Summary and Analysis Chapter 13



As per Afghani custom, Amir and Baba return to the Taheri house the next day for lafz, the "ceremony of 'giving word.'" Baba had instructed Amir to kiss Khanum Taheri's hand, which he does, and, according to tradition, Soraya is not initially present.

Realizing that Baba does not have long to live, the traditional engagement period is minimized, and Baba spends nearly all of his life's savings on the wedding. Soraya moves in with Amir and Baba, and within one month of the wedding, Baba dies.

After burying his father, Amir begins to learn about the quirks and traits of his new family. The General, he finds out, is waiting for the monarchy to return to rule Afghanistan and thinks his services will be needed. The General also suffers from migraines.

During their life together, Amir and Soraya are enrolled in school, and Amir writes his first novel. Eventually he finds an agent, and then a publisher. After three years of marriage, Amir and Soraya start to try and have a child, and after a year of not being able to get pregnant, they decide they should consult a doctor.

No biological reason is found to explain their inability to get pregnant, a situation referred to as "unexplained infertility." After attempting a variety of methods, including in vitro fertilization, the doctor eventually mentions adoption. At this time, Soraya and Amir share with her parents what they have been going through while attempting to reproduce. Khala Jamila is the only one who thinks adoption might be a good thing. Soraya wants a child of her own; the General is wary of not knowing the bloodline of the infant; and Amir views being childless as a form of divine justice.

After the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan, the world pretty much forgets what is going on inside this country. Amir personifies the emptiness of Soraya's womb and it becomes a part of their relationship, a part of their family.


During his wedding celebration, Amir remembers thinking of Hassan and Hassan's wedding day — if he even had one — which indicates his compassion and interest and demonstrates his growth as a character. Amir also shows a new sense of maturity at Baba's funeral, when he realizes that he no longer has his father to lead him.

Soraya says "I won't bruise his precious ego," indicating that although she disagrees with her father and wants to distance herself from his hopes and dreams, she will still maintain a level of respect that her father should be afforded. This reveals her character's desire to respect her old-world traditions and new-world sensibilities.

The General's words about blood, family, and adoption not only foreshadow future events in the novel but also address the thematic topic of familial obligation and responsibility. And Amir's response to his childlessness addresses a sense of punishment and/or fairness (depending on your perspective) while simultaneously developing the ideas of karma, the wheel of fortune, and divine justice. Amir appears to be pretty accepting of their infertility primarily because he has a sense of order in the universe that almost makes this slight suffering transferable.