The Kite Runner

How does Baba behave in the aftermath of his cancer diagnosis? Why do you think he behaves this way? How does the diagnosis affect Amir?

Chapters 11-12

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They found a new Iranian doctor, Dr. Amani, who discovered that Baba had terminal cancer. Baba refused to prolong his life with chemotherapy and made Amir promise not to tell anyone about his disease. This was Baba's way, he refused to be felt sorry for or to be kept alive by medication. After the diagnosis, Amir and Baba still went to the flea market on Sundays. As the weeks progressed, Baba lost weight and got sicker until one day, he fell on the ground and started having seizures.


Amir must watch his father go from a strong, almost legendary figure to a shrunken, weak ghost of his former self. As though to add insult to injury, the cancer spreads to Baba's brain, the source of his intelligence and his trademark unapologetic opinions. In getting married, Amir restores Baba's dignity by showing him how much he is needed. Amir needs Baba to go khastegari, to give word at lafz, and to sit with him at the awroussi. Even in his pain and weakness, Baba feels good again because he has an important role to play. Seeing Amir and Soraya's traditional courtship and wedding also reassures Baba that Amir will not forget where he is from after Baba dies.