The Kite Runner Quotes

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 1,058 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)

That was a long time ago, but 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.
-- Amir (Chapter 1 paragraph 1)

Importance: Amir is refering to the fact that he watched Hassan attacked and raped, and did nothing to stand up for him. This scars Amir, possibly more than Hassan, and he is never able to forgive himself for what he sees as an act of cowardice.

While my mother hemorrhaged to death during childbirth, Hassan lost his less than a week after he was born. Lost her to a fate most Afghans considered far worse than death: She ran off with a clan of traveling singers and dancers.
-- Amir (Chapter 2 paragraph 13)

Importance: Amir and Hassan are constantly compared, and this is one of many instances in which Hassan's life is considered worse than Amir's. However, Hassan's mother does return to him later in the story while Amir's mother is forever lost to him.

Lore has it my father once wrestled a black bear in Baluchistan with his bare hands. If the story had been about anyone else, it would have been dismissed as laaf, that Afghan tendency to exaggerate - sadly, almost a national affliction; if someone bragged that his son was a doctor, chances were the kid had once passed a biology test in high school.
-- Amir (Chapter 3 paragraph 1)

Importance: Amir's father is, in many ways, a greater-than-life character. He does everything bigger and better than everyone else, and everyone loves him.

The generation of Afghan children whose ears would know nothing but the sounds of bombs and gunfire was not yet born.
-- Amir (Chapter 5 paragraph 5)

Importance: This scene begins with gunfire rattling the house as the sounds of warfare are heard in Amir's neighborhood for the first time. The fighting will eventually send Amir and Baba to the United States. They will leave Hassan behind. It's also the war that will cause Hassan's death and eventually prompt Amir to return to his old neighborhood.

If I changed my mind and asked for a bigger and fancier kite, Baba would buy it for me - but then he'd buy it for Hassan too. Sometimes I wished he wouldn't do that. Wished he'd let me be the favorite.
-- Amir (Chapter 6 paragraph 9)

Importance: Amir is jealous of Baba's interest in Hassan. At this point in the story, it seems that Amir's jealousy is justified. His relationship with his father is not strong, and Amir wants his father to pay more attention to him. However, it's later revealed that Baba is Hassan's biological father. This changes the situation in the eyes of the reader.

Hassan was standing at the blind end of the alley in a difiant stance: fists curled, legs slightly apart. Behind him, sitting on piles of scrap and rubble, was the blue kite. My key to Baba's heart.
-- Amir (Chapter 7 paragraph 92)

Importance: Amir wants that kite more than anything in the world. He has come to believe that winning the tournament will garner his father's favor in a way that he can't seem to accomplish. While he watches, Hassan is attacked and raped by the boys. Amir doesn't step in to fight for Hassan, and he will always feel ashamed of that.

Baba loved the idea of America. It was living in America that gave him an ulcer.
-- Amir (Chapter 11 paragraph 1)

Importance: Baba wants to go to America, and he goes through great difficulty to get there. However, once they are in America, he has trouble adjusting to the customs. Like many of the Afghan refugees, he wants to hold to his heritage and traditions.

And now, this woman, this mother, with her heart breaking, eager, crooked smile and the barely veiled hope in her eyes. I cringed a little at the position of power I'd been granted, and all because I had won at the genetic lottery that had determined my sex.
-- Amir (Chapter 12 paragraph 51)

Importance: Amir has just worked up the courage to talk to Soraya. Soraya's mother has just about given up hope that Soraya will wed. Soraya ran off with a man and stayed away for a short while. This transgression from tradition has prompted shame on Soraya and her family. Amir realizes that paying attention to Soraya has caused her mother renewed hope. He also realizes that he has that power simply because he's a man.

And why you? I think we both know why it has to be you, don't we?
-- Rahim Khan (Chapter 17 paragraph 35)

Importance: Rahim Khan's statement reveals that he knows that Amir had stood by and watched as Hassan was attacked. Amir had done nothing about it.

Earlier that morning, when I was certain no one was looking, I did something I had done twenty-six years earlier: I planted a fistful of crumpled money under a mattress.
-- Amir (Chapter 19 paragraph 130)

Importance: Amir had hidden money under Hassan's mattress as a child and lied, telling Baba that Hassan had stolen the money. He'd done it in an effort to make Baba force Hassan to leave. Baba had instead forgiven Hassan. There's a lot a play in this situation. Amir is ashamed of having stood by while Hassan was attacked. Hassan's presence is a constant reminder of his failure. Hassan realizes what Amir has done but doesn't tell the truth. He confesses to the theft and leaves, though Baba doesn't want him to. This time, when Amir puts the money under the mattress, it's because he realizes Farid's family is in dire need of money for food.

Forgive your father if you can. Forgive me if you wish. But most important, forgive yourself.
-- Rahim Khan (Chapter 23 paragraph 68)

Importance: Rahim Khan realizes that Amir has never stopped feeling guilty for standing by as Hassan was attacked. He also realizes that Amir is angry with his father for lying about Hassan's birth all these years and that Amir is likely to be angry at Rahim Khan for having revealed the truth of Hassan's birth and sending Amir back into Afghanistan. However, Rahim Khan knows that Amir is never going to find peace unless he manages to forgive.

For you, a thousand times over,' I heard myself say.
-- Amir (Chapter 25 paragraph 163)

Importance: Amir says this as he's running the kite for Sohrab. The importance of this quote is that it's what Hassan says to Amir when Amir wins the tournament in Afghanistan as a child. This conclusion is a tidy literary tool, bringing the reader full circle from Amir's moment of greatest shame to a moment of hope that Sohrab is finally coming out of his self-imposed silence.

This section contains 1,058 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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