Summary and Analysis
While the doctors work feverishly to save Sohrab's life, Amir again turns to prayer. Begging forgiveness of his merciful God, Amir hopes that he does not have the blood of both Hassan and Hassan's son on his hands. This is an interesting prayer, for it focuses on Amir and not Sohrab. Sohrab survives over five hours of emergency care and spends three days in ICU. While he recovers, Sohrab is on a twenty-four hour suicide watch — per hospital policy — and the only time Amir is able to get Sohrab to speak is when Sohrab says he is very tired and wishes that Amir had not pulled him from the water. Amir apologizes to Sohrab and explains how he will be able to get Sohrab into the United States without needing to send him to an orphanage, but Sohrab does not respond to Amir's words and promises. Amir mentions that it would be a year before he hears Sohrab speak again.
Discussing the nature of happy endings, Amir admits that he does not know how this story will end, but he does allude to a tiny miracle that took place the preceding Sunday. Then the narrative goes forward seven months to Sohrab's arrival in America: Soraya greets Amir and Sohrab at the airport, yet Sohrab says nothing to her. The General and Khala Jamila come over for dinner, and Sohrab still does not speak. The General asks quite pointedly during dinner about why a Hazara boy is living with his daughter, and Amir tells him that the boy is his nephew, his name is Sohrab, and that the General is never to refer to him as "Hazara boy" in Amir's presence again.
For the next seven months, Sohrab is silent, barely taking up any space. During the time of Sohrab's silence, the World Trade Center is bombed and the United States retaliates against Afghanistan. Soon the Taliban is scattered, and the General is called back to serve in a ministry position.
At a celebration of the Afghan New Year during the first weekend of spring, Amir purchases a kite and tells Sohrab about Hassan being the best kite runner in all of Kabul. Although Amir asks Sohrab to fly the kite with him, Sohrab does not respond. As Amir is flying it, though, Sohrab moves next to him. Sohrab does not answer when Amir asks him whether he would like to fly the kite, but Sohrab does take the string. They change positions after a while, and soon they use Hassan's method and cut a kite. Immediately after this, Amir notices a little smile on Sohrab's face. "Hardly there. But there." Amir then asks about running the kite for Sohrab and responds to what he thinks is a nod with, "For you, a thousand times over."
The final line of The Kite Runner is "I ran."
The final chapter of The Kite Runner addresses the new guilt that Amir has for what he has done. But, in contrast to his younger self, Amir now turns to both God and his own inner strength to help Sohrab. As a sign of his newfound strength, Amir is able to stand up to the General. And as a sign of his newfound maturity, Amir is able to persevere with Sohrab's silence.
Although many months are covered in the timeline of the chapter, not much really happens in Sohrab's life. This is meant to illustrate not only the minimalist existence that Sohrab has but also how, as soon as events are out of the headlines, people stop thinking and caring about them.
The author does not explicitly answer the question as to when, and even if, Amir "becomes good again." He leaves that up to the reader to decide, for his job as an artist is to raise the question and present his work. The final image of the novel is quite compelling, though. After Amir states the same line that Hassan used to say to him — "For you, a thousand times over" — Amir takes off, running after the kite. Amir is doing something for another. Amir, who has been running away from his past most of his life, is now running toward something: a connection with Hassan that he can be proud of; a chance to help ease his nephew's transition into a new life; and an opportunity to act upon his newfound maturity. For Amir has become the kite runner of the novel's title.