At a Glance

The Kite Runner key characters:

  • In The Kite Runner, Amir is the protagonist. His introverted and bookish nature undermines his father’s wishes for him. Amir struggles to win his father’s love and feels jealous of Hassan’s connection to Baba. Amir’s betrayal of his childhood friend leads him to return to Afghanistan.

  • Baba is a respected member of the Afghan community. He is disappointed that Amir is not strong and decisive, though he eventually accepts his son.

  • Hassan is a young servant at Baba’s house who is intelligent despite his lack of education. He is fiercely loyal to Amir despite Amir’s betrayal.

  • Assef is an older bully with fascistic beliefs who rapes Hassan and eventually becomes a high-ranking official in the Taliban.

  • Soraya is the wife of Amir. Her rebellious attitude and scandalous past alienate her from the community but she remains devoted to caring for her husband and father-in-law.

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(Literary Newsmakers for Students)


Ali is the lifelong servant of Baba's family. Stricken with polio as a child, Ali endures the ridicule of the local boys for his pronounced limp and gnarled appearance. Steadfastly loyal to Baba and Amir, Ali lives with his only child Hassan in a modest servant's house on Baba's property. Ali was abandoned by his wife Sanaubar, who ran away soon after giving birth to Hassan. He belongs to the marginalized Hazara ethnic group, which historically resided in the mountainous Hazajarat region of Afghanistan. Despite this, Ali is a proud man who rejects dishonor and leaves Baba's household rather than live with the shame of his son being thought a thief.


Amir is the protagonist of The Kite Runner . Born into a privileged Pashtun family, Amir grows up in Kabul, Afghanistan raised by his father. His mother died in childbirth. As a boy, Amir is bookish, thoughtful, and unathletic. An introverted thinker, he prefers to write stories in his notebook rather than play soccer, much to his father's chagrin. Amir indulges in a recurrent fantasy of a warmer understanding with his father and is strongly motivated by the wish to make this fantasy a reality—ultimately with tragic results. Constantly trying to earn his father's approval, Amir struggles for every scrap of his father's attention. He becomes jealous when his father pays more attention to Hassan, the son of the family servant Ali. Still, Amir is close to his servant and playmate Hassan. They spend entire days together, especially in the wintertime, and carve their names in a tree behind the house. Torn between affection for his friend and his need for his father's love, Amir often takes advantage of Hassan's gullibility and illiteracy. Ironically, his propensity to trick Hassan—making up false stories he pretends to read out of his schoolbooks—inspires him to discover his future calling as a writer. After moving to the United States with his father, Amir becomes a student and later a writer. After marrying a young Afghan woman named Soraya Taheri, he publishes his first novel. However,...

(The entire section is 1,794 words.)