English / The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner

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Autor:  anton  12 May 2011
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The Kite Runner

The Story of a Past that Remains In The Present

The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is a powerful novel written about a man named Amir and a tragedy in his past that torments him even twenty-six years later. As he goes on in life, Amir experiences a myriad of emotional events, and each one conveys a message about life in general. But the most important lesson is that the tragedy in his youth will remain in his mind forever because he knows he will never be able to change the past.

The novel is about a man named Amir, who witnesses a terrible sexual assault on his friend, Hussan. Amir views the attack from a distance behind a mud wall, but doesn’t help his friend. Afterward, he is filled with guilt and embarrassment about the entire affair, and he closes off his relationship with Hussan as a result. This memory haunts him later in life, and he spends a lot of time thinking about it. Even at the time, Amir keeping silent about the incident causes him to lose sleep. This episode in Amir’s past has obviously affected him traumatically, resulting in the loss of his innocence at such a young age. Even his friends letter that ends with “There is a way to be good again” doesn’t help Amir with his grief.

Amir’s mother died giving birth which also took its toll on his innocence. He had to grow up faster and take on more responsibilities. His family is one of the richest families in Kabul with his father’s businesses, and therefore, he has a much better life than most. His father doesn’t respect him though, and one day Amir overhears him telling his best friend about how Amir doesn’t have a backbone. Amir has always been somewhat of a comformist, and when others urge him to do something or even insult him, Amir does not speak up for himself. He merely goes along with the crowd. When Baba, Amir’s father, acknowledges this weakness, Amir is very hurt.

Later, after the boy Assef raped Amir’s friend, Hussan, Amir has a birthday party, and invites Assef anyway. When Assef presents a gift to him, Amir does not say anything, and further, he accepts the present gratefully. This is exactly the kind of weak conformity his father resents in him. Amir’s conscience nags at him, but he ignores it during this time, continuing to befriend Assef and completely cutting off his friendship with Hussan. All along, even at the height of their friendship, Amir never would call Hussan a friend, simply for the fact that he was of a lower class. Instead, he conform to the ideas of elitists and when Hussan is even further ashamed and abused by Assef, that just gives Amir a good reason to never speak to him again. But despite this, decision, Amir still feels raging guilt inside him: “I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.”

When Baba and Amir leave Saudi Arabia and travel to Pakistan, the travel is daunting and dangerous. Once they arrive, they meet a boy named Kamal, who has been raped just like Hussan, and now does not speak as a result of it. When they travel on, Kamal dies on the trip just after Amir has made friends with him and his father. The sight of the dead boy is traumatic and thus, affects Amir’s waning innocence. As a result of the boy’s death, his father commits suicide, adding to the corruption of Amir’s thoughts.

Amir and Baba make their way to America, which was all done solely for the purpose of giving Amir more opportunities. Baba hates America and his job at a gas station. When Amir decides to major in English, this displeases his father substantially, but Amir rebels and majors in what he loves anyway. Soon after, he begins dating a girl named Soraya, who has a secret she is afraid will make Amir not want to marry her. She once ran away with a man for a month and lived with him. Instead of being angry, Amir merely envies her because her secret is out, while his still festers inside him.

Even as an adult, Amir does not learn how to stand up for his own rights. He and Soraya try desperately to have a child for a year in the natural way, but they are not successful. As a result, they consider other options. First on their list is in vitro fertilization, but this is unsuccessful. They then consider adoption, but when Soraya’s father objects to this, Amir merely complies weakly as he had in many scenarios throughout the novel.

Despite Amir’s inexcusable treatment of Hussan after the incident with Assef, Amir’s return to Pakistan proves that Hussan has missed him all along. He has asked about Amir, and although he now has a family and children, Hussan hasn’t forgotten their friendship. Since the Taliban have taken over the country, things are entirely different. Just before they have a chance to reunite, Hussan and his wife are shot dead by the Taliban. He never got to know that he was Baba’s son as well.

The news of his blood relationship to Hussan causes bitterness and tears to well up in Amir. He feels as though he has had his brother stolen from him; only now does he respect Hussan enough to acknowledge him. In his first selfless act, he goes to try and rescue Hussan’s son and when he stay with a family there, leaves enough food so they can eat and fill themselves. Amir’s character is gradually becoming stronger.

Amir and Assef meet again during this trip to Kabul, and they physically fight for the child of Hussan – Sohrab. Assef’s brutality makes Amir laugh although he is bleeding and badly injured; being beaten up by Hussan’s bully actually makes Amir feel a little better. Amir rebels against the Taliban and feels stronger as a result of it.

The Kite Runner is the story of a man’s guilt festering for many years. Although he resolves the torment of his conscience by the end of the novel, thoughts of times and events that he will never be able to change, might forever haunt him. This is the lesson of the novel. Strength and honor are important at all ages, because it is never the things that we do correctly that play over and over in our minds as time goes on. Rather, it is the blatant errors we make, that we will forever regret and never be able to change that haunt us no matter how many times we make amends.


Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner.

Jamar, Yenev. Asia Culture. New York: Penbrook Press, 2004

Rama, Khaleel. Middle Eastern Customs. Minneapolis: Mid-List Books, 2000

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