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The Kite Runner | Study Guide

Khaled Hosseini

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The Kite Runner | Chapter 1 | Summary



Chapter 1 opens in California, in December 2001. This is several thousand miles and 26 years after the most important events of the novel.

The first-person narrator Amir recalls that the previous summer, his friend Rahim called him from Pakistan and asked him to visit. In the voice of his friend Amir hears his "past of unatoned sins." He realizes that no matter how he tries to bury it, "the past claws its way out."

After hanging up the phone Amir goes for a walk in Golden Gate Park, where he sees a pair of kites in the sky and recalls a voice and face from his childhood. He then sits down on a bench, thinking about Rahim's words: "There is a way to be good again."


The opening chapter sets the reflective tone of the novel. By creating an older narrator who is looking back on his younger years, Hosseini is able to describe events without being limited by a child's vocabulary or perspective.

In the line "the past claws its way out" Hosseini drops a clue that Amir's past is somewhat monstrous, still alive, and capable of hurting him. Yet the other two quotations suggest that Amir was not the victim; rather he did something wrong that he needs to make right in order to be a good person now.

The shortness of this chapter urges the reader to turn the page to find out what this and the other clues mean.

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Questions for Chapter 1

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