The Kite Runner, a historical novel by Khaled Hosseini, an Afghan-American author, follows the maturation of Amir, a male from Afghanistan who needs to find his way in the world as he realizes that his own belief system is not that of his dominant culture. Set in Afghanistan and the United States, The Kite Runner is shows the similarities as well as the differences between the two countries and the two vastly different cultures. It is the story of both fathers and sons and friends and brothers, and it is a novel about right and wrong and the nature of evil. Published in 2003 to great critical and popular acclaim, The Kite Runner is considered a contemporary classic.
Key Points of the Novel:-
Written by: Khaled Hosseini Type of Work: novel Genres:(coming of age novel); historical novel First Published:June 2003 by Riverhead Books Setting: Opens in San Francisco, and then flashes back to Afghanistan and Pakistan Main Characters: Amir; Baba; Hassan; Ali; Sohrab; Rahim Khan Major Thematic Topics: alienation; betrayal; class issues (both cultural and socioeconomic); the emotional intensity of childhood affections; fear serving as a motivator; forgiveness; friendship; the inherent nature of human evil; jealousy; lost innocence; love; manipulation; redemption; the role of religion; revenge Motifs: death; desires; doubling; dreams; education; fears; passion; resentment; revenge; violence Major Symbols: kites, kite fighting, kite running; myths; pomegranate tree; scar; slingshot
The three most important aspects of The Kite Runner:
- This is an historical novel about the pre-Russian invasion and pre-Taliban rule of Afghanistan, as well life in Afghanistan under Taliban rule and life in a post-Taliban Afghanistan. Although the story is fictitious, the information about the political, social, and cultural systems of this Middle Eastern country provides a contrast to the contemporary headlines about Afghanistan primarily being home to terrorist cells. The Kite Runner paints a realistic portrait of a country about which most readers probably know very little and enables readers to separate the people of a country from its leaders (the Taliban) and/or groups (terrorists) associated with it.
- The Kite Runner is a coming-of-age novel about finding one's place in a world of turmoil and transition. It explores the difficulties of developing into an adult relationship with your parents while simultaneously exploring ideas about the human capacity for good and evil, and the relationship between sin, forgiveness, and atonement. Its setting in both Afghanistan and the United States illustrates the universality of its characters and themes. In addition to these topics, The Kite Runner also touches on social awareness, religion, and philosophy.
- The combination of Hosseini's narrative technique (the combining of flashback and flashforward in a somewhat linear timeline), his character development (having even his best characters demonstrate flaws and shortcomings), stylistic devices (including the insertion of Afghani words, his sentence patterns and sentence structure, the use of rhetorical figures, as well as his subtle use of foreshadowing), and his extensive incorporation of symbolism resulted in both critical accolades and popular success of The Kite Runner, a novel that is simultaneously embraced by academia and the general reading populace.
The novel The Kite Runner is the story of Amir, a Sunni Muslim, who struggles to find his place in the world because of the aftereffects and fallout from a series of traumatic childhood events. An adult Amir opens the novel in the present-day United States with a vague reference to one of these events, and then the novel flashes back to Amir's childhood in Afghanistan. In addition to typical childhood experiences, Amir struggles with forging a closer relationship with his father, Baba; with determining the exact nature of his relationship with Hassan, his Shi'a Muslim servant; and eventually with finding a way to atone for pre-adolescent decisions that have lasting repercussions. Along the way, readers are able to experience growing up in Afghanistan in a
single-parent home, a situation that bears remarkable similarities to many contemporary households. One of the biggest struggles for Amir is learning to navigate the complex socioeconomic culture he faces, growing up in Afghanistan as a member of the privileged class yet not feeling like a privileged member of his own family. Hassan and his father, Ali, are servants, yet at times, Amir's relationship with them is more like that of family members. And Amir's father, Baba, who does not consistently adhere to the tenets of his culture, confuses rather than clarifies things for young Amir. Many of the ruling-class elite in Afghanistan view the world as black and white, yet Amir identifies many shades of gray.
In addition to the issues affecting his personal life, Amir must also contend with the instability of the Afghan political system in the 1970s. During a crucial episode, which takes place during an important kite flying tournament, Amir decides not to act — he decides not to confront bullies and aggressors when he has the chance — and this conscious choice of inaction sets off a chain reaction that leads to guilt, lies, and betrayals. Eventually, because of the changing political climate, Amir and his father are forced to flee Afghanistan. Amir views coming to America as an opportunity to leave his past behind.Although Amir and Baba toil to create a new life for themselves in the United States, the past is unable to stay buried. When it rears its ugly head, Amir is forced to return to his homeland to face the demons and decisions of his youth, with only a slim hope to make amends. Finally, The novel is about relationships specifically the relationships between Amir and Hassan, Baba, Rahim Khan, Soraya, and Sohrab and how the complex relationships in our lives overlap and connect to make us the people we are.About Amir and other Characters:-Amir, the narrator and protagonist of the novel , is a Pashtun and Sunni Muslim. Although not a completely sympathetic character, Amir is one for whom most readers feel compassion. Amir has conflicted feelings about his father, Baba, and his playmate, Hassan. Often, Amir is jealous of the way Baba treats Hassan, although Amir realizes that Hassan socially has a lower place in society. A conflicted character, Amir struggles between the logical and emotional sides of his being. His obsession and guilty conscience, along with his adult perspective looking back on childhood events, render him a usually reliable yet simultaneously potentially suspect storyteller. Baba is Amir's father, who is considered a hero and leader in Kabul. Baba and Amir never quite seem to connect, especially in Afghanistan. Baba is always doing things for others and always seems to expect more from his son. Baba appears to exemplify a man who lives by his own moral code, yet he is carrying a secret that if revealed, may undermine everything he stands for. Hassan is Amir's playmate and servant and is a Hazara and Shi'a Muslim. He's also the son of Ali. Hassan considers Amir his friend, although Amir never consciously considers Hassan as such. Hassan epitomizes the perfect servant who is loyal to his master, even after the master betrays him. Many critics consider Hassan's character "too good to be true," for even after he is betrayed by Amir, Hassan continues to lie for the person he considers his friend. Rahim Khan Rahim Khan is Baba's best friend and business partner. He's also the father-figure to Amir. Rahim Khan encourages Amir's writing, takes care of Baba's house, brings Hassan back to Kabul, and brings Amir back to Afghanistan. Rahim Khan also shares Baba's deepest secret with Amir. Assef Assef is a Kabul bully who ends up joining the Taliban. Not only is Assef a villain, but he also symbolizes all villainy. Assef becomes a member of the Taliban who idolizes Adolf Hitler and abuses his position of power in order to demonstrate the political muscle of the men in charge. Even as an adult, Assef uses a pair of brass knuckles to demonstrate both his power and cruelty. Soraya Soraya is Amir's wife. Unable to have children of her own, Soraya willingly agrees to the adoption of Sohrab. Although her role, like the role of all Afghan women under the Taliban, is minor from a plot perspective, the importance that she has on Amir's character development is immense. Hassan's most noticeable physical characteristic are: His leg left is amputated. He has a cleft lip. He is missing the index finger on his right hand. He is blind. Besides, he is a skillful Kite Runner and a pathetic character in the novel.