Two of the most recurring motifs in The Kite Runner are those of scars and dreams. Many of the characters have scars--both physical and mental. Ali's whole family is scarred: Ali is crippled physically; emotionally, he lives with the knowledge that his wife has given birth--via Baba--to a son, Hassan, who has a cleft lip. Hassan also has emotional scars: His closest companion, Amir, betrays him, yet he bears him no malice. Hassan's mother, Sanaubar, returns after a long absence, and she, too, is terribly scarred and toothless; her life since leaving Ali has been one filled with horror. Hassan's son, Sohrab, eventually bears the emotional scars of being a sexual play toy of the Taliban. The scars serve as a visible reminder to the Afghani people's decades of war and ethnic violence.
Amir's dreams are used to remind him of his past. Many of them are nightmares, but some recall the good life he experienced as a boy. They also serve to reveal his desires and aspirations as well as to show the metaphorical difference between appearances and reality. In one memorable example, Amir dreams of Hassan's death at the hands of the Taliban. For Amir, it is merely a terrifying dream-state; for Hassan, it is truly a living nightmare followed by his, and then his wife's, death.