In the Kite Runner, the major underlying theme is the relationships between characters. These relationships grow and change through the events and conflicts in the story. The theme of sin and forgiveness is prevalent in the novel
Throughout the first part of the novel, the character Ali is introduced along with his personality and his character. Two of his most predominant traits displayed in the text are the affection he shows towards others and his ability to accept and forget when others have wronged him. Ali would always be there to comfort Hassan and Amir whenever trouble arose or the situation called for it, especially when he tried to shelter the young boys about the sensitive topic of what was really happening outside their house the night their city was bombed. “….Hassan yelped, his hands stretched towards Ali. Ali wrapped his arms around us… “They’re hunting ducks, Ali said in a hoarse voice. “They hunt ducks at night, you know. Don’t be afraid.”(Hosseini 35). Here it is shown how, no matter what is happening in the outside world, Ali will always be there for the boys and ready to comfort them. Even though Ali can seem to be portrayed at a softer, almost weaker character, he still manages to be a strong and supportive wall for the boys to lean on despite the taunts of Assef and his gang. While taunting Ali, Assef says, “Hey, Babalu, who did you eat today? Huh? Come on, Babalu, give us a smile!” (Hosseini 38). Here Ali’s patience and tolerance towards people who wrong him are shown, an example being when Assef is mocking him for his disabilities and his race. Ali is shown to be “immune” to the taunts of these boys through his silence and reluctance of lashing out.
The audience is introduced to many different types of conflicts in The Kite Runner, including Amir’s doubt about ever being able to win over his father’s praise and affection and the revelation that Amir and Hassan are half-brothers. At the beginning of the novel, Amir is in constant doubt that his father will ever accept him or love him as his own son by saying, “I wished I too had some kind of scar that would beget Baba’s sympathy. It wasn’t fair. Hassan hadn’t done anything to earn Baba’s affections; he’d just been born with a stupid harelip” (Hosseini 46). There are many times where Amir feels pangs of jealousy whenever Baba shows more affection towards Hassan that he does Amir. There are also times where Amir is desperately trying to gain Baba’s attention, like during the kite running tournament but to no avail. It is not until much later, after moving to America when Amir and Baba finally grow closer. Amir finally starts to feel this closeness with his father during his graduation when Baba says, ” “I am moftakhir, Amir,” he said. Proud. His eyes gleamed when he said that and I liked being on the receiving end of that look” (Hosseini 131). Later it is revealed that the reason Baba showed Hassan so much affection is that Hassan is also Baba’s son. After Amir finds out that he is related to Hassan, he is at first angry with his father. After the initial anger with his father is subdued Amir is then more passionately driven to rescue Sohrab from the orphanage when he thinks, “….and what Rahim Khan revealed to me changed things. Made me see how my entire life, long before the winter of 1975, dating back to when that singing Hazara women was still nursing me, had been a cycle of lies, betrayals, and secrets. There is a way to be good aging, he’d said. A way to end the cycle. With a little boy. An orphan. Hassan’s son. Somewhere in Kabul”(Hosseini 153). Amir believes that rescuing Sohrab would help with the guilt he feels and act as his redemption for the event that happened when he and Hassan were children. Even after Sohrab was rescued we still see that Amir is attached to the child, either out of fondness or still out of guilt, when he ran away from the hotel and Amir frantically searched for him until he finally found him.
In The Kite Runner, there are many different themes introduced to the reader, in particular, the themes of sin and redemption and of forgiveness. The theme of sin and redemptions is shown through Sanaubar’s actions. Almost immediately after Hassan was born she fled from the family, wanting nothing to do with it. Towards the end, however, she returns to her son right before Hassan’s wife has Sohrab. It is proven that Sanaubar intends to stay when Rahim Khan says, “I remember Sanaubar came out of the hut holding her grandson, had him wrapped in a wool blanket. She stood beaming under a dull grey sky, tears streaming down her cheeks, the needle-cold wind blowing hair, and clutching the baby in her arms like she never wanted to let go” (Hosseini 211). She felt sorrow for her previous actions and wanted to make things right. Sanaubar is looking for forgiveness from Hassan for what happened when he was still a baby and Hassan immediately gives it to her and helps nurse her back to full health. Another time that the theme of forgiveness will come up into the novel is when Hassan forgives Amir in his letter to him saying, “And I dream that someday you will return to Kabul to revisit the land of our childhood. If you do, you will find an old and faithful friend waiting for you” (Hosseini 218). This quote shows the readers that Hassan forgives Amir for planting the money and birthday gifts under his bed so that he would get into trouble. It is not definitively known if Hassan knew that Amir watched him get raped, but nonetheless he is still showing Amir forgiveness for what he knew occurred.
In conclusion, The Kite Runner is a novel that follows character growth during many events. Thought the novel, different character traits are shown and different types of conflicts and themes are introduced.