What are the ways in which KH presents the experience of childhood and growing up in The Kite Runner?
This is for a compare and contrast essay I am doing about The Kite Runner (and Susan Hill's I'm the King of the Castle).
There are so many ways to answer this and so many relevant content in KR that I'm not sure how I'd structure (best points to talk about) for a 3 page essay. I will be marked on relevance of points to the essay title, for comparing and contrasting effectively and for dealing with the context of the novel.
The difficulties of ascending from child to man is one of the primary themes of author Khaled Hosseini in his novel The Kite Runner. Amir's awareness of his father's disappointment in him as a teenager is one example. Amir wishes to please his father and become closer to him, but kite flying alone will not break the ice between the two. Amir regrets his decision to falsely blame Hassan for theft--not so much out of guilt but because Baba is willing to forgive the young servant. When Ali banishes himself and Hassan from the home, Amir's guilt becomes a constant reminder of his act of unfaithfulness. Compounded with his cowardly refusal to assist Hassan when he is raped by Assef, Amir's guilt follows him into adulthood; it becomes a dominant cloud to his existence, interfering with his relationship with Baba and, initially, Soraya. Amir does not feel his rise to adulthood is complete until he has cleansed himself of the guilt of his boyhood actions, and his dangerous return to Afghanistan to retrieve Hassan's son is the only act that will ease his conscience. The kite flying--the symbol of Amir and Hassan's innocence and equality--shared with Sohrab at the end helps to make Amir's transition complete.
I have not read The King of the Castle, but I have read The Kite Runner. Therefore, I shall address the second one.
The Kite Runner addresses the issues of growing up by looking at the father/son relationship between Amir and Baba. Amir looks up to his father and sees a powerful man. He wants to please his father, but knows that he is not able to live up to his father's expectations. He runs to read him his stories, but his father merely nods and does not get excited about them.
Amir is also jealous that his father shares his attention with Hassan. He wants his father's praise and attention and does not want it going towards Hassan.
The kite is a symbol of many things in the novel but it is also a symbol of the childhood days shared in play between Hassan and Amir. They spent hours working on making their own kites and getting ready for spring when they would fly and run the kites.
Childhood for the boys means climbing the pomegranate tree and reading. Hassan and Amr played in the streets and went to the cinema. Their life was relatively carefree until Assef raped Hassan.