The Kite Runner Plot and Summary Explained

The kite runner

The Kite Runner Plot and Summary Explained

“It’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out.”

― Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime.”

This is the premise of Khaled Hosseini’s debut novel, “The Kite runner.”

Set in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan. The story revolves around two friends, Amir and Hassan, torn apart by the tragedy of war and fear. The novel’s pivotal scene happens in the winter of 1975 when Amir fails to prevent sexual assault against Hassan. Shredded by the guilt, Amir began to distance himself to a point where their friendship ends, and only silence lurks. 

Kite runner identifies several themes, but the two main focused themes are guilt and redemption. The story has been compared to Shakespeare’s literature over the narrative of betraying your best friend for the love of your father. 

Plot Summary 

Amir, the son of a wealthy businessman, is a well-to-do Pashtun boy. And Hassan, a Hazara boy, treading his father’s footsteps, works as a servant for Amir. Both boys are motherless, while Amir’s mother dies during childbirth, Hassan’s mother Sanauber abandoned him and his father just after a few days he was born. 

To Amir’s dismay, his father, referred to as “Baba,” loved Hassan more than him. He would buy the same things and presents for both and even pay for Hassan’s cleft lip surgery. He went on to threaten Amir physically when he asked if they can get new servants. 

Amir finds a more tolerant fatherly figure in Rahim Khan, Baba’s business partner, and a good friend. Rahim Khan supports his interest in writing and reading, which Baba regarded as feminine.

Amir was often mocked by the sadistic bully, Aseef, for socializing with his Hazara friend Hassan. Aseef believed that Hazara’s do not belong in Afghanistan. One day, accompanied by his friends, Aseef attacked Amir but was courageously defended by Hassan, who threatened to hurt Aseef’s eye with a slingshot. Although Aseef backed off, he threatened to take revenge one day. 

In the winter of that year, Amir wins the biggest kite-fighting tournament and finally earns his baba’s praise. Hassan, a kite runner, runs for the last cut kite, which is deemed a great trophy. However, after finding the kite, Hassan encounters the bully Aseef and his two friends in an alley. They demand him to give up the kite, but Hassan remains reluctant. As revenge, they beat him up badly, and then Aseef rapes him. 

Amir sees the whole act but was afraid to do anything to save his friend. At the back of his mind, he kept thinking about how bringing the kite would make his dad like him more. After encountering Hassan, who treaded slowly home, Amir acts like he did not see anything. He remains quiet about the incident and slowly distances himself from Hassan due to his guilt every time he sees him. While Amir enjoys his days with baba after making him proud, Hassan’s mental and physical health deteriorates. 

Amir started to believe that his life would be better if Hassan was not around anymore, so he decided to get him out. He placed some money and a watch under Hassan’s mattress and accused him of theft, hoping to convince his baba to get rid of him. Hassan falsely accepts the crime, but baba forgives him. But despite that, Hassan and his father Ali decide to leave. 

Interval

Six years after Hassan and Ali’s departure, Soviet forces invade Afghanistan, forcing Amir and Baba to escape to Pakistan and then to America, California. In America, baba gets a job at a gas station, and Amir begins his further studies at university. Every Sunday, they sold goods in a flea market to make ends meet, where Amir meets his future wife Soraya, a fellow refugee from Afghanistan. 

Baba is then diagnosed with terminal cancer but grants Amir his final wish to ask Soraya’s father permission for Amir to marry her. And shortly after the marriage, Baba dies peacefully in his sleep. Soon, Amir and Soraya learn that they cannot have children, which causes sorrow among the couple’s happy marriage. 

Fifteen years after the marriage, Amir receives an unexpected phone call from his childhood father figure, Rahim Khan, who asks him to visit him in Peshawar. Before ending the ring, he says, “there is a way to be good again.”

After embarking on a journey to Pakistan, Peshawar, Amir gets to know that Hassan and Ali are both dead. Ali was killed in a landmine, and Hassan and his wife were shot dead by the Taliban after refusing to give up Amir’s house in Kabul. 

Rahim khan also reveals that Ali was sterile and Hassan was a child of Baba and Sanauber, making him Amir’s half-brother. He then tells him that he called him to rescue Hassan’s son Sohrab from an orphanage in Afghanistan. 

Amir reluctantly agrees, and accompanied by a taxi driver, Farid, begins his search for Sohrab. Soon they learn from the orphanage head that a Taliban usually comes up with cash and takes a girl or a boy with him. And this time, he had taken Sohrab. 

Somehow, they trace that Taliban leader and set an appointment at his residence. To Amir’s surprise, the Taliban leader was none other than Aseef. He agrees to let Sohrab go on one occasion, that Amir should beat him in a fight. 

Amir agrees but is poorly beaten by Aseef, who breaks his several bones. But Sohrab uses a slingshot that goes straight into Aseef’s left eye. Sohrab rescues injured Amir out of the house who had passed out. Amir then wakes up in a hospital in Pakistan. 

Ending

After recovering, Amir tells Sohrab about adopting him and taking him to America. However, the American authorities demanded evidence of his orphan status to grant him entry. Amir has no option but to send Sohrab to an orphanage for a little while to confirm his orphanage status. Sohrab, terrified by the prospect of an orphanage, attempts suicide. But survives. 

Amir eventually takes him to America with him somehow, but Sohrab refuses to interact with his new parents until Amir tells him about his father and his kite-running skills. Later that year, Amir wins another kite-fighting tournament, and Sohrab gives him a lopsided smile. Just before he begins to run the kite for him, Amir turns to Sohrab and says, “For you thousand times over.” The exact words Hassan had said to Amir in the winter of 1975. 

Set In The City Of Kabul, Afghanistan. The Story Revolves Around Two Friends, Amir And Hassan, Torn Apart By The Tragedy Of War And Fear. The Novel’s Pivotal Scene Happens In The Winter Of 1975 When Amir Fails To Prevent Sexual Assault Against Hassan. Shredded By The Guilt, Amir Began To Distance Himself To A Point Where Their Friendship Ends, And Only Silence Lurks.

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