The Kite Runner

What does Baba do that shocks Amir?

Chapter 10


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Baba interferes when a Russian soldier wants payment for letting them pass, he wants a young wife and mother for a short thirty minutes. Baba voices his disapproval. Amir wishes his father didn't always have to play the hero.


"It’s his price for letting us pass," Karim said. He couldn’t bring himself to look the husband in the eye.


"But we’ve paid a fair price already. He’s getting paid good money," the husband




Karim and the Russian soldier spoke. "He says... he says every price has a tax."


That was when Baba stood up. It was my turn to clamp a hand on his thigh, but Baba pried it loose, snatched his leg away. When he stood, he eclipsed the moonlight. "I want you to ask this man something," Baba said. He said it to Karim, but looked directly at the Russian officer. "Ask him where his shame is."


They spoke. "He says this is war. There is no shame in war."


"Tell him he’s wrong. War doesn’t negate decency. It demands it, even more than in times of peace."


Do you have to always be the hero? I thought, my heart fluttering. Can’t you just let it go for once? But I knew he couldn’t--it wasn’t in his nature. The problem was, his nature was going to get us all killed.



The Kite Runner