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The Kite Runner

Khaled Hosseini

Style

Main ideas Style

The Kite Runner’s style is personal and immediate. Because the novel is framed as a recollection of Amir’s life, the opening pages describe Amir receiving a call from his “past of unatoned sins,” and establishes that something happened in “the winter of 1975” that shaped the rest of his life, solidifying Amir’s voice and personal development as central to The Kite Runner. The rest of the novel plays out like a memoir, with Amir retelling his past as if the events are presently happening. Frequently, Amir’s ruminations border on hyperbolic, as when he describes his childhood kite-fighting victory: “And that right there was the single greatest moment of my twelve years of life, seeing Baba on that roof, proud of me at last.” While the sentiment is true, Amir’s word choice reveals that many moments in his past may be exaggerated in his adult mind.

Throughout the novel, Amir has a tendency to describe the action cinematically, as if he is viewing his life as a movie-goer would. For example, he describes his observation of Hassan and Assef in the alley with short, choppy sentences:

Then he charged. Hassan hurled the rock. It struck Assef in the forehead. Assef yelped as he flung himself at Hassan, knocking him to the ground. Wali and Kamal followed. I bit my fist.

This style mimics that of directions in a Hollywood-style script, moving along the plot of The Kite Runner without getting bogged down in descriptive prose. The language in these scenes of external action stands in stark contrast to the more melodramatic, exaggerated musings Amir uses to describe his inward longings and personal struggles.