What are four examples of metaphors in The Kite Runner?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Examples of metaphors in Khaled Hosseini's novel, The Kite Runner, include:

  • SCARS.  Many of the characters have physical scars: Baba's back, from where he was attacked by a bear; Hassan's harelip; and Assef's scars received from the Russians are just a few. But there are mental scars as well: Amir's regrets for his transgressions against Hassan; Baba's guilt (shown through his philanthropy) over his family secrets; and Soraya's guilt for causing her mother's stroke. They all serve as a larger metaphor for the scars that the nation of Afghanistan receives during its wars against the Russians and the Taliban. 
  • KITES.  The kite serves as a metaphor in several ways--for the innocence of youth, freedom (the Taliban later bans kite-flying), the need for attention (especially the blue kite with which Amir wins the tournament), and at the end, the peace between Amir and Sohrab..
  • POMEGRANATE TREE.  The tree where Amir and Hassan meet as children represents their innocence, friendship and even shelter. When Amir returns years later, it is dying; only the memory of the children's time together remains, as their still visible carvings symbolizes. 
  • DREAMS.  Amir's dreams and nightmares serve as a metaphor for facing one's fears as well as for his aspirations and desires.
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jameadows | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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There are several examples of figurative language in The Kite Runner. For example, Amir says of Hassan's cleft lip that it is where "the Chinese doll maker's instrument may have slipped; or perhaps he had simply grown tired and careless." In this metaphor, Amir compares Hassan to a Chinese doll who was constructed by a careless doll maker whose instrument slipped, creating a cleft lip on Hasan's otherwise perfect face. 

In another example, Amir says, "People say that eyes are windows to the soul. Never was that more true than with Ali, who could only reveal himself through his eyes." In this metaphor, eyes are compared to conduits to the soul, and Ali, who has a paralysis of the lower muscles in his face, can only express himself through his eyes.

When Amir and Hassan go to Gharga Lake, Amir says, "The water was a deep blue and sunlight glittered on its looking glass–clear surface." In this metaphor, the placid waters of the lake are compared to the smooth glass on a mirror's surface.

When Amir describes sitting on Baba's lap, he says, "Then he lowered himself into the leather sofa, put down his drink, and propped me up on his lap. I felt as if I were sitting on a pair of tree trunks." In this metaphor, Baba's powerful legs are likened to tree trunks, conveying Baba's strength. Later, Rahim Khan tells Baba, "Children aren't coloring books. You don't get to fill them with your favorite colors." In this metaphor, children are differentiated from coloring books, which people can color in any way they like. Instead, children are their own creation, and parents can't control the way they turn out. 

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