The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini Character Analysis

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini Menu
CHARACTER ANALYSIS
Amir

He is the narrator of the story who tells his how he grew up in Afghanistan and the sins he had committed against his friend and half-brother, Hassan. It is his journey to redemption that is the premise of this tale. We see that he is basically a good boy and man, but that he made serious mistakes in his quest for his father’s love and attention. As a man, then, he is called to expiate the sins and “do good again.” His success is one we all would like to emulate, because he finds a way to do the right thing.

Hassan

He is the best and kindest character in the story. He is Amir’s best friend and as Amir later learns, he is also his half-brother. He faces discrimination every day, because he is a Hazara, a minority whom the Pashtuns treat like slaves. The sins committed against him – being raped by Assef while Amir does nothing to help him – are immediately forgiven, because he loves Amir so much. Even when Amir frames him for theft, Hassan never betrays him or stops loving him. In the end, he dies a martyr’s death, trying to protect his family from the Taliban, and he lives on in the hearts of Amir and Sohrab as the hero they both want to be.

Baba

He is Amir and Hassan’s father, but because it would be shameful to admit Hassan, a Hazara , is his son, the secret remains hidden long after his death. In Amir’s mind, he is larger than life, the man who was supposed to have wrestled a bear. But, in reality, he was a man tormented by his secrets. He dies in America, never again going home to his beloved Afghanistan. While he lives there, he lives poor and often dirty from his job. So, the way he is forced to live and the fact that he can never go home again may be his punishment for what he did to both Amir and Hassan. Amir knows, however, that like him, his father is basically a good man who finds a way to be good again.

Ali

His character is that of a loyal servant to Baba and a father figure to both Hassan and Amir. He often suffers humiliation at the hands of Pashtun boys like Assef, but he never bends his will to them and continues to be a figure of goodness.

Sohrab

He is Hassan’s son and the boy Amir faces the Taliban to free. Like his father, he is raped by Assef and later betrayed by Amir. He even tries to commit suicide after Amir breaks his promise not to put him in an orphanage. However, Amir’s willingness to help Sohrab face life again saves them both.

Assef

He is the villain of the story, a Pashtun boy who bullies Amir and Hassan and tries to humiliate Ali. He has a sociopathic nature even as a boy and admires Hitler for what he had done in eliminating the Jews. He wants to emulate this evil German by destroying all the Hazaras. He never forgets an insult from anyone and is consumed with a need for revenge. He becomes a Talib when the Taliban takes over Afghanistan, and he uses his power to kill innocent Afghans, especially Hazaras. He kills Hassan when he won’t give up his home and he tries to kill Amir. It is only Sohrab’s slingshot that finally defeats this evil man.

Soraya

Amir’s wife, she, too, suffers from mistakes she made as a young woman, but accepts her humiliation for running away with a man and becomes a good, decent human being. She is denied motherhood, perhaps because that is how she must expiate her own sins. However, she is rewarded when Sohrab becomes her son and she and Amir finally have a complete family.

Rahim Khan

He is Baba’s best friend and business partner and is a major figure in Amir and Hassan’s life. He seems to understand Amir’s desperate need for his father’s approval and tries to fill the gap Baba leaves in their relationship. He knows all along how Amir betrayed Hassan and is the one to call him and tell him there is still time to be good. He also sets into the motion the plan to get Sohrab out of Afghanistan, because he knows that this is the only way to make up for never telling Amir and Hassan that they were brothers. Like Amir, he too finds a way to be good. He goes away to die alone, knowing that calling Amir back to his homeland was the right thing to do.

PLOT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS

The story is a narrative from the viewpoint of Amir who tells about the sins he committed in his childhood and how he atoned for them as a man.