The Kite Runner Summary,Themes,Characters & Synopsis

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the kite runner summary

About the Novel – The Kite Runner

TitleThe Kite Runner
AuthorKhaled Hosseini
Publication Year2003
No. of pages371
GenreFiction, Historical Fiction, Coming-of-Age
SettingKabul, Afghanistan (1970s-2000s)
Main CharactersAmir, Hassan, Baba, Rahim Khan, Assef, Soraya


The main characters of “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini are:

  1. Amir – The main character, a boy who feels guilty about betraying his friend Hassan and seeks redemption.
  2. Hassan – Amir’s loyal and kind-hearted friend who faces hardship and discrimination.
  3. Baba – Amir’s father, a proud and complex man who loves Amir deeply.
  4. Rahim Khan – A family friend who holds important secrets and serves as a mentor to Amir.
  5. Assef – The story’s antagonist, a violent and cruel bully.
  6. Soraya – Amir’s wife, a caring and supportive woman.


The themes of “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini are:

  1. Guilt and Redemption – The book explores how people deal with the mistakes they’ve made and whether they can make amends.
  2. Friendship and Betrayal – It shows how strong friendships can be tested and sometimes broken by betrayal.
  3. Social Class and Ethnicity – The story delves into the differences and conflicts between social classes and ethnic groups in Afghanistan.
  4. Effects of War- It highlights the devastating impact of war on individuals and families.
  5. Search for Identity- The characters struggle to understand who they are and where they belong in a changing world.


The Kite Runner is about two boys, Amir and Hassan, who are close friends in Afghanistan. Amir betrays Hassan, and this haunts him for years.

The story follows Amir’s journey to find redemption for his past actions. It’s also set against the backdrop of Afghanistan’s turmoil, showing how their lives change due to war and conflict. It’s a story of guilt, friendship, and trying to make things right.


Amir claims that something that occurred to him 26 years ago, when he was still a young child in Afghanistan, is what made him who he is today. Before the incident, he lived with his father, Baba, in a luxurious house in Kabul, Afghanistan. They employ two Hazara (an ethnic minority) servants named Ali and his son Hassan. Rahim Khan, a close friend of Baba, is also frequently present. Things start to change when Afghanistan’s ruler is removed. Amir and Hassan come upon Assef, Wali & Kamal when they are playing one day. Hassan uses his slingshot to stop Assef from beating up Amir for hanging out with a Hazara.

Winter, the time of the kite-fighting competition, is skipped over in the narrative. Boys compete to see who can cut the string of the rival kite by covering the string on their kites with pieces of glass. Kite running is the practice of boys chasing after and recovering lost kites. Hassan leaves to run the losing kite after Amir prevails in the competition. When Amir goes in search of him, he discovers Hassan pinned with his trousers down at the end of an alley. He is being held by Wali and Kamal as Assef rapes him. Amir flees and acts as though he is unaware of what transpired when Hassan returns carrying the kite. 

Amir and Hassan later grow apart. Amir realizes that either he or Hassan must go because of his crippling guilt. He accuses Hassan of stealing it after placing cash and a watch beneath Hassan’s pillow. Hassan admits to it when Baba confronts them, even though he isn’t the perpetrator. Ali and Hassan soon leave the area.

The action fast-forwards to March 1981. Baba and Amir flee Kabul, which the Soviets invaded and turned into a war zone, on the back of a truck. They arrive in Pakistan after a torturous trek. Baba and Amir are now residing in Fremont, California, two years later. Amir completes high school and enrolls in college while Baba works at a petrol station. On Sundays, Baba and Amir sell goods in a flea market where Baba runs with General Taheri, an old friend. Amir observes Soraya, the daughter of General Taheri. General Taheri catches Amir when he finally approaches her and informs him that there is a right way to conduct himself. 

Soon later, Baba receives a lung cancer diagnosis. Amir queries Baba about obtaining General Taheri’s approval for Amir and Soraya to wed. The suggestion is accepted by General Taheri. Due to Baba’s condition, the wedding was hastily conducted; a month later, Baba passed away. Amir tries in vain to have a child as Soraya pursues her literary career.

Rahim Khan contacts Amir by phone. Rahim Khan begs Amir to visit him in Pakistan since he is ill. When Amir runs into him a week later, Rahim Khan informs him about the destruction in Kabul. He claims that when the Soviets were driven out, things only grew worse. The Taliban is now governed by brutality. Amir has to know about Hassan before he can ask him for a favor. Rahim Khan kept guard over Baba and Amir’s home when they traveled out of Afghanistan. 

He determined to locate Hassan out of loneliness and advancing age. He persuaded Hassan and his wife Farzana to accompany him back to Kabul. Sohrab, a boy, was ultimately born to Farzana and Hassan. Rahim Khan traveled to Pakistan a few years later for medical care, but while there, he got a call from a Kabul neighbor. In addition to killing Hassan & Farzana and sending Sohrab to an orphanage, the Taliban proceeded to Baba’s residence.

Rahim Khan wants Amir to travel to Kabul and return Sohrab to Pakistan, where he will be cared for by a couple who live there. Amir accepts to hear that Baba is Hassan’s father when he explains it to him. Amir discovers the orphanage in Afghanistan where Sohrab is supposed to reside, but he is not there. The director of the orphanage claims that Sohrab was abducted by a Taliban officer one month prior. The official will be at the soccer stadium the next day during the match if Amir wishes to find him. Amir attends the game, and during halftime, the Taliban imprison a man and a lady, whom the official Amir is searching for to stone to death. Amir arranges for the official to meet with him through one of the Taliban security personnel.

Amir informs the official that he is seeking for a youngster named Sohrab when they first meet, and the official instructs the guards to bring the boy inside. Sohrab seems more feminine in his blue silk attire and mascara, which implies that the males are abusing him sexually. Amir hears a familiar phrase from the official, and then all of a sudden he realizes it’s Assef.

Assef claims he has unfinished business that has to be resolved. He uses brass knuckles to beat Amir, shattering his ribs and splitting his lip in the process. When Assef rushes at him, Sohrab shoots him in the eye, allowing both of them to flee. Sohrab then threatens Assef with his slingshot. Amir learns that there has never been a pair who could take care of Sohrab while he heals in the hospital. Sohrab agrees when Amir invites him to move in with him to the United States.

Since Amir cannot demonstrate that Sohrab’s parents are deceased, the adoption officials inform Amir that adopting Sohrab will be difficult. Amir then informs Sohrab that he could have to return to an orphanage. Before they can tell Sohrab about Amir and Soraya’s plan to bring him to the United States, Sohrab attempts suicide. He remains alive, but he completely stops speaking. Sohrab is withdrawn even after they bring him to California. They go to a park one day with other Afghans. People are kite flying. Amir purchases one, and Sohrab joins him in flying it. They confront another kite after seeing it. They triumph by using one of Hassan’s favored strategies. Amir leaves to run the lost kite for Sohrab Sohrab grinned as the kite flew away.


What is the main point of The Kite Runner?

The main point of “The Kite Runner” is to explore themes of guilt, redemption, and the enduring impact of past actions through the story of Amir’s journey to make amends for betraying his childhood friend, Hassan, in the backdrop of Afghanistan’s turmoil.

What is the hidden meaning of The Kite Runner?

The hidden meaning of “The Kite Runner” revolves around themes of guilt, redemption, and the enduring impact of past actions. It explores how people can seek forgiveness and make amends for their mistakes, even in the face of difficult circumstances.

How does The Kite Runner end?

The Kite Runner ends with Amir and Sohrab, Hassan’s son, bonding and flying a kite together at a kite-fighting tournament in Kabul. This moment symbolizes Amir’s redemption and reconciliation with his past.

About the Author-Khaled Hosseini

NameKhaled Hosseini
Date of BirthMarch 4, 1965
Place of BirthKabul, Afghanistan
Notable WorksThe Kite Runner (2003)
A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007)
And the Mountains Echoed (2013)
Writing StyleEmotional depth and vivid storytelling
WebsiteKhaled Hosseini’s Official Website

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