As in all books, “The Kite Runner” has many different themes throughout. There are many ironic twists and turns and always keeps you wanting to read more. Some of the themes include: Kites; Discrimination and violence; and family ties, homeland, and nationality.
One very key theme in the book was kites. You can tell that kites are a theme just by reading its title, "The Kite Runner." The theme starts to show in the very beginning when they have the kite tournament where Hassan is running Amir's kite. This is when Hassan gets raped and Amir doesn’t help him when he knows he could. Kites symbol many things in the book. One of these things is the class difference between Amir and Hassan, which explains in huge part, their relationship. In kite fighting, one boy controls the kite while the other feeds the string. Hassan runs the kite for Amir, just like he also makes his breakfast, folds his clothes, and cleans his room. Even though Hassan enjoys kite fighting, he does not actually have control over the kite. Hassan may help the kite "lift-and-dive," but Amir is the one who is always the victorious one. Hassan may catch a rival kite and hold it in his arms, but he always has to bring it back to Amir. Of course Amir is happy along with being able to live with wealth and privilege in Baba's household. Amir doesn’t do much for others as Hassan does. Kites are also a major theme because just like the country, it involves rage and conflict. The string of the kites have ground glass on them and carves into the fliers hands, while the runners run to retrieve them once they are cut down by their opponents. Throughout the book, Afghanistan had to go through people overthrowing each other. Although class separated Hassan and Amir, they both love their kite running, and it brought them together as a team despite their differences. They were most like brothers in these moments, more then any other time. They both shared a sense of freedom until the competition is over and they had to go back to reality. Another theme would be Discrimination and Violence. There is a major struggle between the two groups in Afghanistan, the Pashtuns, and the Hazaras. The Hazaras are looked down upon and even though that is historically noted, Baba is very nice to Ali and Hassan; they were of the Hazaras. Even though Baba treats them like family, they still sleep in a hut on mattresses on the ground, and they act like servants, tending to the garden, cooking, and cleaning. The reason that Hassan gets raped by is because he is of Hazara descent, and Assef hates him because of that. Another showcase of discrimination in the book is the way the Taliban discriminates against everyone but themselves. They mostly hate the Hazara people and massacre them in the regions of Mazar-i-Sharif and Hazarajat, and any other places they can find them. They do this because they think of the Hazaras as worthless and barely human. They have the same views as Hitler did, who is even Assef’s idol. Violence is a major part of the book too. Kite running is one form of violence. It cuts up the fliers’ hands, and it is also a battle. Another act of violence is Hassan’s rape, and then Sohrab’s rape later on in the book. This was totally discriminatory too. They only did it because of their hate for Hazaras. One last show of violence in the book was when Amir tried to save Sohrab and was beaten by Assef. Although he is in great pain, he feels joy from knowing he was repaying Hassan for all the suffering he went through for Amir.
A few other themes of “The Kite Runner” are family ties, homeland, and nationality. Family is extremely important in the book. Afghanistan is a nation where culture and tradition are very important, especially to the older generation. Even when not in Afghanistan, the people still believe this. When Amir and Baba were in America, Amir had to observe Afghanistan’s tradition in courting Soraya. They couldn’t even be seen together in public before their wedding. Baba wanted so bad to be able to let them all know Hassan was his son, but because of his and Amir’s honor, he brought that secret to the grave. How could he ever been looked at the same after people knew that he had a Hazara son? Also, he didn’t want to compromise the relationships between Hassan and Amir, and Ali and himself. Family is very important to Amir, and once he finds out that Hassan truly was family, he was then less hesitant about saving Sohrab. It was a lot harder for Baba to live in America then it was for Amir. Amir was still growing up, while Baba had already lived a long time in Afghanistan and had made a life for himself there. He was very influential and very successful, but when he came to America, he has to worry about being a foreigner, and had to work at a gas station. For Amir, America is exhilarating, and refreshing to him, and is very open-minded towards America. But Afghanistan he does not forget, while practicing some of their customs still, and even writing a novel about it. Amir was lucky that he didn’t have as much of a struggle as Baba did, because he became an adult in America instead of moving there after already growing up in another country. It’s sad that Amir can never really visit his “homeland” because it will never be the same, as he once knew it. Overall, there were a lot of other themes in the book as well, including, war, loyalty, forgiveness, friendship, redemption, sacrifice, fear and the relationships between father and son. I focused on kites; discrimination and violence; and family ties, homeland, and nationality because I felt like there was a lot of examples of each, and they aren’t themes that necessarily stand out as much as some of the others. Amir, along with the others went through a lot in this book and Amir ended up ironically seeing himself as the man he should be, being loyal, and ending up repaying Hassan for all he had done.