What are some examples of symbolism in The Kite Runner?

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sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapters 6 and 7 in Kite Runner expand the symbolism in the title. Kite running is a form of battle, and the competition is fierce. “In Kabul, fighting kites was a little like going to war,” we are told. Building the kite together symbolizes the friendship of the two boys, the sort of brotherhood that is also symbolized by the fact that they both nursed from the same woman. The kite running here also indicates the class distinction between the two boys, because one job is more grand than the other. In kite running, competitors coat their kite strings with glue and cut glass for this enables them to “cut down” the kite of a competitor. One boy holds the kite, and his partner “runs” to chase down his opponents in the streets. Here Amir holds the string, his own hands getting cut as he works to “cut” down the kites of others as Hassan runs down the street. Amir has the opportunity to show him self as a man, with Amir helping him by running through the streets. The crowd screams to Amir “cut him, cut him” in their eagerness for him to cut down the kites of others and win.  It sounded “like Romans chanting for the gladiators to kill, kill!” Amir remembers. The boys win, but the violence of the competition is as significant as the victory.  Although here Amir believes he has become a man in the eyes of his father, it is just afterwards that he loses his manhood by not stepping forward to help his friend—the real kite-runner.

renelane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The kite contests are symbolic of carefree moments that either precede or follow traumatic events.

The beginning of the novel (page #'s will vary) casts the kite contest as the last good time between Hassan and Amir. Hassan is attacked directly after this.

The end of the novel 's kite contest is the relief of bringing Hassan's son back from trauma and depression.

In both cases, it is symbolic for Amir, because he had no true happiness in between both contests.

pro29 | Student

The writing of stories, prepares the reader for a book but also prepares Amir for redemption. The symbolise Amirs release of mental pain through a sort of Catharisis. 

aperez108 | Student

the blue kite was very symbolic of Amir and hassan's friendship and it is what caused Hassan to get raped. Also amir used that kite to win in the kite competition in order to get Baabaa to love him.

sami804 | Student

the examples of symbolisn in the kite runner are Kites

One can tell kites are central to the novel just by reading its title, "The Kite Runner." On a plot level, the grand kite tournament of 1975 sets a circle of betrayal and redemption into motion, around which the story revolves. After Hassan gets raped while running his kite, Amir cannot separate kite fighting and running from his own betrayal and cowardice. Therefore, even after all of his injuries and trials on Sohrab's behalf, it is the act of kite running that finally makes him feel redeemed. Beyond their significance to the plot, kites have multiple layers of symbolism in the story. One of these layers involves the class difference between Amir and Hassan, which largely dictates and limits their relationship.

lauren-kenya | Student

I think that there are many examples of symbolism in the Kite Runner.

1- The kite represents the freedom and bonding of Amir and Hassan, both at the beginning and end of the book.

2- The slingshot represents devotion. In the beginning, Hassan used it to stand up to Assef in the alley, and then at the end, Hassan's son Sohrab used it to protect Amir against Assef after returning to Afghanistan.

3- Assef's brass knuckles represent fear. Everytime that Assef would come up to Hassan or Amir, he would have his hands up and be ready to fight them. In the end, this is really in effect. This happens when Assef beats up Amir when he comes back to Afghanistan.

4- The Ford car given to Amir by Baba symbolizes their changing relationship.

kforno | Student

The pomegranate tree is another symbol. It symbolizes Amir and Hassan's friendship, as they carve their names in it and sit under it. When Amir pelts Hassan with the pomegranates and demands that he fight back, Hassan smashes a pomegranate against his own forehead, sacrificing himself again for Amir, but it signifies the end of their friendship as Amir cannot stand the way Hassan sacrifices himself for him and the guilt that causes Amir.

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The Kite Runner

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