What is the significance of the title The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The story's title alludes to the popular Afghan competition of kite-fighting and specifically refers to Hassan's position as kite runner. The story is about Amir and Hassan's complex relationship, which takes a turn for the worse after Amir witnesses Hassan being raped by Assef following a kite-fighting tournament. Amir spends the rest of the novel attempting to atone for his past sins of allowing Hassan's rape and then distancing himself from his close friend. Amir and Hassan were initially kite-fighting partners, and Hassan was considered an excellent kite runner. When Amir would cut his competitor's kite, Hassan had the uncanny ability to track down the broken kite and outrun the other boys to capture it. Hosseini's title alludes to Hassan's position as Amir's kite-fighting partner and implies that Hassan plays a crucial role in the story.

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a great question. The title is about the most important incident in Amir's life. He witnesses the rape of Hassan as Hassan was going to look for the second place kite in a kite tournament. Amir sees the action, but he does not do anything to help his faithful friend. 

This cowardice of Amir shapes his life. And he can never forget it. He feels an overwhelming sense of guilt, because he knows that Hassan would die for him. Eventually he falsely accuses Hassan and he is sent away. This, too, defines him in a negative way. 

As an adult, Amir is able to redeem himself. He finds out that Hassan had a son and that Hassan was killed by the Taliban. In light of this, Amir goes to get Hassan's son and in the end adopts him. 

In short, Amir never forgot his friend, the best kite runner in the world. 

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The Kite Runner

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