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The Main Themes of Khaled Hosseini's 'The Kite Runner'

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“The language of friendship is not words but meanings.”- Henry David Thoreau. There are many valuable things in life, but a friendship is one of the most essential parts of our life, and the value of friendship is treasured fiercely. The Kite Runner is a tragic story of friendship, sacrifices, and betrayal, it is written by an Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini, published in 2003. The novel’s primary theme is a friendship between two Afghan boys, who grow up in the peaceful city of Kabul in Afghanistan in 1963, as well as a relationship between parents and their children. Social inequalities and themes of guilt and redemption feature prominently in the novel.

The story commences with the internal struggles of Amir, who is the narrator and the main character of the novel. He has conflicted with feelings about his father (Baba) and his friend (Hassan). Amir is jealous of the way Baba behaves Hassan, although he perceives that Hassan socially has a lower place in a society and he betrays him and tries to forget his treachery but in the end he faces it. Amir always feels ignored by his father and his lifelong desire is to earn his father’s approval. Baba is considered a hero and a leader in Kabul, he always seems to expect more from his son and due to lack of common interests he considers Amir weak and a coward. Baba is a good advisor to his son, and he believes that theft is the only sin and the biggest crime. “There is only one sin, and that is theft… when you tell a lie you steal someone’s right to the truth, and when you kill a man you steal a life.”

The novel focuses on a friendship between Amir and Hassan. Hassan is braver than Amir, and Amir feels that Baba prefers Hassan to himself. He never considers Hassan his friend because of social differences but Hassan is a very loyal servant, despite everything Amir has done he considers him his friend and he protects him. Hassan proves his loyalty and love when he sacrifices himself. He refuses to give the blue kite, as a result, he has been sexually attacked by Assef who is a childhood bully. The blue kite is important to Amir because it is the only chance that makes his father proud and it is a key to improve a father-son relationship.

The Kite Runner is a historical fiction novel since many of the events are based on the real-life experiences of the author as well as the nation of Afghanistan. It is set in Kabul and The United States between the 1970s and 2002. The story is told from the perspective of Amir. Houseini is interested in plot development more than charming us. He uses a flashback to reveal some necessary truth about the critical events and character’s past, he also uses foreshadowing to add some dramatic tension to create and increase anticipation and to develop some expectations about upcoming events. The novel is written clearly, and it is easy to read. It has an interesting technique in the dialogue and environmental awareness. The title fits incredibly well, the kites are a creative metaphor which acts as symbols of both Amir’s childhood happiness and his betrayal of Hassan… I enjoyed this novel because it is very readable and you can understand the problems in a simple coherent way. Friendship, betrayal and social inequalities are the main themes in the novel, and they are the same problems in our society today, this makes novel very realistic and exciting to read because you feel the story could really play today.

Ultimately, Houseini focuses on many aspects and how the complex relationship changes us to make the people we are today. Throughout the novel, he shows that atonement demands a specific sacrifice and the only way to build your future it is by learning from your mistakes you made in the past because the journey into the future starts in a person’s past.

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The Main Themes Of Khaled Hosseini’s ‘the Kite Runner’. (2019, April 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 19, 2021, from
“The Main Themes Of Khaled Hosseini’s ‘the Kite Runner’.” GradesFixer, 26 Apr. 2019,
The Main Themes Of Khaled Hosseini’s ‘the Kite Runner’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 19 Oct. 2021].
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