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The Kite Runner Characters

Khaled Hosseini
This Study Guide consists of approximately 41 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Kite Runner.
This section contains 1,164 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)

Amir

Amir is the son of a wealthy but stern man living in Kabul as a child. The family moves to America when Amir is still fairly young and it’s there he grows into a man, marries, and makes a home and career for himself. As a child, Amir believes Hassan is nothing more to him than the son of a family servant who also works for Amir’s family and who serves the role of playmate. Amir’s father is adamant that telling a lie is the worst possible betrayal. It’s not until they are adults that Amir learns the truth about his relationship to Hassan and he feels doubly betrayed by the information, knowing his father had lived a lie for Amir’s entire life by not acknowledging Hassan as his son. Amir desperately wants his father’s approval but doesn’t know how to achieve that. Amir takes things very seriously and he is brutally honest about his own shortcomings. When Hassan is assaulted, Amir doesn’t step in to try to save his friend. He hides and waits for the attack to be over before returning to the scene. However, he hates himself for his cowardice and denies himself the comfort of his relationship with Hassan after that. Years later, when Amir is faced with the danger of trying to get Hassan’s son from a pedophile, he takes a beating and refuses to back down. As a child, Amir realizes he has a natural talent for storytelling and he follows the dream of becoming a novelist as an adult though it’s not a popular track with the people of his country, including his father.

Hassan

Hassan is the boy who is raised as a servant in Amir’s house but who is really Amir’s half-brother, the illegitimate son of Amir’s father. Hassan is a solemn child and takes his duties as a servant in the household seriously. He is always happy to play with Amir but is always somewhat subservient. When Amir pushes Hassan, trying to make him angry, Hassan refuses to rise to the bait though he is still a youngster who could have been expected to return anger for anger. However, when a neighborhood bully is about to beat up Amir, Hassan stands up to the boy, threatening him with a slingshot. Hassan remains at home when Amir goes to school, and he receives no formal education. However, he eventually learns to read on his own, indicating his determination and self-discipline. He also ensures that his son Sohrab learns to read as a child. Hassan is known for his ability as a kite runner. He can tell where a kite is going to come down without even watching the sky like other runners. When Amir wins a kite tournament, Hassan runs off to get the kite and it’s during his efforts to keep the kite that he is raped by a neighborhood bully. Hassan seems to recover from the ordeal and is more hurt by the fact that Amir’s attitude changes than by the assault. Hassan never learns that he is Amir’s half-brother. He is murdered by soldiers in the street in front of Amir’s home when Sohrab is very young.

Baba

Amir’s father is called “Baba” throughout the story by Amir. He is a wealthy man who spends a great deal of money helping others. He builds an orphanage near Amir’s childhood home and often gives or lends money to people who are having a tough time. He preaches ideals and is almost killed at one point for refusing to allow a soldier to rape a young woman. However, he never acknowledges Hassan as his son though he apparently feels guilty for not doing so. He seems hard on Amir but is apparently secretly proud of his accomplishments, including his writing.

Rahim Khan

Rahim Khan is a well educated friend of Amir’s father. He is the first adult Amir considers a friend. He readily reads Amir’s stories and buys Amir a notebook for his birthday, an encouragement for Amir to follow his talent on this front. Rahim Khan is the person to reveal that Amir and Hassan are half-brothers when he tells Amir about Hassan’s son. He is living in captivity in Afghanistan.

Ali

Ali is the man who raises Hassan as his son. He is the faithful servant of Amir’s family and was raised with Amir’s father. Ali is crippled, the result of a bout with polio, and is often harassed by the young boys of the neighborhood.

Sanaubar

Sanaubar is Hassan’s mother. She runs away when Hassan is a baby and doesn’t return until he is an adult with a child of his own. When she returns, she is in near death and he nurses her back to health, earning her devotion until she dies several years later.

Soraya

Soraya is the daughter of a former military general, she is considered spoiled by the people of her culture because she’d made the mistake of going off with a young man before she was married. She is, however, a faithful wife to Amir and helps him care for his father during the days leading up to Baba’s death. She is heart broken when she cannot have children of her own and accepts Sohrab into her home without question.

Sohrab

Sohrab is the son of Hassan. He is left an orphan when Hassan and his wife are murdered by soldiers. He is then held captive by a cruel soldier until Amir’s arrival in the country. He is terrified of being put back in an orphanage. He tries to commit suicide when he learns that Amir is going to return to the United States without him. Even after he is taken to America, he is incapable of trusting his new situation and it takes a great deal of time and patience before he begins to open up to Amir and Soraya.

The General

The General is Soraya’s father. He is a stern man who believes he will someday return to a position of importance in Afghanistan. He would rather accept welfare in America than to perform some job that he believes is beneath him.

Khalia Jamila

Khalia Jamila is Soraya’s mother. She is immediately fond of Amir, at least partly because he falls in love with Soraya. She is a kind woman and her greatest fault seems to be her tendency to go on about her health. When her husband falls ill, she turns her attention to his medical condition.

Assef

Assef is a young boy who is nothing more than a neighborhood thug when Amir and Hassan are youngsters. He is the leader of the group that assaults Hassan and the one who rapes him. Assef is also the soldier who is holding Sohrab captive and who almost beats Amir to death.

This section contains 1,164 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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