What is the significance of the title "The Kite Runner"?
As was mentioned in the previous post, kite flying in Afghanistan is very popular. Throughout the novel, Amir and Hassan join and win Kabul's kite-fighting tournament. Hassan, Amir's best friend who happens to be a Hazara, is the kite runner. Hassan's job is to chase down the opposition's kite once Amir cuts it down in flight in order to win the tournament. Amir mentions that Hassan was the most talented kite runner in the city of Kabul. After Amir cuts the final kite down in the tournament, Hassan runs to retrieve the kite for the victory. Unfortunately, Amir ends up following Hassan and watches from a safe distance as Assef rapes Hassan because he refuses to give up the kite. This moment severely impacts Amir and Hassan's relationship. Amir feels extremely guilty for not stopping Assef and distances himself from Hassan. For the remainder of the story, Amir seeks redemption for abandoning his friend. The story's title is associated with Hassan, Amir's loyal best friend and kite runner. Amir's decision to not help his friend is what drives him to return to Afghanistan to seek redemption.
Flying a kite--or kite running--is as much of a national sport in Afghanistan as playing baseball or football is in the United States. The title refers to the characters Hassan, the good friend of Amir, who is the narrator of the story. It also refers to the event that changes the lives of both of these boys, the competitive kite running that Amir wins, with the help of Hassan, after which Amir shames himself by not coming to the aid of Hassan when he needs him. Besides referring to these characters and these events, the title also refers the freedom of the kite made possible by controlling it through manipulation of the spool. The freedom, then, is only partial, but beautiful, a cooperation, in this case, between 2 boys and nature. Because this is a story of their friendship, naming the book Kite Runner, captures all of these aspects of it.