The Kite Runner is based on a number of ironies, some obvious and others less so. Some of the easy examples are the difference between Baba’s status in Afghanistan and his status in America and Hassan’s less-than-equal treatment given his real identity as Baba’s son; these ironies form the basis for the central moral conflict in the book: Amir’s guilt over Hassan’s rape.
Perhaps a more subtle irony is the fact that the revelation of Hassan’s identity as Amir’s half-brother sparks a series of event that culminates in Amir’s adoption of Hassan’s orphaned son, Sohrab. It is ironic that it is only after Hassan’s death that his family connection to Amir is recognized; it is also ironic that Amir’s belief that he must “rescue” Sohrab stems from a sense of duty connected to his former social standing in Afghanistan, even though this social standing does not exist in the United States and has been wiped out by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Ultimately, the novel calls into question the idea of “family” and suggests that Afghan culture and tradition is independent of geography or wealth. It is ironic that Baba’s true family must be reconstructed by Amir in a country very different from Afghanistan.