91 pages 3 hours read

Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2003

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Symbols & Motifs


From the novel’s very first images, kites appear as a symbol of reflection, violence, and even spiritual awakening. They are first described as eyes while Amir reflects on his phone call with Rahim Khan: “They danced high above the trees on the west end of the park [...] floating side by side like a pair of eyes looking down on San Francisco” (1). As Amir recounts his youth in Kabul, kites play a definite thematic role, serving as cultural currency each winter, and on three distinct occasions they serve as the main source of physical violence. An anecdote Amir uses to illustrate the importance of kite fighting in his culture is especially telling: “One year a neighborhood kid climbed a pine tree for a kite. A branch snapped under his weight and he fell thirty feet. Broke his back and never walked again. But he fell with the kite still in his hands” (45). On a separate occasion Assef is said to have bitten the ear off another boy for his kite. A blue kite propels the central drama of the novel when Amir allows