The Kite Runner analysis

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How does Hosseini develop Baba in Chapter 3?

  • Care more about others than own son, has distinct version of what Amir should be/how he should live, but sees little of himself in Amir
  •  "God help us all if Afghanistan ever falls into their hands". The "their" referring to Islamic Fundamentalists - demonstrating Baba's break from other Muslims and insightful nature of his character. It also shows Taliban has disastrous effect on Afghan.
  • Introduces theft: sin is some sort of variation of theft he is explaining his own moral code. Important question "what happens to a man who is unwilling or unable or refuses to follow his own moral code?" - not realised yet but is connection between father and son
  • When talking about Amir states important themes about men standing up for themselves and others - sepcifically Amir and Hassan - larger significance developed through novel
  • Juxtaposition Baba's reference to Amir being his with with next paragraph (Amir interacting with Hassan) demonstrating the way siblings sometimes treat eachother when in competition for parent's affection foreshadowing major revelation
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How does Hosseini present childhood in Chapter 4?

  • Ali and Baba were playmates - repeated and paralleled by Hassan and Amir in next generation. Metaphorically Amir follows his fathers footsteps as he fails to call Hassan his friend. The effect of religious and cultural differences is shown here and explored throughout due to Sunni and Shi'a not mixing as they are hierarchically different
  • First twelve years growing up with Hassan "long lazy summer day" contrasts with shocking events of winter day that will move Amir from childhood to adulthood. Hosseini uses seasons to symbolise Amir's different emotional states than years
  • Storytelling = motif - Shahnamah (of mistaken identities of fathers and sons) supports thematix topic of relationships. Baba refused to read Amir's short story, yet Amir does not back down and stands up to his father in one of the "longest minutes of my life" because writing is important to him. Shows strong-willed nature of Baba and Amir simultaneously illustrating similarities and difference between father and son
  • Hasan's response furthers plot - "people...will read your stories" foreshadowing Amir's future vocation but illustrates Hassan's knowledge, dedication and insight to Amir. Unlike Amir he is not morally ambiguous instead his character serves as foil to demonstrate Amir's shortcomings and provide point of comparison
  • Suspense - Hosseini blends character, plot and thematic development while intermixing flashback with foreshadowing. Hosseini's style and narrative technique continues to build suspense as more info is revealed having readability of popular fiction but reoccuring motifs with character and thematic development making it contemporary classic
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Chapter 5 - Father/son relations

  • Amir's jealousy of Ali's paternal concern to Hassan on night of bombing and gunfire shows importance of loving relationship compared to material possessions
  • Ali and Hassan may not have possessions but they have eachother, emotional connection and sense of security they provide during frightening night enables Amir not to be jealous when Baba arrives home and wraps both boys in his arms (foreshadowing)
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Chapter 5 - Introduction of Assef

  • By intro with the coup equates him violence and destruction
  • He openly speaks of his admiration for Hitler who he parallels with
  • During confrontation Hassan if Assef makes one wrong move his new nickname would be "One-Eyed Assef" - important incident and lihe Assef responds "This doesn't end today"
  • Violence in Afganistan is the beginning and violence inflicted upon Hassan and Amir only just beginning
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Chapter 5 - Suspense again

  • Leads to Winter incident - the winter when Hassan "stopped smiling" which the next winter
  • Narrative has almost reached the point that has been referenced from first sentence of the text
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How does Hosseini build to the climax in Chapter 6

  • Short chapter significant occur in 4 episodes - 1st = exposition of chapter transitioning from grown up narrative to specifics of kite flying, Hassan = kite runner + readers ask about effect Hassan has on Amir
  • Based on Amir's info Hassan os probably involved in incident and based on title Amir revealed it occurs in winter, add suspense
  • Hassan asks Amir "Would I ever lie to you?" - not only address theme of truth but difference between 2. Amir's jealousy and confusion regards with nature of relationships - his + Hassan, Hassan + Ali, Baba + Ali, Baba + Hassan - indicative of struggle w/ truth and after effects of actions on all relationships
  • Amir explicitly mentions Hassan's loyalty and his integrity
  • Juxtaposition of similes - Amir's simile is forced, whereas Hassan's is natural. Force shows he is not really happy. Another example of appearance vs reality prevalent in motif. Yet Hassan seems to be too good to be true, Hassan lives for others, Hassan is an ideal friend and brother
  • 2 minor lines importance: 1st - "Afghan's cherish customs but abhor the rules" said by Amir at time of discussing kite fighting, emphasises cultural tradition. Hating of rule breaking brings to mind "The only rule is 'there are no rules'" foreshadowing the fighting and insurgency that will occur. 2nd is explicit comment about God "if He exists" demonstrates Amir's ambivalence about a supreme being. Lack of faith yet desire to turn towardas something greater than himself, permeates the novel
  • Not wanting to fail Hassan and himself, Baba says "better to get hurt by the truth than comforted with a lie" may not ironically be truthful, Baba refers to political situation in Afghan, refers personal relationships
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How does Hosseini present dreams in Chapter 7?

  • Begins w/ dream, mirroring dreamlike state of Amir as he watches nightmare. Dream = important motif. Metaphorical dream - desires + aspires. Dual nature of dreams - sweet dreams + nightmares. Amir watches + Hassan experiences - he doesn't do anything about H's attack, Amir lives in nightmare next twenty-five years
  • Breakfast H is sharing dream in attempt  to soothe Amir. Amir almost apologises to Hassan but does not  - cultural situation where H is the loyal servant + Amir = almost aloof master
  • Juxtaposition of beautiful day w/ ugly incident = e.g. motif of appearance vs reality. Motif furthered by ambiguity toward religion - rationalising "if there's a God, then He'll allow me to win". Hassan focused on Amir like normal and winning for him. Amir going to take kite off him but privately congratulates. Amir mentions will not see Hassan smile like that until 26 yrs later in a Polaroid picture
  • Amir searching for Hassan = seemingly defining moment of life, violence shocks readers too. Amir's reaction is understandable as he is a child of privilige but not strong emotionally, physically/spiritually. Its Amir's response that is the issue than the event
  • Amir ends w/ statement of finality "And that was good"
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How does Hosseini present guilt in Chapter 8?

  • Combination of car sickness and guilt emphasised by H's pants - cause Amir to vomit. Doesn't automatically improve his life, saying "Be careful waht you wish for, because you might just get it". Amir realises in some aspects his relationship with Baba is worse than if he'd won
  • Amir asking for new servants - means of dealing with his guilt. If Hassan out of sight, out of mind. Baba's outrage curious and serves another example of foreshadowing
  • Assef developed - gift to Amir Hitler bio revealing connection but also that he knows how to act around adults. Outwardly the son Baba always wanted  but inwardly other side of guilt. Villain associated w/ evil but one of functions is to demonstrate the evil in all of us, even Amir
  • Amir's insomnia + darkness that permeates and chapter symbolise state and quality of Amir's life. Fireworks brief moments of illlumination at birthday party, they are not real light - Amir thinks he knows how to solve his problem but like the fireworks it is brief, transient and although looks good has no substance
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How does Baba react in Chapter 9?

  • Baba's "half-hearted"  invitation receives "half-hearted" thank you from Amir indicating more alike than either is willing to notice/acknowledge. Relationships worse.
  • Depth of Amir's actions revealed. 1 to be passive observer of events + nothing to stop but but being participant often seen as worse. Emotionally we cringe at what he does, logically  13yr old attempting to deal w/ almost impossible situ. Wracked w/ guilt and attempting to receive pysical punishment does not work attempts to find another more endurable way. Hassan = reminder so must leave
  • Juxaposition of bravery and Amir's cowardice final contrast between 2. Hassan leaving = Amir's atonement. RH's "there is a way to be good again" indicates Amir not yet atoned, return to Afghan = important for redemption
  • Baba's forgiveness of H's admitted actions = foreshadowing. After asking why Baba seemingly forsakes moral code/demonstrate level of forgiveness, compassion + understanding he has not revealed. Baba is illustating "actions speak louder than words"
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Hosseini present adaption/change in Chapter 10

  • Jump of 5 years indicates nothing major has happened. Significant when Baba instructs Amir to think of something happy, thoughts are of a time before winter 75 suggesting last 5 have not been. Memory sustaining Amir during truck ride symoblises his childhood + innocence. Doesn't rememver exact time because child's sense isn't same as adults but his childhood was better than most of adulthood.
  • Russian soldier = Baba complexity. What he cannot show to son he can to stranger, his principles. He is skewed from Amir's point of view. Cultural quagmire w/ no Hassan or Ali as more than loyal servants. "Think of something good is best sign of paternal love. Morally ambiguous character.
  • 2 suitcases + different lives - one extreme to other. Ali and Hassan leave longtime home, others leaving = one suitcase. A+H had 1 suitcase, A+B one more than that. Both fathers forced to leave homes with no faults of own
  • Kamal and father - volatile nature of those ruling Afghan + abusers may become abused. Can be divine justice/minions of 1 in power suffer not  power. Parallel to Hassan and Amir. Father/son relations contrast - Kamal's fathers love/own sense of guilt so strong cannot live w/out son but Baba either unwilling to demonstrate level of intense emotion
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Hosseini contrast locations in Chapter 11

  • Reaganomics indicates political leanings of author, concerns blue collar, connection between US and Afghan. Baba's new life juxtaoposes that in Afghan
  • Amir suggest return to Pashawar, Baba responds was not good for Amir. Indication Baba = good father or ttrying to be looking out for son's best interests  instead of own. Baba's time time in US ironically makes him better father
  • Motifs of gifts and giving - 2. Amir describes Baba's gift to him + Amir's car. Once implicitly in pride Baba has during Amir's graduation, + tangiblegift means more to Amir more than presents
  • Amir decides not "sacrfice for Baba" claiming last time "I had damned myself". Interesing Amir views decisions of life. Own sacrifice damning . Took last path of resistance. Young Amir sacrificing older Amir. Older taking responsibility for actions and inactions - younger Amir unable to
  • Baba "What happens in...a single day can change the course of a whole lifetime" refers to Soraya's situ, both Amir and readers recognise sentiments w/ 2 specific events events: his inaction and framing of Hassan for stealiing watch money. Similar situs demonstrate connection between 2 characters
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Hosseini present Soraya in Chapter 12

  • Amir and Soraya parallels relationship w/ Hassan and illustrates differences in cultures. Amir not friends w/ Hazara because of social class,  not be addressing Soraya due to gender
  • Wurthering Heights - two characters different social classes living isolated. Both devlop thematic alientation, childhood, class issues, enduring loss, forgiveness, friendship, jealousy, love, manipulation, nature, role of religion, revenge. Motifs devloped: death, desires, doubling, dreams, education, resentment, revenge, violence. Histroical info time and place. Soraya "sad stories make good books"
  • Timing indescretion + father's sickness opportunity Amir to discriminate concern someone other than himself + anothers needs first. Soraya = foil for both to learn from past mistakes. Baba's sickness = God reappearance - Amir's confession may not exist but turns to 'Him' in moment of need
  • Soraya's situ mirrors Amir's. She chooses however to admit what did in past. Amir maturing not able to face past. Significant end of chapter discussing courage Soraya has because he will eventually need courage to do right thing too
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How is the wedding significant in Chapter 13

  • Amir thinks of Hassan + his wedding (if he had) indicating compassion/interest + demonstrates growth of character. Shows new sense of maturity at Baba's funeral when realises no longer has father to lead him
  • Soraya - "I won't bruise his precious ego" indicating disagrees w/ father + wants to distance from his hopes and dreams, still maintain level of respect father should be afforded. Reveals characters desire to respect old-world traditions + new-world sensibilities
  • Genral words - blood, family, adoption, foreshadow future events but theme familial obligation + responsibility. Amir's response to childlessness addresses sense of punishment/fairness whilst simultaneously developing ideas of karma, wheel of fortune, divine justice. Amir accepting infertility because has sense of order in universe almost makes slight suffering transferrable
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How show transition in Chapter 14

  • 6 months before opening chapter of novel. Mysterious phone call from RK compels Amir to return to Middle East. Many mysteries + suspense of Ch 1 now understood. Setting potentially America but not entirely clear
  • Significance narrative timeline made clear in chapter. Half novel leading to June 01, 2nd half only cover 9 mths. Undoubtedly extremely important is going to happen when Amir returns to Pakistan + most likely Afghan
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How describe Afghan in Chapter 15

  • Afghan under Taliban rule
  • Taxi driver = impartial observer tells Amir how most poor Afghani's in Pshawar are
  • RK received scar on eye demonstrates indiscriminate attacks of Taliban, as well as stringencies of rules + reaction people had to them - even when the Taliban were in error
  • Secondary purpose to reintroduce Hassan + his story to Amir
  • Amir, not spoken Hassan's name in years, and the reader now going to find out what happened to Hassan after Amir caused him to leave Kabul
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Change in perspective Chapter 16

  • First time shift in 1st P Narrative to RK - most telling details about Hassan are q's he asked about Amir + his life - whether happy. Hassan more concerned w/ Amir's welfare than own, contrast to Amir's reaction when he heard a mention of Hassan's name
  • Hassan's reaction to mothers return - "I guess some stories do need telling". Offhand remark about minor character, implication of significance to rest is clear - w/out this novel many people unaware of life in Aghan. Puts name and face to citizens that otherwise exist clear one of most important reasons for writing book is share historical info in compelling manner. Amir is fiction narrative based on fact, info about life in Afghan makes historical novel
  • Critics view Hassan as Christ figure, foregiveness to mother who abandoned him support. Identify similarities between Islam + Christianity + consider overlapping ideas + beliefs another e.g. of universality.
  • Other critics - need to find Christian figure in text of so few + find such characterisation as demeaning and insensitive
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Violence/betrayal in Chapter 17

  • Hassan's control w/ Farzana beaten by young Taliban official. Although outraged, knows interference will be shot on sight leaving son fatherless. His actions contrast Amir's who lived a life of privilige, yet not used position in society to advocate for change
  • Fruitless pomegranate tree - symbolises Afghan under Taliban. Once beautiful and bountifu; has become desolate and barren. Yet tree is still there as is physical reminder of past that Hassan and Amir have shared
  • Despite Hassan's shocking murder, critics consider essential part of novel. Realistic portrayal of sensless violence captures atrocity of life under Taliban. No fairytale ending/direct resolution between Amir and Hassan. News Hassan's parentage shock. 2 shocking pieces of info right after each other enable readers to experience what Amir does, suprise + indignation is nothing compared to reality
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Guilt and early redemption Chapter 18

  • Amir's decision to search for Sohrab = 1st steps to atoning past. Argued accepts inability to sire children as punshment, passive acceptance as nothing he needs to do and is not conscious decision on his part. Amir's willingness to do something for someone else, even if jeopardises own life demo's first time perhaps thinking of another before self
  • Critics - decision curious makes w/out consulting wife, evidence as modern as Amir's sensibilities seem to be, still views women as 2nd class. Others view decision as maturity + love, protecting her
  • RK manipulated Amir as he ponders the info request received, Amir's thoughts run guilt, anger, shame and pride. Realises RK more like his father than he ever realised and opportunity to finally fight for himself
  • Foreshadowing. Samovar house thinking about all Amir notices table legs had ring of brass balls. Amir tightens 1 ball that became loose and wishes own life could be fixed as easily. Readers wise to remember seemingly throwawy incident
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Present culture in Chapter 19

  • "Better to be miserable than rude" - Amir lying to Farid about lemon helping car sickness. Amir able to cling to Afghani view, despite people who did not leave Afghan viewing him now as an American. Raises issues of character himself - opposed to how others see him. Essential questions about nature of Amir's character are same questions applying to many: What does it  mean to be American? Or Afghani? Is it  just country of origin/birth? Is it socio-economic status? Is it combination of cultural + political leanings? Ultimately all about person's sense of identity and sense of self
  • Universality - issues e.g. hunger. Concluding image of chapter serves to represent hungry children, both in Afghan and world. Reader's understanding of global issues connects novel w/ real world just as repetition of action demos growth of character
  • Hiding money under mattress was small but significant gesture: unlike first time when Amir acted cowardly and selfish - this time thinks of others, another step on journey of atonement
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Familial relations/loss in Chapter 20

  • Most highly criticised passages is Amir's chance encounter w/ beggar who once taught his mother at Uni. Author attempts to address this by having Amir state neither he nor Farid comment upon what "most non-Afghans would have seen as an improbable coincidence". But his explanation = unsatifactory. Beggar exists to show amount fallen and suffered under Taliban, but this character could have achieved this purpose w/out unlikely coincience of having known mother. Other critics say info is necessary because completes symmetry w/ Hassan, whose mother physically returns
  • Scene at orphanage considered quite realistic + necessary. Difficulties of life under Taliban regime eposed. Zaman symbolises those who make impossible choices, sacrificing one for the sake of many
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Present revolution and change in Chapter 21?

  • Amir explicitly symbolises house "Like so much else in Kabul, my father's house was the picture of fallen splendor". Baba's life is one of fallen splendor + both Baba and General represent part of society no longer exists. Physicaly both Baba's hpuse + pomegranate tree represent a world that has passed on. Farid instructs Amir "Just forget it all. [Forgetting] makes it easier" But when one is not able to forget it is not easier. Not only can Amir not forget his past, but knows the only way life will be better is to face it - so is what he does
  • Mullah Nasruddin jokes equivilate "dumb blonde" used similarity Afghan w/ America. Jokes made expense others, usually not majority/easy targets, exist in most societies. Demo similarities between cultures, they demo humour often used as means of dealing w/ stressful + difficult situs + forge bond between relative strangers by finding common ground between 2
  • Hypocrisy of Taliban, Baba once said "God help us all if Afghanistan ever falls into their harnds" based on belief they were self-righteous + hypocritical. Baba was correct. Many Taliban critics contend it does not follow teaching of Koran but uses its interpretation of Koran to further own agenda
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Character development in Chapter 22

  • Amir alone important development. First time facing difficult situation. Difficult steps could mean into manhood
  • Waiting alone in building = suspense. Foreshadows x 2. Mention coffee table description but brass balls important as reminder of one in Pakistan, indirectly foreshadow ammoSohrab will use in slingshot. Eating group "the last bit of solid food I would eat for a long time" prepares reader for beating
  • Openly says he will survive "I gave him a good fight"
  • Mazar-i-Sharif massacre. Assef view Taliban, personal religious beleifs correct + dissenting beliefs others are wrong. Nothing wrong w/ force to exercises authority at expense of minority. Assef loves "ethic cleansing" unmistakenly relates to actions Taliban w/in context global monstosities - before reading people unaware massacre
  • Speaking w/out thinking = growth character. Assef "One-Eyed Assef". Sohrab and Hassans similarities. Align with David and the Goliath. 
  • Critics object Hassan + Sohrab - sexual abuse same man. Improbability + unbelievability. Asssef = Hitler
  • Speed of scene = quickness battle not focal pt narrative. Amir feels punishment fits crime
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Redemption in Chapter 23

  • Amir equating w/ Baba's indication Amir finally feels like a son his father can proud of. Amir's ability to stand up to Assef - own bear - marks change in his perception of self. No longer living in shadow of Hassan or his father
  • Lip injury similar to harelip - parallel to Hassan + bro connection. Critics disappointed w/ writing in this section - repetition of "clean down the middle" necessary imagery for readers to make connection. Indicate cannot make own connection
  • RK "True redemption is...when guilt leads to good". Refers to rescuing Sohrab and true = decision to parent him. - statement about faith, God and forgiveness.
  • Ends w/ collage images, "There is a way to be good again". "Again" indicates Amir was good at one time, and to be restored means atone for sins. Rescuing Sohrab is beginning not end of what to do
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Present Sohrab/redemption + change Chapter 24

  • Difficulty taking Sohrab to US mixed w/ mention of Raymond Andrews daughter suicide foreshadows Sohrabs attempts. Daily bath is metaphorical to cleanse perceived sins, scrubbing effort to deal w/ guilt + shame for all he had to endure. Razor foreshadows.
  • Critics divided by end. Contrast to red tape, suicide attempt considered realistic response based on experiences
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Redemption and close in Chapter 25

  • New guilt Amir has for what he did. Contrast to younger self now turns to God and inner strength for Sohrab. Sign of newfound strength, Amir stands up to General + newfound maturity, able to persevere w/ Sohrabs silence.
  • Many months covered not much happens to Sohrab. Meant to illustrate minimalist existence Sohrab has but how as events are out of headlines, people stop thinking + caring about them.
  • Author not explicitly answer to when/if Amir "becomes good again" leaving it to readers. Final image compelling - same lines  "For you, a thousand times over" - Amir takes off, running the kite. Amir doing something for another, connection to Hassan and helping newphew. Newfound maturity
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