Study Guide for The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini Book Summary|
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The theme of manís inhumanity to man is a theme which makes the
reader think about how we torture each other because of our need for power
in our lives. It is true as seen in this novel that there are essentially
evil individuals who are impossible to redeem and that the evil they do
affects all people around them. Assef is such a character. He enjoys hurting
others physically, emotionally, and psychologically. If there is a Hell,
he is bound for it. However, there is also the evil found in all of us,
no matter how good we are most of the time, which allows us to do bad
things to those we love the most. The reasons may vary for why we commit
such sins, but in the end, it is all about needing some sort of power
in our lives. Fortunately, this evil is redeemable when we are ready to
atone and right the wrongs we have committed. Amir is such a man. He is
essentially good, but the evil he does as a child follows him into his
adulthood and he must find a way to expiate those sins for his own sake
and also for the sake of Sohrab.
Another theme that is emphasized throughout is that of the fragile relationship between fathers and sons. Amir spends his entire life trying to be the son who will not disappoint his father and making up for the death of his mother who died while giving birth to him. Many of the sins he commits are in the hopes that his father will believe in him, embrace him, and tell him how proud of him he is.
It is only when Amir grows up, watches how valiantly his father faces
his own death, and then returns to Afghanistan to right the wrongs he
had committed that he realizes that his father had always loved him and
was proud of him. It is unfortunate that men find it difficult to show
their love to their sons for fear of somehow being less of a man. Amir
would have loved to have had such a relationship all of his life and we
who watch him struggle to find it identify with his need for parental
Another theme would be loyalty and devotion. This is especially evident
in the relationship between Amir and Hassan. Despite the fact that Hassan
is actually Amirís half-brother, he is his servant, because no one but
Baba and Ali know the truth. Nonetheless, even though Hassan is the victim
of discrimination and class structure, he is completely devoted and loyal
to Amir, both as his servant and as his friend. It takes Amir many years
to atone for how terribly he treated the loyalty and love that Hassan
always offered no matter what the circumstances.
A final theme involves discrimination, bigotry, and class structure in
Afghan society. Hassan and Ali are members of the Hazaras, a minority
group of Afghanis who follow Islamic beliefs called Shiía. Amir and his
father are Pashtuns, the majority, who believes they are a better class
than the Hazara and who follow the Sunni sect of Islam. Because of this
bigotry and basic class structure, it is very difficult for anyone to
marry into another class and the Hazara are often victims of physical,
emotional and psychological abuse at the hands of Pashtuns. This is partly
why Amir does not come to Hassanís rescue when he is attacked by Assef
At times, the mood of The Kite Runner is tragic, filled with despair, and very sad; at other times, it is uplifting and hopeful. Finally, it is a triumphant commentary on the human spirit.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on The Kite Runner".
. 10 May 2008