Khaled Hosseini Writing Styles in The Kite Runner

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 897 words
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Point of View

The story is presented in first person from the limited perspective of Amir. Amir is a very serious and introspective young man who grows into a similarly serious adult. He is angry at himself as a youngster because he was afraid to intervene when Hassan was attacked. Amir labels himself a coward and Hassan’s very presence reminds Amir of his cowardice. He takes inappropriate action in his efforts to deal with is guilt. He believes that Hassan’s absence would make the situation easier to bear and he tells a lie, labeling Hassan a thief, in an effort to accomplish that. He then hates himself for that as well. While the first-person perspective is typically slanted in favor of the person telling the story, that is not the case in this story. In fact, it seems that Amir is brutally honest. He talks about his fear of facing the bullies as Hassan is being assaulted. Then, when he does meet up with Hassan, he quickly looks at the kite he’d retrieved and was relieved to see that it had not been damaged.

The reader must guess many of the thoughts and emotions of the other characters, though there are some clues in the dialogue and the narrative. For example, Amir distances himself from Hassan as a means of dealing with his guilt. Hassan asks if he’s done something to make Amir angry and apologizes, saying that he wants them to return to their former friendship. Amir knows that his father is not particularly pleased when Amir sets out to become a writer. However, he overhears his father bragging about his talent, a sign that his father is proud of him nonetheless.

Language and Meaning

The story is written in English though there are some occasional words and terms in another language. The casual reader may have difficulty keeping track of the places, people, and events because the names and other terms are not typical American English names. The names and terms – including Assef, Sohrab, agha, and others – may be somewhat confusing. The use of the foreign names and terms is necessary for the integrity of the book. The terms are generally defined or explained through the context of the story. For example, at one point Assef and his friends are bullying Amir and Hassan. Hassan stands up to him but refers to him as “Agha.” The word “agha” is never fully defined but Amir makes note of the term and wonders “what it must be like to live with such an ingrained sense of one’s place in a hierarchy.” Considering the context, the reader can assume the word is a reference of respect. Though not every word and term is explained, most readers will discern enough of the meanings so that the story makes sense. The overall tone of the story is one of hope though there are undercurrents of darkness and despair. Though Sohrab is brutalized and tries to commit suicide, the author seems to hint that the story will have a happy ending. The reader who expects the story to come to a complete conclusion will be disappointed. Amir points out a moment that indicates healing will eventually take place but the story ends before that healing occurs.


The story is divided into twenty-five chapters of varying lengths. The first chapter is a foreshadowing of the rest of the events. The story is divided between dialogue and narrative. Both are acceptable to the story. The majority of the story is presented in past tense but there are a few exceptions. These present tense segments seem to be the author’s attempt to make the action more immediate and intense and in this, he is successful. An example is seen in Chapter 25. Amir is at the hospital after Sohrab’s suicide attempt. The previous chapter ends in past tense with Amir finding Sohrab in the bathtub but chapter twenty-five opens in present tense as he is watching the doctors and nurses work on Sohrab. The story shifts back to past tense as soon as Amir learns that Sohrab is going to survive. The first nine chapters of the book take place when Amir and Hassan are children. Chapter 10 jumps ahead several years to the day Amir and his father are leaving the country, beginning their journey to America. In Chapter 11, they have arrived in the United States. In chapters twelve and thirteen, Amir settles in to life in America, meets his future wife, and Baba dies. In Chapter 14, Amir begins his trip back to his own country to seek out Sohrab. In Chapter 21, Amir returns to his old neighborhood. In Chapter 22, Amir is united with Sohrab and they begin their journey toward safety. In Chapter 25, Amir takes Sohrab back to the United States where the boy begins the slow process of healing. Foreshadowing is an important part of the story. Many times, the foreshadowing takes place at the end of the chapter as is the case with the end of chapter twenty-four when Amir finds Sohrab after his suicide attempt. In other cases, the foreshadowing occurs in other places. Chapter 11, for example, begins with the statement that “Baba loved the idea of America” but life in America “gave him an ulcer.” From this, the reader knows that everything is not smooth for Amir and his father.

This section contains 897 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
The Kite Runner from BookRags. (c)2017 BookRags, Inc. All rights reserved.
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