Themes:

Members: Anish, Allen, Alishya, Joji, Bri C.



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"For you a thousand times over!"


Loyalty and Friendship:


  • The main relationship that is depicted within the novel is the friendship between Amir and Hassan.
    • Although Amir is a Pashtun he befriends his servant, Hassan, who is a Sunni."But we were kids who had learned to crawl together, and no history, ethnicity, society, or religion was going to change that either. I spent most of the first twelve years of my life playing with Hassan."the-kite-runner.jpg
      • "Then he [Ali] would remind us that there was a brotherhood between people who had fed from the same breast, a kinship that not even time could break."
    • From the very beginning of their friendship, it is evident that Hassan is the more loyal friend.
      • Hassan would do whatever Amir asked.
        • "Sometimes, up in those trees, I talked Hassan into firing walnuts with his slingshot at the neighbor's one-eyed German shepherd. Hassan never wanted to, but if I asked,really asked, he wouldn't deny me. Hassan never denied me anything."
      • It is this loyalty, that changes their friendship forever.
        • "For you a thousand times over"
        • Hassan allows Assef to rape him so that he can return the last kite to Amir.
          • Amir witnesses this rape and does not try to defend Hassan.
          • This scene illustrates that Hassan would do absolutely anything for Amir, and Amir would never do the same.
        • Amir is enraged with Hassan's unwavering loyalty and attacks Hassan with pomegranates. Amir refuses to stop until Hassan fights back. Instead of attacking Amir, Hassan attacks himself.
          • This scene displays that Hassan would rather hurt himself than ever hurt Amir.
    • Even after being betrayed by Amir, Hassan still remains loyal.
      • When Amir accuses Hassan of stealing his money and belongings, Hassan submissively agrees. Hassan takes the blame for this crime and leaves Amir's home.
      • When Hassan gets married and has a son, he tells them of his wonderful friendship with Amir and leaves out Amir's betrayal.
        • "I am hopeful one day I will hold one of your letters in my hands and read of your life in America. Perhaps a photograph of you will even grace our eyes. I have told much about you to Farzana jan and Sohrab, about us growing up together and playing games and running in the streets. They laugh at the stories of all the mischief you and I used to cause!"
      • Hassan even dies in Amir's name.
        • The Taliban become furious when they find out that Hassan and his family is taking care of Amir's home. The Taliban order Hassan to leave the home; however, Hassan refuses to allow the Taliban to live in Amir's house. The Taliban kill Hassan and his wife for their disobedience.
          • "They told Hassan they would be moving in to supposedly keep it sage until I return. Hassan protested again. So they took him to the street—" / "No," I breathed. / "—and order him to kneel—" / "No. God, no." / "—and shot him in the back of the head."


Father-Son Relationships:

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Another reoccurring theme in Hosseini’s bestseller is the father-son relationship. In the novel we are given several examples of how fragile bonds between a father and a son could be.

Amir-Baba: The novel’s most prevalent and dynamic relationship.

  • “They do nothing but thumb their prayer beads and recite a book written in a tongue they don’t even understand…God help us all if Afghanistan ever falls into their hands.”(pg.17)
On page 17, Baba tells Amir the truth about the Mullahs and religion.
  • “A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything.”(pg.22)
The quotation above, Baba is not speaking directly to Amir but it sums up all that Baba is trying to teach Amir. He wants his son to be noble and “stand up” for himself when facing adversity.

  • ‘Then I saw Baba on the rooftop…And that right there was the single greatest moment of my twelve years of life, seeing Baba on that roof, proud of me at last.” (pg. 66)
Amir and Baba have never been close. Even worse, they have nothing in common; Amir loves to write and Baba loves sports. In chapter seven, Amir wins the kite running tournament and for the first time, Baba is proud of Amir.

  • “I am moftakhir Amir.”(pg. 131)
At Amir’s graduation, Baba is so proud; he even kisses Amir on the forehead. Amir and Baba’s relationship has shifted from strained and akward to pleasant.

Amir-Rahim: Rahim Khan serves as a second father to Amir, he even calls Amir jan a term of endearment in Afghanistan. Their relationship is ideal.

  • “You just need to let him find his way.”(pg. 22)
When Baba complains that Amir is a coward and helpless, Rahim defends him. He has full faith in Amir.
  • “May I have it Amir jan?”(pg. 31)
After Amir completes his first book, he shows it to Baba who is disinterested and unimpressed. As usual, Rahim saves the moment by taking interest in Amir and his love for writing. Later Rahim writes Amir a note, praising the book.

Hassan-Baba: From the beginning of the book, it is apparent that there is some strange bond between Baba and Hassan.
  • “Hassan, meet your birthday present.”(pg. 45)
In chapter five, Baba hires a plastic surgeon to fix Hassan’s harelip; this is an example of Baba’s love for Hassan.
  • “I haven’t seen much of Hassan the last few days,”(pg.82)
After Hassan is raped, he does nothing but sleep all day; Baba notices this and inquires about his where abouts





Social Class:


Social class is one of the most important themes found in The Kite Runner.Amir and Hassan are
two children found on either side of the social class system in Kabul. The Pashtuns and Hazaras
are these two groups

The Pashtuns
  • This is the more dominant of the two groups.external image Pashtun.jpg
  • They reside mainly in the eastern, southern, and southwestern parts of Afghanistan.
  • The origin of the Pashtun people is not yet understood, but many scholars believe that they are lost tribes of Isreael that were converted to Islam.
  • This group is made up of seven main tribal groups. These are the Durrani, Ghilzai, Jaji, Mangal, Safi, Mamund, and Mohmand.
  • Male Pashtuns must center their lives around the idea of Pashtuwali.
  • Pashtuwali is the code of behavior that is expected of all Pashtuns. This code strongly encourages autonomy, bravery, self-respect, respecting others, and defending honor.
  • Pashtuns stress power and control. They have a huge influence in the government.All male Pashtuns are expected to have a firm grip on his property, wife, and any female relatives. If a Pashtun is disgraced, they are strongly encouraged to retaliate and take revenge.
  • The Pashtins consider themselves to be the most powerful group in Afghanistan; they believe they are higher than everyone else. This is why Pashtuns can only marry other Pashtuns.

The Hazaras
  • This group is the "lower class" of Kabul. They immigrated to Kabul from mainly rural areas in the second half of the twentieth century; they are originally from Turkey.external image afghanistan-hazara-hdr.jpg
  • The Hazaras are the third largest ethnic group in Afghanistan.
  • Since they are considered lower than anyone else, the Hazaras marry within their community.
  • They tend to have the same jobs from generation to generation. Thesejobs are often called Hazara occupations.
  • The men are jugded based on their generosity, their job,and their ability to recite poetry. A good reputation for a man is built by generous donations.


Transgression-Redemption:



· Transgression and Redemption aretwo themes that are prevalent throughout the entire story. From the start, Amir has been fighting for his father’s love. Feeling as though it was
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his fault that his mother died, Amir holds himself responsible to redeem himself in the eyes of his father, Baba.
o Amir attempts to gain his father’s admiration through the use of the sport of Kite Running.
§ “Baba was telling me about the time he’d cut fourteen kites on the same day. I smiled, nodded, laughed at all the right places, but I hardly heard a word he said. I had a mission now. And I wasn’t going to fail Baba. Not this time.” (56-57)
o Amir and Hassan go on to win one of the largest tournaments ever held in Kabul, however, they run into trouble when they try to retrieve the final kite, which is a sign of great respect among kite runners and Amir’s Father.
§ Assef, a local bully, decides that he wants the kite, however, Hassan would not stand for that. Therefore he stands against Assef and his lackeys, knowing that he would lose regardless.
· “…I caught a glimpse of his face. Saw the resignation in it. It was a look I had seen before. It was the look of the lamb.” (76)
§ Amir simply watches as Assef rapes Hassan right before his eyes, aware of the fact that if he got involved, the kite would be lost and if the kite was lost, so was his chance of redeeming himself.
· In an attempt to redeem himself, Amir ends up creating more transgression for himself, by watching a
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Sacrificial Lamb?

beloved friend get raped and not assisting him, all for the sake of the final kite.
o Sick of being around Hassan after the incident, Amir plants a pocket watch and a wad of cash under Hassan’s bed and claims that he had stolen it. As a result, Hassan yet again plays the “sacrificial lamb”, just as he had done before during the rape incident.
§ “I lifted Hassan’s Mattress and planted my new watch and a handful of Afghani bills under it.” (104)
o Clearly, Amir only traps himself under more transgression by now destroying the Fourty year relationship that Baba, and Hassan’s Father, Ali, had all this time.
· Time passes by and a revolution as over taken the country, therefore, Amir and Baba head out to America.
o Being in America, Amir tries to forget his past sins, but he realizes that he would never be able to get away from it.
o He goes back to Kabul as an adult, where he meets up with Rahim Khan, who tells him about Hassan and how he has been living since. Rahim exposes the truth behind Baba, Ali, and Hassan, by stating that Hassan and Amir were actually half brothers. He goes on to telling Amir about Hassan’s child, who was now left alone because both Hassan and his wife were murdered by the Taliban.
§ This is the start of Amir’s redemption.
§ By finding, and taking care of Sohrab as his own, Amir is finally acquitted for his sins against Ali and Hassan, while he was a child.


Political Unrest: external image egypt-rocks.jpg


The political situation in Afghanistan plays a significant role in the novel:

  • As you read through the novel, you can notice the political change that occurs in the nation through the changes that occur in the lives of the characters.
  • During Amir's narration of his childhood in the beginning of the novel, we can notice the calm state of Kabul when it was under the monarchy and the republic:
    • "People hugged and kissed and greeted each other with "Eid Mubarak." Happy Eid. Children opened gifts and played with dyed hard-boiled eggs." (44)
    • The quote illustrates the calmness and joyfulness that was present in the lives of the Afghans at this time.
    • "I loved wintertime in Kabul. I loved it for the soft pattering of snow against my window at night, for the was fresh snow crunched under my black rubber boots..."(49)
    • This quote portrays the beauty of Kabul that the citizens enjoyed before the invasion of the Soviets and the reign of the Taliban.
  • However, as the novel progressed, they began to see how the Soviet invasion and quarrel between Afghan rival groups began to destroy the nation:
    • "Huddled together in the dining room and waiting for the sun to rise, none of us had any notion that a way of life had ended.” (36)
    • Amir said this when they began to hear and feel the shootings and explosions outside the house. Later, Baba informs them that the king's cousin, Daoud Khan had taken over the king's throne.
    • This becomes the reason that Assef was able to intimidate Hassan and Amir because he todl the boys that his father was good friends with the president.Thus, empowering Assef to sexually abuse Hassan. This event is the major turning point in Amir's life and it was influenced by the political unrest in Kabul.
    • "Said the soldier wanted a half hour with the lady in the back of the truck."(115)
    • When Baba and Amir, along with some other refugees were fleeing from Kabul, Russian soldier stopped them and harassed one of the refugees in a sexual manner, which shows the power the Soviets held during this time in the book.external image taliban-shooting-women.jpg
  • Later in the book, when the Taliban takes over Kabul, the whole nature of Afghanistan alters. During this time, Amir and his father have been living in America. However, when Amir returns to Kabul in an effort to save Haasan's son, Sohrab, he encounters the Taliban:
    • ""What mission is that?" I heard myself say. "Stoning adulterers? Raping children? Flogging women for wearing high heels? Massacring Hazaras? all in the name of Islam?"" (284)
    • This happens after Amir witnesses the massacre of the individuals in the stadium. Assef was given a position as a member of the Taliban, which enabled him to do as he pleased. Therefore, Amir confronts Assef in order to save Sohrab from the Taliban. Although, he manages to save Sohrab in the end, he is badly injured and hospitalized for days. This event was the second most important turning point, which was influenced by the political unrest, in Amir's life because it allowed him to redeem himself for his past actions.
  • Throughout the novel, the political unrest in Afghanistan plays a major role in influencing the lives of the characters, especially Amir.

Lost of Innocence: