The Kite Runner is considered to be an epic tale with one-dimensional characters. Why are one-dimensional characters useful in a novel like this?Thanks in advance!

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I also disagree that the novel contains only one-dimensional characters.  In fact, Hosseini takes a risk with using Amir as his narrator.  Normally, readers find narrators to be likable, or at the least, objective.  Amir is neither; yet at the novel's end, readers want him to be able to redeem himself.  While some of my students have argued that they "hate" Amir (especially after reading Chapters 7 and 8), none of them view him as one-dimensional by the novel's end.

It is true that one-dimensional characters like Assef (who is purely evil) or Hassan (who comes across as purely good) contribute significantly to the novel.  If Assef were not so despicable, readers might not dislike him so much and might feel sympathy for him when he and Amir face off.  Similarly, if Hassan weren't so loyal and forgiving, Amir's betrayal of him would not be so impelling.  Thus, the one-dimensional characters serve to advance the novel's plot and also to enable the reader to recognize more of the main characters' different faces.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't agree that all of the characters are one-dimensional: Amir and Baba, particularly, are fairly well-realized with many different aspects to their characters. Some of the other characters--specifically Ali, Assef and Sohrab--are rather one-dimensional. One-dimensionality tends to give characters more obvious definition: good or bad, honest or dishonest, strong or weak. Ali is a sympathetic character with few strong traits. Assef is pure evil with no positive, likable aspects. Sohrab is also highly sympathetic, one who has been take advantage of throughout his life. It becomes simpler for the reader to distinguish such characters (especially minor ones) in the narrative.

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The Kite Runner

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