What are the themes in The Kite Runner?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would consider the theme of atonement and redemption the most important in Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner. Amir spends most of his adult life regretting the sins he had committed against Hassan, and he finally undertakes a life-threatening trip back to Taliban-held Afghanistan to locate his nephew, Sohrab, in order to redeem himself for his dishonorable actions. Baba's philanthropy while still living in Kabul probably had something to do with his own guilt for fathering Hassan with Ali's wife. Other themes that are explored include:

  • Loss of Innocence
  • Identity and Self-Discovery
  • Relationships between Fathers and Family
  • Heritage and Ancestry
  • Politics and Abuse of Power
  • Assimilation to a New Culture
  • Journey and Quest
bval | Student

One of the major themes in The Kite Runner is redemption. When Amir and Hassan are little boys, they are best friends. Although they come from two different social classes, the boys enjoy playing together and running kites together. Hassan would do anything for his friend. This loyalty is what causes Hassan to go to the alley to retrieve the winning kite for his friend Amir. In the alley Hassan is brutally raped by a group of bullies and Amir stands by and doesn't do anything to help his friend. Amir feels guilty for his actions and sets Hassan up by hiding his father's watch. Hassan and his father eventually leave Baba's house, and Baba and Amir go to America. However, this guilt never leaves Amir and it gets worse when he finds out that Baba is also Hassan's father. When an old friend from Kabul calls Amir he tells him, "there is a way to be good again." Although Hassan has died at this point, Amir returns to Kabul to help Hassan's son and brings him back to America. The novel end with Amir running kites with Hassan's son. Amir looks at the child and sees the smile of his old friend. Amir has received redemtion for the sins he committed as a child.

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The Kite Runner

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