The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini tells the story of a young Afghan boy named Amir. Amir has a very rich and powerful father named Baba, and two servants, Hassan and his father Ali. Hassan and Ali are both minorities in Afganistan, and are sometimes abused. Even so, Hassan and Amir are best friends. Amir also feels that his father’s friend, Rahim Khan, is more like a father to himself. Later in the story, the two boys, Hassan and Amir, enter in Afghanistan’s annual kite-fighting contest. The goal was to sever the string of opponents’ kites without losing your own. When a kite falls the other children would run after, called kite-running. Amir wins the contest, and Hassan tries to run the last kite. He gets it, but some enemies of his want it too. As Amir is watching, they torture Hassan but let him keep the kite. Amir’s guilt makes the friendship drift apart, and he decides Hassan has to go. He frames Hassan for stealing and Baba dismisses them. Years later, Baba and Amir have to flee Afghanistan to go to Pakistan, because Afghanistan has become a war zone. Two years later, Baba and Amir live in Fremont, California. Baba works while Amir goes to college. Baba meets some old friends at a flea market and Amir ends up marrying their daughter. Baba gets cancer and dies shortly after the wedding. Later, Amir gets a call from Rahim Khan. He is sick and wants Amir to see him in Pakistan. When he gets there, he learns that both Hassan and his wife, Farzana, were killed by the Taliban, but their little boy, Sohrab, is stuck in a terrible orphanage. Amir goes out to rescue this little boy, as atonement for his previous sins. Amir goes to this orphanage, and finds out that Sohrab had been taken away a few months earlier by a Taliban official. He arranges a meeting with this official and eventually realizes that he both has Sohrab and is the kid who tortured Hassan all those years ago. Amir and Sohrab escape with their lives only after Sohrab shoots the Taliban man with his slingshot. Amir now has to try to get Sohrab to America to live with him. He starts to gain his trust, and tries to legally adopt him. The adoption agency tells him that Sohrab may have to live in an orphanage for a few months. Later that day, Amir and his wife find a way to bring Sohrab to America, but he tried to kill himself. They bring him to America, but he remains withdrawn and forlorn. The story ends at a kite-running contest in America, where Amir makes his first breakthrough with Sohrab.
Discussion Questions: Do you think Amir will ever regain Sohrab’s trust, or will he forever remain withdrawn to Amir?
Guilt is Amir’s driving factor in going to retrieve Sohrab. Do you think that he would have made the journey to save Sohrab if not for the guilt that he had held on to for so long?