The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini - MonkeyNotes by PinkMonkey.com
KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS
The story takes place in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the United States from 1975 until the present day.
- He is the narrator of the story who tells how he grew up in Afghanistan and the sins he had committed
against his friend and half-brother, Hassan. It is his journey to redemption that is the premise of this tale.
- He is the best and kindest character in the story. He is Amir’s best friend and as Amir later learns, he
is also his half-brother. He faces discrimination every day, because he is a Hazara, a minority whom the
Pashtuns treat like slaves. The sins committed against him – being raped by Assef while Amir does nothing to
help him – are immediately forgiven, because he loves Amir so much.
- He is Amir and Hassan’s father, but because it would be shameful to admit Hassan, a Hazara, was his
son, the secret remains hidden long after his death. In Amir’s mind, he is larger than life, the man who was
supposed to have wrestled a bear. But, in reality, he was a man tormented by his secrets. He dies in America,
never again going home to his beloved Afghanistan. While he lives there, he is poor and often dirty from his
job. So the way he is forced to live and the fact that he can never go home again may be his punishment for
what he did to both Amir and Hassan. Amir knows, however, that like him, his father is basically a good man
who finds a way to be good again.
- His character is that of the loyal servant to Baba and a father figure to both Hassan and Amir. He often
suffers humiliation at the hands of Pashtun boys like Assef, but he never bends his will to them and continues to
be a figure of goodness.
- He is Hassan’s son and the boy for whom Amir faces the Taliban to free. Like his father, he is raped
by Assef and later betrayed by Amir. He even tries to commit suicide after Amir breaks his promise not to put
him in an orphanage. However, Amir’s willingness to help Sohrab face life again saves them both.
- Amir’s wife, she, too, suffers from mistakes she made as a young woman, but accepts her humiliation
for running away with a man and becomes a good, decent human being. She is denied motherhood, perhaps
because that is how she must expiate her own sins. However, she is rewarded when Sohrab becomes her son
and she and Amir finally have a complete family.