- Paragraph one – foreshadowing
- Paragraph two – narrative point of view
- Paragraph three – symbolism
Quotes to use:
- “I thought of the life I had lived until the winter of 1975 came along and changed everything. And made me what I am today.”
- Baba: “There is something missing in that boy.” … “And where is he headed?” Baba said. “A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything.”
- That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realise I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.”
- “I was going to win, and I was going to run that last kite. Then I’d bring it home and show it to Baba. Show him once and for all that his son was worthy.”
In the novel, “The Kite Runner” written by Khaled Hosseini, the main character Amir develops greatly throughout the text. Amir’s development begins at a young age when he was living in Kabul, Afghanistan and experienced some significant turning points – including witnessing the rape of his friend and servant Hassan and the Soviet military intervention which resulted in him and his father moving to America. Amir continues to progress even when living in America at an older age, going through his father’s death, visiting Afghanistan, witnessing the new Taliban regime and hearing the news of Hassan’s death. Khaled uses many different language techniques to assist this development and lead Amir from guilt to redemption – including narrative point of view, foreshadowing, and symbolism.
The first language feature that illustrates Amir’s development throughout the film is when the author uses foreshadowing. Foreshadowing occurs when the author uses quotes or certain phrases in the storyline that indicate future events in the novel. In the Kite Runner, there are many stages in the book where Khaled uses foreshadowing to both indicate at events to come in the book and also illustrate Amir’s future development. Foreshadowing creates an effect of suspense for the reader as they look forward to seeing how what was foreshadowed is further developed. This begins during the first chapter of the book when Amir says, “I thought of the life I had lived until the winter of 1975 came along and changed everything. And made me what I am today.” In this quote, Amir is first of all hinting at the event of Hassan’s rape which occurred during the 1975 winter and how his actions during that situation, negatively affected both his and Hassan’s life. He then goes on to mention ‘how he is today’, signifying his development due to that event and how it lead him closer to redemption. Another example is when Baba and Rahim Khan are having a conversation about Amir and Baba says, “A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything.” In this quote, Baba is clearly foreshadowing the future testing of Amir’s character and what he thinks Amir’s life would be like in the future if he continues to be quiet and not stand up for himself. He is summing up Amir’s major flaw, his cowardice. Baba knows if he gives Amir to much praise he will never learn he needs to push himself further and change his flaws.
The author also uses narrative point of view to assist the development of the main character Amir and how he finds his way to redemption. Narrative point of view helped carry the novel as the story that was being told came from the most reliable source. The reader was able to understand what Amir was feeling, take meaning in his choices and betrayals and overall understand how Amir developed and made his way from guilt to redemption. As the storyline progresses, the reader notices the narration maturing and how Amir is changing throughout his path to redemption. Throughout the story, Amir is able to recall previous events throughout the novel and reflect on how they impacted him and how they lead to other situations in his life. This is shown through the quote, “…but it’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realise I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.” It is clearly giving the reader Amir’s emotions upfront and how he feels about his actions and choices in the past. Another moment in the novel that gives off a strong impression of narrative point of view is at the beginning of the novel when Amir was a child, and he and Hassan were competing in the Kite running competition in Kabul. During the competition, Amir thinks to himself, “I was going to win, and I was going to run that last kite. Then I’d bring it home and show it to Baba. Show him once and for all that his son was worthy.” This quote illustrates the way Amir felt about the relationship he had with his father. Through the narrative point of view, the reader is able to feel Amir’s emotion – first about how happy and determined he felt for the fact he may be able to win the competition, and second how much sorrow he felt from wanting his father to be proud of him and finally think he was worth something.
Finally, the author uses the language feature of symbolism to develop Amir as a character throughout the novel. Symbolism creates an in-depth effect of what an object is teaching the reader throughout a novel – it gives it meaning and emotion throughout the text. One of the main symbols in the Kite Runner is the kites. Kites are a huge part of Amir’s childhood and even come back to him when he was an adult. Kites were flown and fought for fun in Kabul and hours of enjoyment were spent with them, they represent freedom, friendship but also betrayal for Amir. Later in life when Amir finds himself in tough situations and needs a break or a good memory to get through, he often thinks of the time when he won the kite fighting competition with Hassan in the 1975 winter. However, when the competition is when he was raped by Assef. This is the event that assists in kites also representing betrayal for Amir, as he saw his friend in a vulnerable position and left him alone – regretting it each day of his life. “I ran because I was a coward. I was afraid of Assef and what he would do to me… I actually aspired to cowardice, because the alternative, the real reason I was running, was that Assef was right: Nothing was free in this world. Maybe Hassan was the price I had to pay, the lamb I had to slay, to win Baba.” This quote plays part in showing the symbolism of betrayal that kites have for Amir. When he betrayed Hassan and left him alone due to the cowardice deep inside of him. He though to betray Hassan he would be able to win his fathers love and approval but only to the cost of losing his one friend.
In conclusion, Khaled Hosseini, author of the Kite Runner uses 3 main language techniques to show Amir’s development from guilt to redemption. The three of these techniques – the narrative point of view, foreshadowing and symbolism, were all used effectively to show the reader the shift in Amir’s behaviour and how his choices in life lead him to where he was at the end of the text.