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The Kite Runner

Khaled Hosseini

Key Facts

Important Quotations Explained

Study Questions and Essay Topics

full title ·  The Kite Runner

author · Khaled Hosseini

type of work · Novel

genre · Bildungsroman; Redemption story

language · English

time and place written · Los Angeles, CA; 2001 - 2003

date of first publication · May 2003

publisher · Riverhead Books

narrator ·  The Kite Runner is narrated by Amir four days after the final events of his decades-long story.

point of view · The narrator speaks in the first person, primarily describing events that occurred months and years ago. The narrator describes these events subjectively, explaining only how he experienced them. At one point, another character briefly narrates a chapter from his own point of view.

tone · The tone is confessional, expressing profound remorse throughout the story

tense · Past tense with extended flashbacks

setting (time) · 1975 through 2001

setting (place) · Kabul, Afghanistan; California, United States

protagonist · Amir

major conflict · After failing to intervene in the rape of his friend Hassan, Amir wrestles with his guilt and tries to find a way to atone for his actions.

rising action · Forced out of Afghanistan by the Soviet invasion, Amir flees to the United States, where he tries to rebuild his life until an old friend offers him a way to make amends for his past.

climax · Amir returns to Kabul, where he finds Hassan’s son, Sohrab, and encounters Assef, the man that raped Hassan twenty-six years earlier.

falling action · Amir rescues Sohrab from a life of physical and sexual abuse and struggles to learn how he and Sohrab can recover from the traumas each has endured.

themes · The search for redemption; the love and tension between fathers and sons; the intersection of political events and private lives; the persistence of the past

motifs · Rape; irony; regressing in time

symbols · The cleft lip; kites; the lamb

foreshadowing · Baba wonders if Amir will be able to stand up for what is right when the time comes; Baba worries that Islamic fundamentalists will one day control Afghanistan; Hassan threatens to shoot Assef’s eye out; Assef vows revenge on Amir.

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