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The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini

The author has assumed the persona of Amir Khan, a 38-year-old man, living in California.

The story is told in first person.

The narrator has used flashbacks to recall his early childhood (starting at the age of 12) in Afghanistan.

All the information that is from Amir’s past, thus, his perspective is limited all-knowing (omniscient). Amir recall’s all the events that had occurred in his life, however he does not know it from every characters point of view but his own.

He is may be biased or opinionated towards some aspects of the events that occur in his life as it is not inclusive of the other characters views.

Location:

Temporal

“They weren’t shooting ducks after all. As it turned out they hadn’t shot much of anything that night of July 17, 1973” (39)

“Early that following winter of 1974, Hassan and I were playing in the yard one day, building a snow fort when Ali called him in.” (47)

“In the winter of 1975, I saw Hassan run a kite for the last time.” (59)

Spatial

Baba’s Mansion- “Just before sunrise, Baba’s car peeled into the driveway.” (41)

“I loved winter time in Kabul” (52)

“The streets of Wazir Akbar Khan were numbered and set at right angles to each other like a grid. It was a new neighbourhood then, still developing, with lots of empty land and half-constructed homes on every street between compounds surrounded by eight-foot walls.” (72) – Kite tournament/Protagonist’s neighbourhood/home”

“By the time I reached the marketplace, the sun had almost sunk behind the hills and dusk had painted the sky pink and purple. A few blocks away, from the Haji Yaghoub Mosque, the mullah bellowed azaan, calling for the faithful to unroll their rugs and bow their heads west in prayer.” (73)

“My boot squished in mud with every step and my breath puffed out in white clouds before me. The narrow path ran parallel on one side to a snow-filled ravine though which a stream may have tumbled in the spring. To my other side stood rows of snow-burdened cypress trees peppered among flat-topped clay houses – no more than mud shacks in most cases – separated by narrow alleys.” (75) –Where Hassan got abused

Tropology:

Symbol – brass knuckles

“His word was law, and if you needed a little legal education, then those brass knuckles were just the right teaching tool.” (41)

“ ‘Where’s you slingshot Hazara?’ Assef said, turning the brass knuckles in his hand.” (76)

Symbol – Kites

“And kites, of course. Flying kites. And running them.” (51)

“Because today, it’s only going to cost you that blue kite. A fair deal, boys isn’t it?” (77)

Symbol – Kite Runner

“Over the years, I had seen a lot of guys run kites. But Hassan was by far the greatest kite runner I’d ever seen.” (56)

“ In winter of 1975, I saw Hassan run a kite for the last time.” (59)

Symbol – Slingshot

“I saw the same look of astonishment on Kamal and Wali’s faces as they too saw what had happened behind me. I turned and came face to face with Hassan’s slingshot.” (45)

“You are right, Agha. But perhaps you didn’t notice that I’m the one holding the slingshot.” (45)

Symbol – Harelip

“Hassan hadn’t done anything to earn Baba’s affections; he’d just been born with that stupid harelip.”

“By the following winter, it was only a faint scar. Which was ironic. Because that was the winter that Hassan stopped smiling.” (50)

Symbol – Monster (in the lake)

“Remember, Amir Agha. There’s no monster, just a beautiful day.” (65)

Symbol – Lamb (Sacrifice)

“Nothing was free in this world. Maybe Hassan was the price I had to pay, the lamb I had to slay to win Baba.” (82)

Imagery – Personification

“Snow blanketed every rooftop and weight on the branches of the stunted mulberry trees that lined our street.” (64)

“Sunlight washed over his face, and, in it, I saw how well the pink scar above his lip had healed.” (65)

“All I saw was the blue kite. All I smelled was victory.” (69)

“I fall and lie panting on the snow, lost in white, the wind wailing in my ears.” (79)

Imagery – Metaphor

“The sky is seamless and blue, the snow so white my eyes burn.” (51)

“The streets glistened with fresh snow and the sky was blameless blue.” (64)

Imagery – Simile

“It was warm and sunny, and the lake was like a clear mirror.” (63)

“My neck and back were coiled like springs, and my eyes stung.” (64)

“Within a minute, my kite was rocketing to the sky. It made a sound like a paper bird flapping its wings.”(67)

“But with each defeated kite, hope grew in my heart, like snow collecting on a wall one flake at a time.” (68)

“His sightless eyes are like silver molten embedded in deep, twin craters.” (78)

“At least two dozen kites already hung in the sky, like paper sharks roaming for prey.” (67)

Characters:

Amir – Protagonist

Speech

“Baba says Hitler was crazy, that he ordered a lot of innocent people killed.” (43)

“Eat dirt if I told you to,” (57)

“Don’t be stupid, Hassan. You know I wouldn’t.” (58)

“He says we’ll have television in Kabul.” (61)

“Well, it’s a dumb dream. Nothing happens in it.” (64)

Appearance

Protagonist born in 1963- currently 12 years old (71)

“And maybe, just maybe, I would finally be pardoned for killing my mother.” (60) – Protagonists mother died while giving birth

Protagonist is a Sunni Muslim

Protagonist is a Pashtun

“Black leather coat, red scarf, faded jeans. A thin boy, a little sallow and a tad short for his twelve years. He had narrow shoulders and a hind of dark circles around his pale eyes. The breeze rustled his light brown hair. He looked up to me and we smiled at each other.” (70)

Actions

“Hassan went to his shack to get ready and I ran upstairs to grab a book.” (40)

“I shove a handful of the fresh snow into my mouth, listen to the muffled stillness broken only by the cawing of crows.” (51)

“We went to the bazaar and bought bamboo, glue, string, and paper.” (53)

“I tripped over a rock and fell – I wasn’t just slower than Hassan but clumsier too; I’d always envied his natural athleticism.” (57)

“I opened my mouth and almost said something. Almost. The rest of my life might have turned out differently if I had. But I didn’t. I just watched. Paralyzed.” (78)

“I bit my fist. Shut my eyes.” (78)

Thoughts

“I wished I too had some kind of scar that would beget my Baba’s sympathy.” (50)

“ Baba and I loved in the same house, but in different spheres of existence. Kites were the one paper-thin slice of intersection between those spheres.” (52)

“His eyes searched my face for a long time. We sat there, two boys under a sour cherry tree, suddenly looking, really looking, at each other. That’s when it happened again: Hassan’s face changed. Maybe no changed, not really but suddenly I had the feeling I was looking at two faces, the one I knew, the one that was my first memory, and another a second face, this one lurking just beneath the surface.” (57-58)

“Baba was used to winning, winning at everything he set in his mind to. Didn’t he have a right to expect that from his son? And just imagine. If I did win…” (59)

“Did he know I knew? And if I knew, then what would I see if I did look in his eyes? Blame? Indignation? Or, God forbid, what I feared most: guileless devotion? That most of all I couldn’t bare to see.” (83)

b. Hassan

Speech

“For you a thousand times over.”(71)

“Agha sahib will worry.” (84)

“Amir agha and I are friends.” (77)

“Amir agha won this tournament and I ran this kite for him. I ran it fairly. This is his kite.” (77)

“You know… I like where I live. It’s my home.”

Appearance

harelipped (50)

Faint scar (50)

Born in 1964, one year younger than Amir

Has only father left (Ali) (38)

Servant to Amir and his Baba (62)/ No mother (left him) (45)

Shi’a Muslim (61)

Hazara (61)

“Although I’ve always wondered how he manages. I mean, with those tight little eyes, how does he see anything.” (73)

Actions

“Next to me, Hassan held the spook, his hands already bloodied by the string.” (67)

“I jerked the string twice, our usual signal” and Hassan tossed the kite.” (66)

“I hear he’s a great kite runner.” (75)

“I turned and came face to face with Hassan’s slingshot. Hassan had pulled the wide elastic band all the way back. In the cup was a rock the size of a walnut.” (45)

Other’s Opinions

“I’ll ask the president to do what the kind didn’t have the quwat to do. To rid Afghanistan of all the dirty kasseef Hazaras.” (44)

“Like Hassan, Ali was incapable of lying.” (47)

“A loyal Hazara. Loyal as a dog,” (77)

“Good old Hassan. Good old reliable Hassan. He’d kept his promise and run the last kite for me.” (74)

“It’s an unusual present, I know, and probably not what you had in mind, but this present will last you for ever.”-Care for Hassan (49)

c. Assef

Speech

“Do you know that I will tell Daoud Khan the next time he comes to our house for dinner? I’m going to have a little chat with him, man to man, mard to mard. Tell him what I told my mother about Hitler. Now, there was leader. A great leader. A man with vision, I’ll tell Daoud Khan to remember that if they had let Hitler finish what he started, the world be a better place now.” (43)

“Afghanistan is the land of Pushtuns. It always has been, always will be.” (43)

“You’re part of the problem, Amir. If idiots like you and your father didn’t take these people in, we’d be rid of them by now.” (44)

“Put it down, you motherless Hazara.” (45)

“All I want you weaklings to do is hold him down. Can you manage that?” (80)

Actions

“Assef unbuttoned his winter coat, took it off, folded it slowly and deliberately.” (78)

“Assef yelped as he flung himself at Hassan knocking him to the ground.” (78)

“Assef motioned with his hand, and the other two boys separated, forming a half circle, trapping Hassan in the alley.” (78)

“Assef knelt behind Hassan, put his hands on Hassan’s hips and lifted his bare buttocks. He kept one hand on Hassan’s back and undid his own belt buck with his free hand. He unzipped his jeans. Dropped his underwear. He positioned himself behind Hassan.” (80-81)

Appearance

“Assef was the son of one of my father’s friends, Mahmood, an airline pilot.” (41)

“If you were a kid living in the Wazir Akbar Khan section pf Kabul, you knew about Assef and his famous stainless-steel brass knuckles, hopefully not through personal experience.” (41)

“Born to a German mother and Afghan father, the blond, blue-eyed Assef towered over the other kids.” (41)

“His well-earned reputation for savagery preceded him on the streets.” (41)

Other’s Opinions

“Some of the boys in Wazir Akbar Khan had nicknamed him Assef Goshkhor, or Assef ‘the Ear Eater.’” (41)

“Of course, none of them dared utter it to his face unless they wished to suffer the same fate as the or kid who had unwittingly inspired that nickname when he had fought Assef over a kite and ended up fighting his right ear from a muddy gutter.” (41)

“Years later, I learned an English word for the creature that Assef was, a word for which a goof Farsi equivalent does not exisit: ‘sociopath.’” (41)

d. Baba

Speech

“It’s an unusual present, I know, and probably not what you had in mind, but this present will last you for ever.”-Care for Hassan (49)

“I think maybe you’ll win the tournament this year. What do you think?” (59)

“They blocked all the roads and the telephone didn’t work. I was so worried.” (39)

Actions

“Baba smoked his pipe and talked.” (60)

“Next door, in Baba’s study Baba and Rahim Khan were discussing with a couple of other men – one of them I recognized as Assef’s father.” (61)

“Baba waited until ten to have me circumcised was beyond me and one of the things I will never forgive him for.” (50)

“Then a smile played on my father’s lips. He opened his arms.” (84)

Appearance

Born in 1933

Father to Amir (84)

Adopted Ali (Hassan’s Father) (49)

Phustun

Sunni Muslim

Thoughts/Other’s Opinions

“I wished I too had some kind of scar that would beget my Baba’s sympathy. It wasn’t fair.” (50)

“You’re part of the problem, Amir. If idiots like you and your father didn’t take these people in, we’d be rid of them by now.” (44)

e. Ali

Speech

“Agha sahib hasn’t discussed it with me.” (47)

Actions

“Ali held his had as Hassan took a long, thoughtful look into it.” (50)

Thoughts/Others Opinions

“Like Hassan, Ali was incapable of lying.” (47)

“We both looked to Ali, but of course with him you could never tell. His face was impassive as ever, though something sober had melted into his eyes.” (49)

f. Rahim Khan

Actions

“Next door, in Baba’s study Baba and Rahim Khan were discussing with a couple of other men – one of them I recognized as Assef’s father.” (61)

“Baba and Rahim Khan were drinking tea and listening to the news crackling on the radio.” (84)

Themes (Controlling Subjects)

Loyalty

“For you a thousand times over.” (71)

“A loyal Hazara. Loyal as a dog,” (77)

“Good old Hassan. Good old reliable Hassan. He’d kept his promise and run the last kite for me.” (74)

Friendship

“Amir agha” and I are friends.” (77)

“I had begun to worry that darkness would fall before I found Hassan when I heard voices from up ahead.” (worry for Hassan) (75)

Lack of Confidence/Fear/Taking a Stance/Doing what is right

“I opened my mouth and almost said something. Almost. The rest of my life might have turned out differently if I had. But I didn’t. I just watched. Paralyzed.” (78)

“But he’s not my friend! I almost blurted. He’s my servant!” (44)

Religion/Ethnicity/Culture

“Baba mocks the story behind this Eid, as he mocks everything religious.” (81)

“It’s just a Hazara,” (80)

“My father says it’s sinful” (80)

A few blocks away, from the Haji Yaghoub Mosque, the mullah bellowed azaan, calling for the faithful to unroll their rugs and bow their heads west in prayer.” (73)

“Those Iranians…” (61)

Respect (despite treatment)

“Maybe he’d call me Amir jan like Rahim Khan did.” (60)

“You won, Amir agha! You won!” (70)

“Please leave us be, Agha,” (45)

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