The narrator and the protagonist of the story. Amir is the sensitive and
intelligent son of a well-to-do businessman in Kabul, and he grows up with a sense
of entitlement. His best friend is Hassan, and he goes back and forth between acting
as a loyal friend and attacking Hassan out of jealousy whenever Hassan receives
Amir’s father’s affection. Amir is a gifted storyteller and grows from aspiring
writer to published novelist. His great desire to please his father is the primary
motivation for his behavior early in the novel, and it is the main reason he allows
Hassan to be raped. From that point forward, he is driven by his feelings of guilt
as he searches to find a way to redeem himself. Ultimately he does so through
courage and self-sacrifice, and he tells his story as a form of
in-depth analysis of Amir.
Amir’s best friend and half-brother as well as a servant of Baba’s.
Hassan proves himself a loyal friend to Amir repeatedly, defending Amir when he is
attacked and always being ready to listen. His defining traits are bravery,
selflessness, and intelligence, though his smarts are more instinctual than bookish,
largely because he is uneducated. As a poor ethnic Hazara, he is considered an
inferior in Afghan society, and he is the victim of racism throughout the novel as a
result. He is Baba’s illegitimate child, though he is not aware of this fact, and he
grows up with Ali acting as his father. His rape is an early catalyst in the story,
and even though he is not present in a significant portion of the novel, he plays a
major role throughout.
in-depth analysis of Hassan.
Father of Amir and Hassan and a wealthy, well-respected businessman. Baba
believes first and foremost in doing what is right and thinking for oneself, and he
tries to impart these qualities to Amir. He also never lets anyone’s lack of belief
in him stop him from accomplishing his goals. Although he distrusts religious
fundamentalism, he follows his own moral code and acts with self-assurance and
bravery. When necessary, he is even willing to risk his life for what he believes
in. Yet his shame at having a child with a Hazara woman leads him to hide the fact
that Hassan is his son. Because he cannot love Hassan openly, he is somewhat distant
toward Amir and is often hard on him, though he undoubtedly loves
in-depth analysis of Baba.
Acting father to Hassan and a servant of Baba’s. Ali is defined by his
modesty more than anything, and he works diligently as Baba’s servant. He loves
Hassan deeply, though he rarely expresses his emotions outwardly. Poor and an ethnic
Hazara, he suffers from partial paralysis of his face and walks with a limp caused
Son of Hassan and Farzana. In many ways, Sohrab acts as a substitute for
Hassan in the novel, and he is a central focus of the plot in the later sections of
the book. He is also an ethnic Hazara and is great with a slingshot. His character
arc takes him from being a normal little boy to the traumatized victim of sexual and
physical abuse, and he goes from speaking very little to not at all.
Hassan’s and Sohrab’s rapist and the novel’s antagonist. Assef represents
all things wrong in Afghanistan. A racist who wishes to rid Afghanistan of Hazaras,
he is incapable of remorse and enjoys inflicting violence and sexual abuse on those
who are powerless. He even claims Hitler as a role model.
Friend of Baba and Amir. Rahim Khan is Baba’s closest confidant, and the
one man who knows all of Baba’s secrets. For Amir, he serves a father figure, often
giving Amir the attention he craves and filling the holes left by Baba’s emotional
Amir’s driver and friend. A former mujahedin fighter, Farid is at first
gruff and unfriendly. But he becomes a valuable and loyal friend to Amir in Amir’s
search to find and rescue Sohrab. He is missing toes and fingers from a landmine
explosion and represents the difficulties that many Afghans faced in the years of
warfare that ravaged the country.
Hassan’s mother and Ali’s wife for a time. Though Sanaubar is infamously
immoral in her youth and abandons Hassan just after he is born, she proves herself a
caring grandmother to Sohrab when she reappears later in the novel.
Amir’s wife. Soraya is steady, intelligent, and always there for Amir
when he needs her. She can be strong-willed like her father, General Taheri, and
deplores the way women are often treated in Afghan culture.
Soraya’s father and a friend of Baba. General Taheri is proud to the
point of arrogance at times, and he places great value on upholding Afghan
traditions. He is in many ways the stereotypical Afghan male, both in his roles as a
father and husband.
General Taheri’s wife and Soraya’s mother. Jamila plays the part of the
typical Afghan wife and mother. She obeys her husband without question and wants
nothing more than to see her daughter married.
A boy from Amir’s and Hassan’s neighborhood. Cowardly and conformist,
Kamal helps Assef rape Hassan. After he is raped himself, he becomes a symbol of the
brutality that destroys Afghanistan.
Soraya’s uncle. When Sharif first appears, he is just a minor figure at
Soraya’s and Amir’s wedding. Later, however, he becomes instrumental in helping to
get Sohrab into the United States.
Amir’s mother. Though Sofia died during childbirth, Amir knows she loved
literature as he does. Amir seeks information about her at various points in the
Hassan’s wife and Sohrab’s mother. Farzana appears only briefly, but in
that time she is portrayed as a loving mother.
One of the boys from the neighborhood who helps Assef to rape Hassan.
Wali is depicted as a conformist.