brother no matter what. As Amir says, "Hassan had loved me once, loved me in a way that no one ever had or ever would again." Amir's reaction to the news reveals how important family ties are anywhere, but in Afghanistan particularly. As General Taheri says in Chapter Thirteen, "People [in America] marry for love, family name and ancestry never even come into the equation. But we are Afghans." Among Afghans, one's family line determines much about how one's life will proceed, from whether one will be literate to whom one will marry. For instance, the reason the Taheris give Soraya to Amir so easily is because of Baba's good standing and ancestry. Hassan's not knowing his identity meant he missed many of the things to which he was entitled. Amir now feels as though his entire life has been "a cycle of lies, betrayals, and secrets," and not just his own. He finally understands that Baba was as much of a betrayer, liar, and secret-keeper as he is. He also understands that this makes the importance of his redemption twofold, saying, "Rahim Khan had summoned be here to atone not just for my sins but for Baba's too."

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