The Kite Runner Essay

In the novel, The Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini uses the effective language feature of symbolism to help develop the themes of the book which are guilt and redemption. Kites, the sacrificial lamb and Hassan’s dream are the symbols used in this novel to showcase Amir’s life and just how he betrayed his best friend to then try and redeem himself as well as his relationship with Hassan. The first paragraph is about how the author uses Kite running as a symbol to represents Amir’s betrayal and how he later goes on and redeems himself from his guilt. Secondly,.Hassan’s dream  foreshadows what is to come in the future and highlights Amir’s true traits. Finally, the sacrificial lamb is a symbol of how Amir sacrificed Hassan for a better relationship with baba.

Throughout the novel, Khaled uses kite running to emphasise the themes of the book which is betrayal and redemption.When Amir and Hassan first enter the kite fighting competition towards the beginning of the novel it all seems very innocent and fun to the brothers. These happy memories soon change for Amir, when the kites become a constant reminder of how he let down his only friend and brother: Hassan, because of his cowardness. This scaring memory overwhelms the reason he betrayed Hassan in the ally 20 years ago;  he used the kite to try and prove himself to his father as well as earn his pride and love. Baba has always wanted a sporty, tough son; the opposite of Amir. Kite running was Amir’s opportunity to prove to his father his worthiness and show him that he is the son that he always wanted. “We won! We won!” was all I could say. This wasn’t happening. In a moment, I’d blink and rouse from this beautiful dream… Back to my old life. Then I saw Baba on our roof…pumping both of his fists. Hollering and clapping. And that right there was the single greatest moment of my twelve years of life, seeing Baba on that roof, proud of me at last.” This quote is after Amir made the sacrifice for a closer relationship with Baba that will only last for a brief amount of time. Instead of helping Hassan his only ‘friend’ who was getting rapped after he ran the kite. The choice Amir made that day to leave Hassan will go on to haunt him for the rest of his life. Another example of kite running as a symbolism is at the end of the book when Amir adopts his nephew and is on the road to redemption.“Do you want me to run that kite for you…For you, a thousand times over, I heard myself say. It was only a smile, nothing more… A tiny thing… But I’ll take it. With open arms. Because when spring comes, it melts the snow one flake at a time, and maybe I just witnessed the first flake melting.” This quote is at the end of the novel after Hassan dies and his son becomes an orphan, Amir adopts him and takes him outside to do kite flying. At this point, Amir feels like he has redeemed himself because he couldn’t talk to Hassan and apologise to him, so instead, he did the activity Amir and his best friend once loved with his nephew. Therefore the kites are also a symbol for redemption throughout the novel, as they go through Amir’s journey of how innocent they both were at the start, how he lost Hassan and become filled with guilt, then at the end when Hassan is gone and Amir has once and for all redeemed himself.

Another symbol that Khaled uses to outline the themes is Hassan’s very memorable and vivid dream.Hassan’s dream foreshadows the betrayal that is to come as well as revealing the real Amir and his weakness to stand up for what is right because he is outspoken. Hassan told Amir the next day that they: “were at Gharga Lake, you, me Father, Agha sahib, Rahim Khan and thousands of other people… no one was swimming because they said a monster had come to the lake. It was swimming at the bottom, waiting… And before I can stop you, you dive in and I follow you and we’re both swimming away… We make it to the middle of the lake and we stop swimming. We turn toward the shore and wave to people. They look small like ants but we can hear them clapping. There is no monster, just water.” Hassan had this dream on the night before the famous kite running competition which tells us there is something significant to come. When Amir dives into the lake to show he is not afraid of the monster Hassan follows and then goes onto say “Don’t worry there is not a monster waiting for you in the streets of Kabul”.This symbolises Assef as he is the one that raped Hassan, he says that there isn’t a monster waiting for Amir because its instead waiting for him. Like in the dream when Hassan followed Amir into the lake the lake is just like the alley way but this time Amir doesn’t have the same loyalty for Hassan so therefore doesn’t stand up to Assef to help his friend and doesn’t follow Hassan into the ‘lake’.  The symbols of Hassan’s dream helps the reader understand what kind of friendship the boys have.It shows that they don’t have a loyal friendship because when Amir dived in to the lake Hassan followed Amir to rescue him from the ‘monster’, whereas in reality when Hassan dived into the water ( water being the ally way) Amir didn’t follow and instead left Hassan with the monster.The clapping and cheering in Hassan’s dream when both of the boys swim out to the middle of the lake also symbolises what should be Amir and Hassan winning the kite running competition and the people of Kabul celebrating their victory. Instead the reality is Amir is on the top of the lake taking in the glory and pride of his victory meanwhile Hassan is underwater fighting with the monster. This just shows that Hassan’s dream is his perspective of their friendship and the loyalty they have for eachother for example they both get acknowledged in the dream but later on Hassan realises that their friendship wasn’t loyal and his dream was in fact a dream and not reality like he had hoped.

The use of the sacrificial lamb is a symbol of Hassan and Amir’s relationship and how Amir betrayed Hassan. While retrieving the kite, Hassan refused to give up the kite for his best friend and as a consequence he got raped by Assef. During this part in the novel Hosseini made a reference to the sacrificial lamb saying : “I had seen it before. It was the look of the lamb.” In this quote Amir is referring to the look in Hassan’s eyes like when he saw the lamb being slaughtered, he could tell that Hassan was being selflessly sacrificed for his friendship and loyalty with Amir. Instead of being a good loyal friend and standing up for Hassan, Amir stood there and allowed his only friend to sacrifice his innocence for him. He left him there because he was weak and wanted the victory of the kite running all to himself. Amir then realised that: “Hassan was the price I had to pay, the lamb I had to slay, to win Baba.” This quote explains that Amir allowed for this to happen because he wanted to please baba and make him happy, if he had helped Hassan he wouldn’t have had to go through all those years of guilt and as a consequence of that he wouldn’t have had a successful relationship with baba. During this moment Amir realised that he couldn’t do both and he had to choose between a better relationship with Baba or proving his loyalty to his friend Hassan. The decision that Amir made that day shows who he is as a character and that he values living up to baba’s expectations rather than having a solid friendship. The sacrifice that Amir made that day was successful in mending his relationship, although it was only temporary because baba was filled with his own guilt about not telling Amir that him and Hassan are brothers. Once Amir was made aware of their family relation it filled Amir with even more guilt.

In conclusion, in The Kite Runner the author of the novel  Khaled Hosseini uses symbolism to emphasise the main themes of the books which are guilt, betrayal, and redemption. The use of kite running throughout the novel highlights Amir’s path from the betrayal to the guilt and then finally the redemption. The second symbol used in the novel was Hassan’s dream, this gave the reader an insight into what was to come in the novel and how we knew a betrayal was about to come. Finally, the sacrificial lamb is a representation of how Amir betrayed Hassan and their friendship for a better relationship with his father. Overall the novel has many symbols that give us an insight into the character’s personalities as well as foreshadowing what is to come. The author used symbolism as a language technique in The Kite runner to keep the reader intrigued and interested.

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