Summary and Analysis
After a few brief but sweet days of romance, Tariq visits Laila with heartbreaking news: he and his family are fleeing Kabul. He tells Laila that his father's health requires them to leave, but that he'll come back the minute he can to find her. Furious, Laila starts hitting Tariq, but soon her anger transforms into desire and the two make love.
Afterward, Laila is torn between feeling joyful and ashamed. Her shame is diminished by Tariq's admission of love and his plea for her to join him and his family and to marry him immediately. Although tempted, Laila has her own familial obligations; she knows that if she left, it would break her father's heart. Finally, Laila forces Tariq to leave and leans against the door, listening to him plead with her until he finally gives up and walks back to his house.
Through Laila and Tariq's decision to part ways, Hosseini demonstrates the significance of family to Afghani culture. Throughout the novel, Hosseini has presented various examples of individuals' strong sense of loyalty to their families. Two of the most significant examples of this loyalty are Mariam's loyalty to Nana and the deep pangs of guilt she feels after Nana's death; and Hakim's loyalty to Fariba, despite the difficulty of living with a woman so wrapped up in her own grief she hardly interacts with her husband and daughter.
In Chapter 25, it becomes clear that familial love and loyalty outweigh the romantic love Laila and Tariq feel for each other. First, Tariq decides to leave with his family in order to safeguard his father's failing health. Next, Laila decides to remain with her family, despite her strong desire to marry and follow Tariq. Through these sacrifices, Laila and Tariq reveal themselves to be more than just teenagers in puppy love, but responsible young people with strong moral compasses.