How does the author Khaled Hosseini use narrative voice to present the impact of a childhood experience on adult life in 'The Kite Runner'?

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Kite Runner is a good first novel, but it has the flaws of a first novel: it is overly symmetrical, full of coincidences (that would make Dickens blush), a too convenient villain (a Nazi rapist, turned Taliban!), and an overbearing narrative voice.

The novel is a bildungsroman, a novel of maturity and coming-of-age, and a long confessional.  The narrator Amir tells us in flashback of his guilt early: “There is a way to be good again."  The novel begins with the premise: "I became what I am today at the age of twelve," which is a paradoxical way of presenting a coming-of-age tale.  Really, it's a "I came of age at age twelve and have been stuck there ever since" novel.  No need for Freud here: Amir is repressed.

So, we are geared up from the start for a guilt toward redemption payoff.  We know that he turned his back on Hassan.  We know his secret from childhood.  So, when he narrates the second "half" of the book, in America as an adult, we carry his guilt, and by the end we want to get rid of it as badly as he does.



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The Kite Runner

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