The Kite Runner is written in the first-person point of view. Amir acts as both the protagonist and the narrator of the novel, meaning the reader experiences the story from his perspective. The novel’s first line establishes the precise moment that Amir’s narration will revolve around: “I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975.” Amir recounts his story in the past tense, describing the events that lead to his personal transformation and atonement for past sins against Hassan. The first-person point of view works to draw distinctions between the way Amir thought as a child and the way he thinks as an adult, and the reader is constantly privy to Amir’s self-assessment of his life and the choices he has made. For example, after running away from the alley where Assef rapes Hassan, Amir reflects: “I actually aspired to cowardice, because the alternative, the real reason I was running, was that Assef was right: Nothing was free in this world.”
Notably, the point of view of the novel shifts briefly from Amir to Rahim Khan in Chapter Sixteen. Rahim Khan not only supplies Amir with details about Hassan’s adult life, but he also provides a first-person perspective on the destruction of Afghanistan by political factions. For instance, Rahim Khan says: “Our ears became accustomed to the whistle of falling shells, to the rumble of gunfire, our eyes familiar with the sight of men digging bodies out of piles of rubble.” In shifting this chapter to Rahim Khan’s perspective, Hosseini allows the reader to receive a more detailed glimpse at the aftermath of war-torn Afghanistan, a setting that Amir largely escaped by fleeing to America.