Chapter 7 is very important!
When I started posting on the chapters of The Kite Runner it didn’t seem a daunting task but as I am only up to chapter seven … maybe I was wrong.
So here goes -
In chapter seven Hassan dreams that Amir conquers the monster in the lake. Amir prays to win the competition – which he does and Hassan runs to retrieve the losing kite. Assef and his gang trap Hassan in an alley and Assef rapes him. Amir sees the rape but he runs away and pretends nothing has happened.
This is the most important chapter of the entire novel as it presents the problem that Amir will have to deal with the rest of his life. It shows his greatest sin and what Rahim Khan had referred to when he said, “There is a way to be good again.” The dream is used to foreshadow Amir’s victory in the tournament, but there are still monsters to deal with: Assef of course, and Amir himself. Amir’s cowardice is made clearer by Hassan’s courage in standing up for him the year before. The tournament is Amir’s greatest moment in his search for approval from Baba, but in the end, it is his worst moment because of what he allowed to happen to Hassan. This event will form the basis for the remainder of the novel. Note that the foreshadowing set into place with Assef’s warning that he was a patient person and would have his revenge eventually has come true. Hassan will pay a terrible price for that revenge, but then so will Amir.
So to be clear – the seventh chapter is very important. The key scene in which Amir witnesses the rape of Hassan and does nothing to protect him is the central event in the novel. This is the event that has haunted Amir. As readers we condemn Amir’s cowardice and feel some repulsion at Amir’s failure to defend Hassan. However, it is important to note that disgust for his cowardice is also shared by Amir himself. Amir knows that his abandonment of Hassan can be viewed as a sacrifice to win Baba’s approval. Amir is afraid that he let Hassan get raped because he is “just a Hazara”. Also note how Hassan’s attackers, Assef, Wali and Kamal attack Hassan’s ethnicity. Hosseini is making it clear to the reader just how embedded the idea that Hazara are inferior in Afghanistan is. I will mention at this point the image of the slaughtered lamb which recurs through the novel and is obviously developed further in this chapter. The key scene reinforces the idea the Amir had to sacrifice Hassan in order to win Baba’s approval.