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Key points and analysis of chapters nine and ten
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Young Amir in chapter nine seems to be angry and confused. The chapter beings with Amir
opening his presents, he appears to be ungrateful and angry at what he calls "blood money",
despite the fact that he was the one who allowed the blood to spill. Aggressive semantics are used
by Hosseini whilst describing Amir's unwrapping, "I ripped...I tossed" Amir recalls, immediately
the words connote to those of violence and the events of the scene before are echoed.
The pile of gifts Amir creates holds great significance. Amir tells us of how he buries the book
from Ali and Hassan at the bottom of his blood money pile, the word "buried" links us back to the
first chapter, and we recall how Amir tells us about his experience with burying the past and how
it "claws its way out". The book becomes a symbol of Amir's betrayal and guilt, which further
exaggerates the tragedy of the chapters events.
The presents in the chapter too hold great symbolism. The bicycle, (which is commonly associated
with boyhood) is unappreciated by Amir, and described as "blood" red. We understand why Amir
cannot enjoy the presents and realise that as well as Hassan, Amir too has lost some innocence.
Hosseini also describes the bike as "candy apple" red, and later Amir refers to himself as the
"snake in the grass". These descriptions not only provide vivid imagery but connote the biblical
downfall of Adam and Eve. Parallels between the knowledge gained from the apple and the
knowledge of paternal love Amir craves for arise together with betrayal and being cast out of
paradise. Amir casts himself out of the idyllic innocent childhood he describes to us, however by
using the term "candy" we realise that the love he sacrificed Hassan to get is false, a sugar
coating over the absence of what Amir truly desires.
The watch here, as well as acting as the object Amir uses to frame Hassan, symbolises the
oncoming storm of tragedy. The lightning bolts are counting down to when Amir will strike Hassan
for one last time, and with it bring Hassan and Ali's departure in a thundery storm. Watches in
the book are used to symbolise many things, they bring the downfall of Hassan, salvation for Amir
in chapter ten and represent Amir's misunderstanding and material view near the end of the novel
when he gives the hungry children his watch.
Amir's self deluding is most evident in chapter nine, his guilt is so consuming that he decided the
best thing to do is to get rid of Hassan and convinces himself it "would be for the best". Through
Baba's lack of affection, it appears Amir has confused idea's on love. He tells us he "loved him
[Hassan] more that I'd [he'd] ever loved anyone" but then allows Hassan and Ali to go for his own
peace of mind. Through this it is reiterated how broken Amir is. "This had to be a dream. Had to
be" pg 99
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Slide 3

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Older Amir brings with him all the self deprecating qualities he
developed as a child. A physical manifestation of Amir's guilt and
fear evolves in chapter ten through his retching.
"I stumbled to the edge of the cliff overlooking the deep valley
that was shrouded with darkness" pg 97- illustrates Amir
reflecting over the darkness of his past.
The juxtaposition between Amir's childhood and the panic of his
smuggling emphasises how horrifying the experience is for Amir.
So far in the novel Amir has often looked out of windows, he's
observed the change of Kabul, the departing of Hassan and Ali
and his class mate having to do summer school. The division
between Amir and the rest of the world becomes fixed there at
his window where he silently watches everything whilst staying a
distance away. In chapter ten the darkness that consumes them
whilst being smuggled can be seen as Amir's sins taking over;
they are so dense he cannot even breathe anymore; they've left
him in darkness unable to see anything else.
When instructed to thing ok something happy Amir's first
thoughts are of Hassan despite the five years since he saw him
suggesting the five years haven't been happy or eventful for Amir
even though they are key years in a humans life.
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Slide 4

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Baba seems cold as ever in chapter nine, failing to give Amir a present that he truly
values like Rahim Khan's present. He offers to spend time with Amir, but the
invitation is "only a half hearted one"- it dawns on the reader that the huge
sacrifice Hassan made for Amir has really amounted to nothing, making it even more
Hosseini uses pragmatic cataphora through Baba's reaction to Hassan and Ali
leaving, it is not yet explainable to the reader since we don't know Hassan is Baba's
son. Baba is described as "slumping" as he allows his son to leave, an air of
resignation about him is created through this.
"The sun like a branding iron searing the back of your neck"- Amir's description of
Kabul in the summer links with descriptions of his father, we are reminded of the
distance between the two. Baba is described later on to have "eclipsed the
moonlight" when he stood up, creating a sense of greatness around him that
contrasts heavily with Amir. His heroics are shown first hand in chapter ten with the
woman and the Russian soldier. As well as respect however, the reader becomes
slightly more scared of him, "I'm tearing him to pieces" he shouts when talking of
the soldier, the description links in our heads back to the bear and a savage like
strength is put in Baba.
"I was glad for the darkness. I didn't want to see the murderous look on Baba's
Baba's manliness is constantly reiterated in chapter ten, not only through his acts
but through Amir's description of him. From the floor Amir looks up to his father,
and notes the "upside down V between his legs". An upside V being the ancient
symbol for rudimentary Man.
The fact that Baba is ashamed of Amir's car sickness "as if car sickness was a crime"
puts into perspective how big of a cowardly sin Amir had committed.
"...this was the summation of his life: one disappointing song and two suitcases" pg
108- Amir and Baba's departure ironically is less dignified than Hassan and Ali's. In
the end they rush and taken less than their former servants. Through the
juxtaposition of the two events the unsafe state of Kabul is emphasised.
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"Lessen his suffering. And mine too." pg 89- The minor sentence here highlights how
selfish Amir is. His suffering he feels is so great he must end it with whatever means
he can.
"I hoped would be the last in a long line of shameful lies" pg 91- This pragmatic
comment leaves the reader in suspense- what more lies could Amir tell? How much
more betrayal will he undergo?
"I flinched, like I'd be slapped...this was Hassan's final sacrifice for me" The idea of
actual pain caused to Amir through his guilt is carried through the novel, here we
see how Hassan's love contrasts with the supposed love Amir has for him. Amir is all
to eager to accept the sacrifices despite how much pain is caused from the
"I was a liar, cheat and thief" pg 92- The fact that Amir acknowledges with brutal
honestly his flaws and flawed actions allows us to really understand what he is going
through. At this point the reader is angered by the protagonist, now his constant self
deprecation is explained. By giving Amir this characteristic Hosseini allows Amir to
becomes more human in the eyes of the reader and paves the way to Amir's path to
"I wanted to be able to breathe again" Again the pain of Amir's lies is highlighted,
"I was tired of pretending" he tells us.
Hosseini further emphasises the seriousness of Amir's betrayal through the actions
of Ali and Baba. "...not even Ali's paralyzed face could mask his sorrow" Amir
notices. Baba's reaction to Hassan and Ali leaving also strikes Amir, "it scared me a
little Amir says; "Fathers weren't supposed to cry". Amir's warped understanding of
relation is highlighted here. It is also contrasted with Ali and Hassan's relationship
where they cried together.
Hassan's "final sacrifice" in this chapter seals Amir's guilt. His loss of innocence is
stressed through him leaving all his toys at the end of chapter nine.
Chapter nine ends with a single paragraph sentence. "...all I saw was rain through
windowpanes that looked likes melting silver." This powerful simile used paints a
picture of the richness Amir indulged in melting away creating a hot, opaque barrier
between him and the world.
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Slide 6

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Ahmad Zahir, first mentioned in chapter seven,
represented progress in Afghanistan, it's
modernisation and acceptance of change. In chapter
then he is killed and acts as a symbol in the book for
the step taken back in cultural acceptance through
the rape of the Hazara Hassan.
Music again is used in chapter ten with the afghan
wedding song the Russian soldier sings. The
perversion of the song acts as a metaphor for the
perversion of the country and more literally of the
acts on Hassan.
Downfall of Afghanistan described on page 98
Religion is a big part of Afghani culture, however
Amir never really decides on his faith. In the most
intense moments of the novel, he always turns to
God. In chapter ten the seriousness of Amir's
situation is highlighted through as he prays.
Love and pride for the country is shown In chapter
ten when Baba takes Afghan soil with him (page 105)
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