Summary and Analysis
As Amir returns to Kabul, he again experiences car sickness. Farid, his driver, demonstrates little sympathy for him. Rahim Khan had provided Amir with a chest-length fake beard in order to appear Taliban-friendly. Amir explains to readers that he needs to leave immediately, in order to not change his mind, and he does not tell Soraya, because he knows she would take the next plane to Pakistan.
Farid is dismissive of Amir and tells him that Amir has always been a tourist in Afghanistan because the way of life that he knew was foreign to most Afghanis. Farid and Amir stop in Jalalabad to spend the night at the house of Farid's brother, Wahid. When Wahid asks Amir what brings him to Afghanistan, Farid answers, echoing his earlier claim that Amir is going to sell his father's house and immediately exit.
Amir not only answers Wahid's question honestly but also answers it completely, admitting that Hassan — the Hazara — was his half-brother. During dinner, Amir notices that the boys keep looking at his watch. After dinner, Amir receives permission to give the boys the gift of the watch. Before he falls asleep, Farid makes an indirect offer to help Amir find Sohrab.
That night, Amir has a nightmare about Hassan's murder. He steps outside for some air to calm himself. As he begins to enter, he overhears voices and realizes that the boys were not staring at his watch but rather his food. Later that morning, when no one is watching, Amir puts money under a mattress.
"Better to be miserable than rude" Amir states when lying to Farid about the lemon helping his car sickness. Amir is able to cling to an Afghani view, even though Farid and others who did not leave Afghanistan view Amir not as an Afghani but as an American. This chapter raises interesting issues about a character's view of himself, as opposed to how others see him. Essential questions about the nature of Amir's character are the same questions that apply to many people: What does it mean to be an American? Or an Afghani? Is it just the country/origin of birth? Is it one's socioeconomic status? Is it a combination of cultural and political leanings? Ultimately, these questions are all about a person's sense of identity and sense of self.
The universality of The Kite Runner appears here as issues such as hunger are addressed. The concluding image of the chapter serves to represent all the hungry children, both in Afghanistan and throughout the world. The reader's understanding of global issues connects the novel with the real world, just as the repetition of an action demonstrates the growth of a character. Hiding the money under the mattress is a small but significant gesture: unlike the first time, when Amir was acting cowardly and selfishly, this time he is thinking of others, which is another step on Amir's path of atonement.