The Kite Runner

Explain the issue clouding Amir’s marriage to Soraya – according to Afghan community. Why does Amir say there is a double standard? What does that mean?


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Amir asked Baba to ask General Taheri to go khastegari, to ask for Soraya's hand in marriage. Baba called and made arrangements to visit the Taheris the next morning. Amir helped Baba dress and drove him to the Taheris' house, then went home to wait. Finally, Baba called and said that the general had accepted and then put Soraya on the phone. She was delighted but said she wanted to tell him a secret. When the Taheris lived in Virginia, she ran off with an Afghan man. When her father found her and dragged her home, she found out that her mother had suffered a stroke that paralyzed the right side of her face. Amir was slightly upset to find out that Soraya was not a virgin because he was. At the same time, he knew that he of all people could not hold someone accountable for her past mistakes, so he told Soraya that nothing could change his desire to marry her.

The "double standard" would apply to the fact that woman are expected to be virgins but men aren't. Amir is citing the fact that a man's history has no bearing, whereas, a woman's will publicly shame her. This also applies to Amir's feelings about his own shameful secret, for which he hasn't yet accepted responsibility or shared.


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