The Kite Runner

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The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner is the story of Amir, a Sunni Muslim, who struggles to find his place in the world because of the aftereffects and fallout from a series of traumatic childhood events. An adult Amir opens the novel in the present-day United States with a vague reference to one of these events, and then the novel flashes back to Amir's childhood in Afghanistan. In addition to typical childhood experiences, Amir struggles with forging a closer relationship with his father, Baba; with determining the exact nature of his relationship with Hassan, his Shi'a Muslim servant; and eventually with finding a way to atone for pre-adolescent decisions that have lasting repercussions. Along the way, readers are able to experience growing up in Afghanistan in a single-parent home, a situation that bears remarkable similarities to many contemporary households.

Summary

Themes

The search for redemptionThe love and tension between fathers and sonsThe intersection of political events and private livesThe persistence of the past

Main Characters

Amir The narrator and protagonist; a Pashtun and Sunni Muslim. Baba Amir's father, who is considered a hero and leader in Kabul. Hassan Amir's playmate and servant; a Hazara and Shi'a Muslim; son to Ali. Sohrab Hassan's son. Like his father, Sohrab is excellent with a slingshot. Sohrab is the bait that Rahim Khan uses to lure Amir back to the Middle East. Rahim Khan Baba's best friend and business partner; father-figure to Amir. Assef A Kabul bully who ends up joining the Taliban. Soraya Amir's wife. Ali Hassan's father; servant to Baba. Having suffered from polio as a child, Ali has a crippled leg and is teased by kids in Kabul.

The Kite Runner spans multiple countries and multiple decades, but at its center is Afghanistan. Even when the novel shifts settings to the United States, Hosseini describes the burgeoning Afghan-American community.

1. What role does religion play in the lives of Baba, Amir, and Assef, and in the novel as a whole?2. How does the author, Khaled Hosseini, use irony in the novel?3. What is the significance of rape in the novel?

Study Questions

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