Summary and Analysis Chapter 18



Amir has a very difficult time processing this information. The biggest shock is that Baba had participated in theft — a theft that affected not only Amir, but also Hassan and Ali. Amir realizes that he and Baba were more alike than he never knew when his father was alive. Amir knows that Rahim Khan called him to Pakistan "to atone not just for my sins but for Baba's too." Sohrab, an orphan boy, presents perhaps the only opportunity Amir will ever have to atone for the sins of both generations.


Amir's decision to search for Sohrab is the first active step he takes toward atoning for his past. Although it can be argued that he accepts his inability to sire children as a form of punishment, this is a passive acceptance; there is nothing Amir needs to do and, thus, it is not a conscious decision on his part. Making a decision to do something that impacts another's life, even if it means jeopardizing his own, demonstrates Amir's willingness, for perhaps the first time, to think of another before himself.

Some critics consider Amir's decision curious because he makes it without consulting his wife, citing evidence that as modern as Amir's sensibilities appear to be, he still views women as second-class citizens. Others view his decision as a sign of maturity and love, that he is protecting her.

Rahim Khan has obviously manipulated Amir, for as Amir ponders the information and request that he received from Rahim Khan, Amir's thoughts run the gamut of guilt, anger, shame, and pride. Amir realizes that Rahim Khan is more like his father than Amir ever realized, and he realizes an opportunity to finally fight for himself.

An interesting bit of foreshadowing exists in this chapter. While at the samovar house thinking about everything that had transpired, Amir notices that the legs of the table had a ring of brass balls. Amir tightens the one ball that had become loose and wishes his own life could be fixed as easily. Readers would be wise to remember this seemingly throwaway incident.