Discuss how the author uses language techniques to develop a main character in the novel, and how this character helps you understand one or more themes/ideas. 

Techniques could include figures of speech, syntax, word-choice (Islamic and Farsi words), style, symbolism, structure, foreshadowing, or narrative point-of-view.


 – Amir and Hassan’s relationship

–  Betrayal

– “That was a long time ago…I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out.Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.”

 – “The curious thing was, I never thought of Hassan and me as friends ever… In the end, I was a Pashtun and he was a Hazara, I was Sunni and he was Shi’a, and nothing was ever going to change that.”

America -Amir is a refugee in USA

-War in Afghanistan

-Amir is guilty


  • Betrayal
  • Memory and guilt
  • Redemption
  • Violence
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Society


  • Kites
  • Monster in the lake
  • The cleft lip
  • The sacrificial lamb
  • The slingshot
  • The pomegranate tree



Analyse how language features were used to capture the reader’s imagination.

  • Amir’s narrative point of view 
  • Foreshadowing
  • First Language Words, Festival and cultural references 
  • Symbolism- kites, lamb to the slaughter, the cleft plate

In this novel The Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini uses numerous effective language features such as narrative point if view, foreshadowing, and symbolism to capture the reader’s imagination. Hosseini also includes first language Farsi words and references to cultural and religious events to add o the authenticity of the novel.

PARAGRAPH ONE: Narrative point of view- first person. Amir talks about cultural, religious, political, social events and issues.

PARAGRAPH TWO:  Foreshadowing- hints at events to come

PARAGRAPH THREE: Symbolism and themes- Kites, Cleft lip, family relationships, guilt, redemption, 



The importance of setting

Explain the importance of the setting (historic, social, cultural, political) and its influence on how the narrator (Amir) tells his story.

Social Castes :

  • Amir (high caste, Pashtun)
  • Hassan (low caste, Hagara)


  • Just before the Russian invasion


  • Islamic Country


  • Baba was a powerful figure in Kabul society

The first three chapters of the novel tell us the basic facts of the story such as who the major characters are, their backgrounds, and what their relationships with each other are like. The section also establishes a context for the information: Amir, our narrator, is an adult living in the United States and looking back on his childhood years in Afghanistan. In fact, history is an important theme in the novel, and looking back on the past is a recurring motif. That’s because, for Amir, the past is not over. He believes it to be a fundamental part of who he is, and no matter how far he is in time or location from his childhood in Afghanistan, the events of that period are always with him, he feels a tremendous sense of guilt about those events, and he believes they shaped him into who he is. This guilt, informs the entire narrative.

“Almost two years had passed since we arrived in the U.S., and I was still marveling at the size of this country, its vastness. Beyond every freeway lay another freeway, beyond every city another city, hills beyond mountains and mountains beyond hills, and, beyond these, more cities and more people.

Long before the Roussi army marched into Afghanistan, long before villages were burned and schools destroyed, long before mines were planted like seeds of death and children buried in rock-piled graves, Kabul had become a city of ghosts for me. A city of harelipped ghosts.

America was different, America was a river, roaring along, unmindful of the past. I could wade into this river, let my sins drown to the bottom, let the waters carry me someplace far. Someplace with no ghosts, no memories, and no sins.

If for nothing else, for that, I embraced America.”

What language techniques does Hosseini employ in this passage?

What is the effect of his use of these language techniques?

Explain the importance of the setting and its influence on how the narrator tells his story.

The setting of Kabul, Afghanistan is hugely socially, politically and culturally important in the novel The Kite Runner. The story is told from the point of view of Amir, retelling the years he was growing up in Kabul and events that influenced his life, and his long journey from guilt to redemption.

Because the story is set in Afghanistan and told from the point of view of a local boy, we learn aspects of a different society – Islamic religion, the different classes in Afghani society, local festivals and activities – specifically the sport of kite running. We are also exposed to numerous Farsi (Afghani) and Islamic words and phrases, which add cultural depth and authenticity to Amir’s voice.

We also see life in Kabul disrupted by the overthrow of the monarchy, then the Russian invasion which eventually leads to Baba and Amir having to flee Afghanistan and move to America as refugees. As Amir tells us:

“For me, America was a place to bury my memories. For Baba, a place to mourn his.”


Forgive? But theft was the one unforgivable sin, the common denominator of all sins. When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. There is no act more wretched than stealing. Hadn’t Baba sat me on his lap and said those words to me? Then how could he just forgive Hassan? And if Baba could forgive that, then why couldn’t he forgive me for not being the son he’d always wanted? Why –

Amir decides “one of us has to go” – Why?

Amir says this because every-time he sees Hassan he gets reminded of his own guilt and his cowerdness from the day he witnessed Hasan get raped. Amir needs one of them to go so he can get  closure and doesn’t have to put up with the awkwardness looming in the air.

Amir then says “Then I understand: this was Hassan’s final sacrifice for em” -Explain… 

Hassan is so loyal to Amir that he will do anything to protect him. Everyone knows that Hassan would never lie so they believe him

Hassan says that he did steal the watch- Why?

Why was Baba so upset that he cried?




  • Inshallah =  God willing
  • Kochi = Nomads
  • Buzkashi = Anual tournament featuring horsemen
  • Namaz = Daily prayers.
  • Kaka = Uncle
  • Khala = Aunt
  • Farsi = Persian Language

Events after turning point:


  • Amir barely sees Hassan
  • Hassan is withdrawn and sleeps a lot
  • Amir and Baba’s relationship is better


“It shouldn’t have felt this way. Baba and I were finally friends… except now that I had it, I felt as empty as this unkempt pool I was dangling my legs into”

He feels empty because he doesn’t have a real relationship with anyone. He also let down the one person that cared about him the most which is Hassan.  It is haunting Amir that he didn’t help Hassan but instead left him and now everything reminds him of Hassan.


Characters and relationships


  • Desperate to please Baba
  • Selfish
  • Jealous of Hassan
  • Loves to write
  • Wealthy


  • Loyal
  • Obedient
  • Illiterate
  • Poor


  • Nasty
  • Bully
  • Violent
  • German mother (Nazi-like)
  • Blonde
  • Blue-eyed

On the surface, how does the relationship between Hassan and Amir appear?

They don’t have a true friendship because Amir thinks of himself being higher then Hassan and he looks down on him. In this society, they couldn’t be seen together because Hassan is in a lower class than Amir and is a servant. Hassan is a loyal friend to Amir and will do anything to put their friendship first meanwhile AMir is appreciative of their friendship but is only focussed on getting a higher status in their house by impressing Baba. Amir is also jealous of Hassan because he is athletic and Baba looks at him with pride in his eyes.

The relationship between Baba and Ali parallels that of Amir and Hassan. When you dig down, how is this relationship not a friendship? What is it in reality?  “But in none of his stories did Baba ever refer to Ali and his friend.” What are underlying social factors at play in this relationship?

It is not a friendship because only Hassan respects and values their friendship, which makes it more a relationship since Hassan is Amir’s servant and is supposed to have this kind of respect for Amir as he is higher class. Even if they wanted to be friends it could never work in that type of society because they couldn’t be seen together otherwise it would reflect badly on Baba and AMir’s family whereas Amir’s goal is completely different and is to impress his father. The quote also suggests that Amir is like his father when it comes to friends, he is trying to get a name for himself and move up in the rankings by dragging his friends down and using them. Amir and Baba are similar because Amir doesn’t mention Hassan since it’s like an embarrassment for AMir being friends with a lower class person. When both boys were younger they were separated by social classes but were still raised together in the same house, years later Amir uses his superior social classing and education as well as being Baba’s son to mistreat and abuse Hassan.

What does this say about our society?

It shows the flaws in the classing system, two little boys grow up together and have to be best friends their whole life but as soon as one of them finds out he’s powerful, he uses it to his advantage and becomes a coward. It also shows that there are very lovely people out there like Hassan who will stand up for someone they value no matter what they look like or who they are. I think that people should have seen this as an example of what happens to young kids when being exposed to this harsh and unaccepting environment. If they had no classes Amir and Hassan could have truly been best friends and both had a great life ahead of them rather then one of them being eaten away with guilt and shame all because he couldn’t stand up for his ‘friend’ because it would ruin his own reputation. It shows that we need to stop valuing rankings, classes, power and start appreciating people and the relationships around us.

Foreshadowing in The Kite Runner

The first main turning point in the novel is when Amir witnesses Hassan’s rape and make the decision to do nothing. He just wanted to get the kite to please Baba. Hosseini has built up to this vent by foreshadowing that something will happen that will change their lives forever in a negative way.

Hosseini writes:

  • I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975″
  • I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley…”
  • “past of unatoned sins.”
  • “A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything.”
  • “I would always feel guilty about it later. So I’d try to make up for it by giving him one of my old shirts or a broken toy. I would tell myself that was amends enough for a harmless prank.”
  • “But I hadn’t turned out like him. Not at all.”
  • “There is something missing in that boy”


The Kite Runner Overview (start)

Our Story is set at the time of 1975 before the Russian invasion in Kabul, Afghanistan. The main character, Amir, is looking back at his childhood and how it has had a profound effect on his life. Amir’s father, Baba, is a very successful businessman who is a cold hard man that is disappointed in his son. They are of the high-caste Pashtun and are Sunni Muslims. Amir’s best, Hassan is the son of the loyal servant Ali. They are both low-caste Hazara and are Shi’a muslims. Amir is the leader and Hassan is the follower, Hassan is uneducated whereas Amir loves poetry and writing which disappoints his father who wants him to like football. Rahim Khan is Baba’s friend who is kind and shows an interest in Amir and his writing. Farsi is the language of Afghanistan and there are numerous Farsi and Muslim words used in the novel.