In picking small bits of bark from the tiny crevasses, Amir is making the carving stand out more on the tree. This is the first step Amir takes in healing the fissure in his relationship with Hassan. Preserving Hassan's legacy by saving Sohrab and writing the memoir help Amir clear the biggest crevasse in his life (bigger than the chasm between him and his father, which had healed after emigration to America and long before Baba died).
I found what I was looking for. The carving had dulled, almost faded altogether, but it was still there: “Amir and Hassan. The Sultans of Kabul.” I traced the curve of each letter with my fingers. Picked small bits of bark from the tiny crevasses.
an act that exploits or victimizes someone (treats them unfairly)
He charged me $75, an unthinkable price given the run-down appearance of the place, but I didn’t mind. Exploitation to finance a beach house in Hawaii was one thing. Doing it to feed your kids was another.
The irony of this enunciation is that it precedes a punishment that doesn't fit the sin (i.e. stoning adulterers to death for dishonoring the sanctity of marriage). The punishment that better fits the enunciated words is the beating of Amir for his sin of running away from a beating that could've saved Hassan from rape (although Assef saw the beating as the price for taking Sohrab and for settling childhood conflicts).
“Every sinner must be punished in a manner befitting his sin!” the cleric repeated into the mike, lowering his voice, enunciating each word slowly, dramatically.
You’re gutless. It’s how you were made. And that's not such a bad thing because your saving grace is that you’ve never lied to yourself about it. Not about that. Nothing wrong with cowardice as long as it comes with prudence. But when a coward stops remembering who he is...God help him.
Another definition of "impact" is "a forceful consequence; a strong effect"--this also fits the situation, because the impact that had cut Amir's upper lip in two required surgery that left a lasting impact, which is a scar, but more importantly, a reminder that in getting beaten up to save Sohrab, Amir had emotionally and physically become more like Hassan.
“The impact had cut your upper lip in two, clean down the middle.
(theology) the act of delivering from sin or saving from evil
Sometimes, I think everything he did, feeding the poor on the streets, building the orphanage, giving money to friends in need, it was all his way of redeeming himself. And that, I believe, is what true redemption is, Amir jan, when guilt leads to good.
Maybe that was why Baba and I had been on such better terms in the U.S., I wondered. Selling junk for petty cash, our menial jobs, our grimy apartment—the American version of a hut; maybe in America, when Baba looked at me, he saw a little bit of Hassan.
showing or motivated by sympathy and understanding and generosity
There is a God, there has to be, and now I will pray, I will pray that He forgive that I have neglected Him all of these years, forgive that I have betrayed, lied, and sinned with impunity only to turn to Him now in my hour of need, I pray that He is as merciful, benevolent, and gracious as His book says He is.
Two other definitions of "vigil" are "the rite of staying awake for devotional purposes" and "a period of sleeplessness"--all three definitions fit because 1) Amir needs to watch Sohrab to make sure he doesn't attempt suicide again; 2) Amir has reconnected with God, whom Hassan and Sohrab have always worshipped, in order to pray for Sohrab's recovery; 3) Amir has been sleepless with worry and guilt.
I kept vigil at Sohrab’s bedside in the daytime and wandered through the hospital’s serpentine corridors at night, listening to my shoe heels clicking on the tiles, thinking of what I would say to Sohrab when he woke up.
And so it was that, about a week later, we crossed a strip of warm, black tarmac and I brought Hassan’s son from Afghanistan to America, lifting him from the certainty of turmoil and dropping him in a turmoil of uncertainty.