Kite Runner: Chapter 21

Terms in this set (14)

After Amir visited the orphanage in Karteh-Seh, the horrifying truth about Afghanistan fell upon him more and more rapidly. As he and Farid drove away, he saw a forgotten corpse hanging in front of a restaurant. He saw a man selling his artificial leg, no doubt to buy food for his children. When they reached the Wazir Akhbar Khan district where Amir grew up, he was relieved to see that it had weathered somewhat better than the other neighborhoods.

The chapter is interrupted by Amir's memory of finding a turtle in the backyard with Hassan. They painted its shell red and marched it around as though they were discoverers of a wondrous new species. Even though they were children, they felt as though they were world-renowned explorers.

Amir walked up the driveway to Baba's house and saw that it had fallen into disrepair. He longed for it to be as it once was. Despite Farid's protestations, he insisted on staying for as long as possible. Amir climbed the hill with the pomegranate tree as he had with Hassan so many times. Although the tree was now decrepit, he could still make out the carving from their childhood: "Amir and Hassan. The Sultans of Kabul." After he sat for a while in contemplation, he and Farid drove off and checked into a nearby hotel.

The hotel was just as run-down as the rest of Kabul and there was even a bloodstain on the wall near the bed. Before going to bed, Farid told him stories about fighting the Soviets. In return, Amir told Farid about American conveniences, such as being able to receive over five hundred television channels; Farid explained that Kabul had not even had electricity for days. Finally, the men bonded over jokes about the bumbling cleric, "Mullah Nasruddin." Before he fell asleep, Amir thought that perhaps Kabul was as "hopeless" as people said.

The next day, the men attended a soccer match at Ghazi Stadium. It was nothing like Amir remembered, the lush green playing field now turned to dry dirt with two deep holes behind the goalpost. Talibs walked up and down the aisles, whipping anyone who made too much noise. During halftime, Amir discovered the horrifying reason for the two deep holes in the ground; they were to be the graves of two accused adulterers, who would be stoned in front of the thousands of attendees. A cleric announced to the crowd that the "will of Allah and the word of the Prophet Muhammad" said death by stoning was a just punishment for adulterers. As he listened to this distortion of Islam, Amir e what Baba had said years before: "God help us all if Afghanistan ever falls into their hands."

The Talib official they had been waiting for appeared on the field. He personally stoned both of the accused to death, after which other Talibs buried them. Afterwards, Farid told a Talib that they wanted to arrange a meeting with the Talib official; it was very easy for them to get an appointment for the same day.