The Kite Runner is a novel written by an Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini. When Hosseini was a child, his family moved from Afghanistan to France, and then to the USA. This experience is partially reflected in the narrative of the author. Hosseini has written three novels, and The Kite Runner “has sold millions of copies worldwide and been classified as one of a classic” (Khadawardi 2017, 88). In this essay, the summary of the story, information on the main characters and themes, as well as a personal opinion about the composition will be presented.
The Kite Runner: Summary of the Novel
The story revolves around the life of a young boy from Kabul, Amir. He lives with his father, Baba, a wealthy man who never has time to spend with his son. Amir feels jealous when he notices Baba’s cordial treatment of his friend, Hasan, the son of their servant. To deserve his father’s love, Amir decides to take part in the kite competition with Hassan. Even though the two boys could keep their kite in the sky for a long time and won the first part of the competition, the event ended tragically. Hassan runs away, trying to find a place where the kite fell. After waiting for him for a long time, Amir decides to follow his friend and becomes a witness to the rape of Hassan by his enemy Assef. Amir is scared to interfere and help his friend and decides to go away and pretend he did not see anything. Feeling guilty for what he did, Amir stops talking to Hassan and does not want to be his friend anymore. He blames him for being a thief, and Hassan and his father leave their home.
Soon, the Soviet Union troops intervene in Afghanistan. To save their lives, Amir and his father immigrate to the USA. Many years later, after his parent’s death, Amir receives a letter from a family friend. From this letter, he learns that Hassan was his brother and that he knew about Amir’s betrayal but still loved him until the end of his life. Unfortunately, Hassan died with his wife during demonstrations in their country, but their little son, Sohrab, managed to survive. He was sent to an orphanage, and the author of the letter asks Amir to save the child and take him to the USA. Amir decides to go to Afghanistan and finds his nephew there. Even though it turns out to be difficult for Amir to adopt him, he promises Sohrab never to send him to an orphanage again. One day, when Sohrab notices that Amir is about to break his promise, he tries to commit suicide. Even though the boy survives, he starts to keep to himself being silent most of the time. One day, Amir buys a kite for Sohrab, and, for the first time, he sees a smile on his face. Thus, it is not entirely clear if the story has a happy ending or not. Even the protagonist of the story mentions that he does not know for sure if the story of Hassan and his nephew, Sohrab, ends happily (Hosseini 2013). However, the author gives readers the hope that the characters of the story will eventually find peace and harmony.
The Main Characters and Themes of the Narrative
The protagonist of the story is Amir, a young boy who was born in a wealthy Afghan family. It is not possible to tell if the personage of Amir is positive or negative. On the one hand, his sneaky nature allows him to betray his best friend. On the other hand, he is capable of feeling guilty and admitting his mistakes. Trying to make amends, Amir uses “a chance to put to rest his tortured past” (Summary and Analysis of The Kite Runner 2016, 8). He puts much effort into taking Sohrab to the USA and giving him a better life.
Baba, the father of Amir and Hassan, also feels guilty for his affair with a servant’s wife. He considers it the worst sin he ever committed, and, in his desire to redeem himself, helps other people until the last days of his life. In contrast to his son Amir, Baba is a very independent and decisive person. However, it turned out that he was not brave enough to tell Amir and Hassan that they were brothers.
It is evident that Hassan and Amir have many differences. Even being unaware of the fact that Amir was his brother, he loved him and considered his best friend. He forgave Amir for his betrayals and was always ready to spend time with him. Amir, on the contrary, “never displayed his feelings toward Hassan” (Hosseini and Zohdi 2016, 37). It remains unclear if it is caused by the lack of Amir’s love for Hassan or by peculiarities of his personality. Being a very kind person, Hassan also forgave his mother, who left him when he was a child and sheltered her at his house during the war in the 1970s.
The main themes of the book are forgiveness and friendship. The author shows that for friendship, it does not matter if people have or do not have much in common. Hassan and Amir are two boys from two different worlds. Amir belongs to the aristocratic part of the society, while Hassan is from a low-income family of servants. Baba is a handsome man, and Hassan’s father is miserable and limp. Hassan has an ugly harelip, while the deformity of Amir is not noticeable from the outside. Despite all these differences, the two boys become soul mates and real friends. Unfortunately, Amir’s weakness and villainy trigger the end of their friendship. However, nothing can make Hassan stop communicating with his friend, even Amir’s betrayal. Being aware of every harmful deed done by Amir, Hassan is still looking up to Amir, ready to forgive him for everything. Thus, the author shows that forgiveness is the main element of people’s lives that helps individuals to build happiness.
Personal Opinion about the Composition
The Kite Runner is one of the rare novels that invite readers to feel all the mental experience of the protagonist. This novel evokes a strong emotional response of readers and teaches them to be braver in some situations to avoid regrets in the future. It also shows that sometimes people neglect those who are sincere with them, and when they realize that they made a mistake, it is sometimes too late. This book shows the weaknesses and vices of human nature and makes readers think about their behavior.
It can be concluded that the novel The Kite Runner contains many significant ideas about people’s relationships. It teaches how important it is to forgive betrayals, love despite all, and bring goodness to this world. It also makes readers think about protagonists’ emotions and feelings and involves them in the process of reflections on their life. The author created an engaging narrative that should be read by both youth and adults because it raises questions that are always topical for all generations.
Hosseini, Akram, and Esmaeil Zohdi. 2016. “The Kite Runner and the Problem of Racism and Ethnicity.” International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, vol. 74, 33-40.
Hosseini, Khaled. 2013. The Kite Runner. 10th ed. London: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC.
Khadawardi, Hesham. 2017. “Superego Guilt, Redemption and Atonement in Khaled Hosseini’s the Kite Runner.” International Journal of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Education 4 (2): 88-99.
Summary and Analysis of the Kite Runner: Based on the Book by Khaled Hosseini. 2016. New York: Worth Books.