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Writing a Research Paper on The Kite Runner

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This is an essay on The Kite Runner. It is more than just a book review, as a thesis will be developed and analyzed. A formal literary essay on The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini should include the following elements:

  1. It has to be formal, meaning no personal reference.
  2. The thesis has to be supported with quotes from the book. 
  3. Each paragraph should have at least one quote with an analysis of the quote that ties it into the thesis, as well as the overall theme of the book.
  4. It has to be non-repetitive and has to explore the thesis in various levels of understanding.
  5. The conclusion has to contain an incorporation of the importance of the thesis in regards to the entire book, i.e, so what? Why does this matter?

Plot of the Kite Runner

Because The Kite Runner is structured as a kind of memoir recounting key events in the life of the narrator, Amir, it spans a broad spectrum of geographical settings and historical time periods. Various sections of the novel are set in Afghanistan, Peshawar, Pakistan, and, ultimately, California, tracing the route that Amir takes out of his homeland of Afghanistan as that country is ripped apart by Soviet invasion and internecine conflicts.Kite Runner

Similarly, the time span that the novel covers encompasses Amir’s trajectory from adolescence to adulthood. The narrative opens in the early 1970s, as Amir enjoyed his childhood as the son of an affluent Kabul merchant, whom he calls Baba. During that period, Amir spent many of his days in leisure activities with Hassan, a servant whose father, Ali, is also a servant to Amir’s family. The local variation of sport kiting was a favorite of the two, lending its name to the novel’s title.

Although Hassan and Amir are close, they are separated by many differences, such as ethnicity and class. Hassan is Hazara, an ethnic minority group of Shiite Muslims. Furthermore, the two are separated by socioeconomic rank and status, a bridge that is virtually impossible to cross in the strictly hierarchical Afghan culture.

The center of the novel is a tragic event that transpired in front of young Amir in the streets of Kabul in 1975. Indeed, Amir’s haunting recollection of the event is the motivation for the entire memoir, as well as the force that sets the events of the novel in motion.

Because Hassan is an ethnic minority, he was often subjected to taunts and teasing by neighborhood bullies. On the day in question, however, the teasing escalated to an unprecedented level, and Hassan is subjected to a brutal beating and sexual assault as Amir, traumatized, crouches behind a wall and watches the events unfold.

Though Amir’s reluctance to get involved was understandable, he is wracked by guilt as a result of his inability to protect his friend. This, in turn, prompts Amir to withdraw from the relationship. His inaction during this episode is the defining juncture of his adolescence and adulthood.

Soon after this event upends Amir’s personal life, the country is ripped apart by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In the aftermath of the invasion, Amir and his father escape; first absconding to Peshawar, moving later to Pakistan and the United States. There, Amir finally begins to transcend the limitations that have been placed upon him by his father, exploring the arts of storytelling and writing.

Amir’s happiness and new marriage are tempered by other tragic events. Eventually, a series of interrelated events leads Amir back to the Middle East in search of an orphaned boy, Sohrab. He also learns that Hassan was actually Baba’s illegitimate son, and his own half-brother.

Themes in the Kite Runner

The Kite Runner is a multi-layered text that offers subtle insight on many significant themes. Probably the most essential sustained theme in the novel revolves around the issue of bravery and the importance of hewing to what is right and having the courage of one’s convictions. Although Amir did not display the kind of courage he thought he should have at the crucial juncture of his life when he was 12, he did display courage, resilience, perseverance, and adaptability in sustaining all of the turmoil and changes that his life entailed. In addition, by actively making the choice to return to look for Sohrab, Amir demonstrates that he has absorbed the lessons of his past mistakes and has changed his values and his life accordingly. In the act of caring for the deeply troubled Sohrab, it is as if all of Amir’s past mistakes have been forgiven and he has been given a new chance at happiness.

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