written by: Terry Ligard
• edited by: SForsyth
• updated: 1/6/2012
Gain a better understanding of the characters and themes in 'The Kite Runner' by examining these quotes.
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Quotation: “WHAT’S SO FUNNY?" Assef bellowed. Another rib snapped, this time left lower. What was so funny was that, for the first time since the winter of 1975, I felt at peace. I laughed because I saw that, in some hidden nook in a corner of my mind, I’d even been looking forward to this...my body was broken--just how badly I wouldn’t find out until later--but I felt healed. Healed at last. I laughed.
Analysis: This passage is significant because this is the pivotal point in Amir’s life. When Amir fights Assef, he sacrifices his life to save Sohrab just as Hassan had sacrificed his life for Amir. The guilt Amir has been suffering from his childhood is finally lifted, and his mind is at peace. Thus, he feels healed and begins laughing. Amir believes that he has compensated for the pain he caused Hassan.
Quotation: He was already turning the street corner, his rubber boots kicking up snow. He stopped, turned. He cupped his hands around his mouth. “For you a thousand times over!" he said. Then he smiled his Hassan smile and disappeared around the corner.
Analysis: Since Hassan had told Amir that he would bring him the kite, he is afraid of losing the kite to Assef, because a broken vow would disappoint Amir. Consequently, Hassan chooses to suffer the consequences of Assef’s anger—thus losing his innocence. From Hassan’s actions, a large contrast in human nature is evident. Amir portrays the selfish nature of people, in which one only considers the success of one's self and disregards others. On the contrary, Hassan portrays an unrealistic view of people, which is that of relentless loyalty and purity, even in the face of one’s demise.
Quotation: No one finds out about this, you hear me? No one. I don’t want anybody’s sympathy. Then he disappeared into the dim lobby.
Analysis: With reputation in mind, Baba was afraid of taking chemo-medication for his cancer in case another Afghani found out. Baba made the decision to effuse the medication, and rather die than suffer a loss in status. According to Rahim Khan, Baba values honor more than anything else. If a reputable person’s misdeeds were disclosed, all would know and their name would lose its glamour.
Quotation: I envied her. Her secret was out. Spoken. Dealt with. I opened my mouth and almost told her how I’d betrayed Hassan, lied, driven him out, and destroyed a forty-year relationship between Baba and Ali. But I didn’t. I suspected there were many ways in which Soraya Taheri was a better person than me. Courage was just one of them.
Analysis: Apparently, Amir is afraid of telling Soraya about his past with Hassan. He foresees that doing so could deteriorate his image and chances of marrying her. The cowardice of his youth reappears, and Amir chooses to keep quite. In fact, his code of values is questionable as Amir decides to hide the truth about himself and begin a relationship with dishonesty.