The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner is one of the contemporary bestselling novels written by Khaled Hosseini. It was published by the Riverhead Books in 2003. The story is set in the backdrop of fundamentalist Afghanistan society. It revolves around the life of two friends Amir and Hassan, ripped apart by their social and cultural differences.

About the author :

Khaled Hosseini is an Afghan-American author. The Kite Runner is his debut novel and is one of the New York Times Bestselling books. The author exhibits political, social and cultural challenges within the society in his novel.

Summary :

The Kite Runner chronicles the life of Amir and Hassan, who are friends and half-brothers. They live in a typical Afghan society, segregated by religion, class, and social status. The author vividly details the hardships endured by the boys in their live. Amir is a Pashtun, and so enjoys an elite social status. On the other hand, Hassan is a Hazara, designated as Amir’s servant. However, they both are half-brothers living together in the same house. Owing to the social class differences lying between them, they are prone to endure discrimination and betrayal.

With the years passing, Amir’ social privilege overshadow his own consciousness of what is right and what is wrong. As a result, the two friends encounter a series of traumatic incidences in their childhood that change their life. Since the social divisions separate them from each other’s values, they are unable to understand the society. As a result they react differently to the social segregations, domestic/sexual abuse, and atrocities surrounding them.

In their teenage, Amir becomes insecure of Hassan’s goodness and moral superiority. This makes him feel inferior in front of Hassan. As a result, he becomes jealous of Hassan and subsequently betrays him. At one instance, when Assef, another Pashtun, bullies and abuses Hassan, Amir makes no efforts to protect his friend. Instead, he allows the abuse to happen with the fear of confronting a Pashtun for the sake of a Hazara. This shows how class discrimination has instilled deep in Amir by the society. He even defiles Hassan, causing disruption in his household. His insecurity and jealousy goes to an extent of accusing Hassan and his father, Ali, of theft. As a result, both of them are sending away from the house.

However, after the exile and displacement of Hassan, Amir starts to regret. His guiltiness causes him to return back to his hometown and retaliate for his wrongdoings. Amir understands how he had not supported his true friend in times of need and lives with a lifelong guilt. So, to make things right, he attempts to save Hassan’s son, Sohrab. Amir risks his own life to save Sohrab from the Taliban forces and brings back home to U.S. He thinks this could be atonement for his previous betrayal acts. His inability to stop the transgression perpetuated on Hassan decades back makes his regret deeply. Thus, the novel ends with the comradeship renewed between the two friends through Sohrab.

The narrative provides familial aspects, pertaining to various themes such as exile, guilt, betrayal, displacement, kindness, and redemption. The story details the challenges of adolescent friends owing to their respective moral systems and values in the light of the social stigmas and ethnic conflict.