The Theme of Love in the Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner tells the story of Amir as he makes a quest to try and rectify the mistakes that he made during his childhood. The story revolves around Amir and his previous relationship with Hassan’s closest childhood friend. Amir recalls how he was unfair to Hassan and how he got rid of him from his home, never to see him again. However, Hassan lingers in Amir’s brain, and Amir decides to go back to Afghanistan to mend his past wrongs. He finds Hassan’s son and adopts him to make up for Hassan’s treatment. The Kite Runner is set in both Afghanistan and the United States.

However, the Kite Runner events in the United States are peaceful, while the events in Afghanistan are primarily dull. In Afghanistan, Amir and Hassan are best friends, but Amir makes friendship is only one-sided since Amir does not consider Hassan his friend (Khaled 25). The two friends like riding kites together, and one fateful day, after they had won a kite riding event, Hassan gets raped as Amir watches while hiding. The scenario changes Amir, and he starts being cold to Hassan, and they drift apart. However, the two had a strong love for each other, and the relationship that they had before shaped their future lives.

Although The Kite Runner was hugely successful, the book faced several challenges caused by its contents. In 2017, The Kite Runner was the fourth most challenged book, according to the American Library Association. Many critics cited that the book had a poor approach to sexual violence and inspired Islamophobia. The critics further argued that The Kite Runner inspired terrorism and promoted Islam. Despite the challenges that the book faces, the message of love it holds remains strong.

The Kite Runner is filled with relationships that originate from love. However, most of the relationships record a period where their passion for each other is strained but remains steadfast. Further, different types of love exist in the novel. Hassan loves Amir selflessly, while Amir’s love for Hassan is selfish. There is paternal love between Amir and his father and Amir and Rahim Khan, while Amir and Soraya share romantic love.

The novel’s author embraces various tools and uses his narration to show the multiple acts of love and kindness. He uses real-life scenarios in telling his story to enhance believability. The war in Afghanistan was an actual war that led to the emigration of most Afghans, such as Amir and Kamal, who is Afghan that emigrated (Khaled 120). Amir and Hassan, who have different personalities, are the story’s center. The Kite Runner tells a story of deep and sincere love between dissimilar people and is constantly strained.

The majority of the story in The Kite Runner is in Afghanistan, even though the narrator now lives in the United States. In Afghanistan, the two different social classes of Muslims did not mix. However, Hassan and Amir got along very well despite their different social classes (Khaled 25). The two did everything together, suggesting that they defied the social order that existed in Afghanistan at the time and let the love that they had for each other prevail. Although Amir always feels superior to Hassan, he later realizes he has jealousy for Hassan not because of a low social setting but because Hassan always received love. At the same time, no one showed him any love.

When Amir wants to get rid of Hassan by accusing him of stealing, Hassan does not deny the charges, even though he knows the ramifications (Khaled 105). Despite being betrayed by Amir, Hassan is still interested in Amir’s life and asks Rahim Khan whether Amir is happy. He also leaves a pleasant letter for Amir, describing how loyal a friend he is to him. The acts of kindness that Hassan shows to Amir show the deep love he always had for Amir, even after Amir betrays him.

On the other hand, Amir had a different love for Hassan. Due to their various social classes, Amir could not show his affection for Hassan. The two shared their childhood and were arguably best friends, if not brothers. However, Amir only indicates his love for Hassan when just the two of them. For example, Amir watches Hassan ridiculed in a military camp but waits in a dark cinema hall to comfort him (Khaled 7). Amir’s actions show that he loves Hassan but cannot openly declare it because of society’s social expectations.

Amir tells the story in the novel because of the regret he feels due to what he did to Hassan. Amir let Hassan get raped and made Hassan get thrown away from their home. Amir’s actions pushed him away from Hassan and made him devastated throughout his life. Amir can intervene when Assef sodomizes Hassan, but he hides and watches his friend get raped (Khaled 77). Amir’s actions eat him up, and he cannot stand seeing Hassan again. Amir’s regret for his inaction when Hassan is being raped points to the love he thought for Hassan.

The novel also shows that people give back the love that they receive. Hassan loved Amir and always showed Amir that he did. However, Amir could not reciprocate the love that Hassan gave to him. As events unfolded and Amir grew up, he returned to Afghanistan. He realizes that the now-dead Hassan was his half-brother, and he has a son at the orphanage (Khaled 220). Amir gets an opportunity to forward the love received from Hassan to his son. He confronts the Taliban leader, Assef, and he manages to take Hassan’s son, Sohrab after Assef beats him up almost to death. Amir adopts Sohrab and treats him the same way Hassan treats him. He stands up for him and plays with the kites with him, showing his love for him.

The novel is also set in a patriarchal society, and the evidence of paternal love between father and son manifests. When Kamal dies, his father becomes devastated and can no longer see the point of living. He loved his son and did not see the point of living without him, and he, thus, commits suicide (Khaled 124). The author also develops Baba’s character to show that he loves Amir. When they still lived in Kabul throughout the novel, Amir portrays his father as a man that loved all apart from him. However, as they flee to the United States, Amir’s father shows his love for his son. Amir can finally feel and appreciate his father’s love for him.

Rahim Khan also reveals to Amir that Hassan was his half-brother (Khaled 223). The revelation explains why Baba always loved Hassan as if he was his son, even though the social setting in Kabul at the time did not allow for them to mingle. When Hassan confesses to having stolen from Amir, Baba betrays his principles about theft and forgives Hassan (Khaled 105). The betrayal of Baba’s principles and eventually forgiving Hassan shows that he had paternal love for his illegitimate son.

Another type of love that exists is romantic love. Amir loves his wife, Soraya, and she loves Amir. Their love for each other develops, and they get married. The two do not face any significant challenges and objections as they court each other. However, their love is put to the test when they cannot bring children of their own, despite trying various scientific methods (Khaled 186). However, the love between them is strong, and they survive the difficulty, as they choose to live without children. They manage to live happily, and in the end, Soraya, who objected to adopting children, becomes an integral part of helping Amir adopt Sohrab.

In conclusion, The Kite Runner story is filled with love, even though its storytelling is from the point of sadness and regret. The primary love that exists and inspires the whole story in the novel is the love that exists between Hassan and Amir. Other kinds of love are paternal love that fathers show to their children and the romantic love that Amir and Soraya show to each other. The narrator, Amir, is also on a constant quest to find and show the love he had earlier forsaken when he betrayed Hassan. Thus, the theme of love is consistent and is developed throughout the novel.

Work Cited

Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. Riverhead Books, 2004.

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