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The Main Motifs In The Kite Runner

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The novel The Kite Runner, written by Afghan-American author is about the fierce cruelty and fierce yet redeeming love. There are many noticeable motifs in this novel, the first and most important symbol in the novel is “The Kite”, it appears only at the beginning and end of the novel. At the beginning of the novel it is shown because as a child Amir liked to fly kites this symbolized his happiness as it was the only way he was able to fully connect with Baba considering he was once a champion kite fighter. “The Kite” later appears again as a symbol of betrayal and guilt as Amir allows Hassan to be raped because he wants to bring the blue kite back to Baba, due to what it is tied to Amir does not fly his kite again. At the end of the novel Amir has finally redeemed himself and uses the kite with Hassan’s son Sohrab as a way to remember Hassan, mirroring the kite’s role in Amir’s relationship with Baba.

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“Rape” is shown throughout the novel but it becomes very important when Hassan goes to catch the kite for Hassan, but gets caught by Assef and is then raped by him. Due to Amir not doing anything he gains a sense of guilt for not helping or aiding Hassan when he needed him most, the rape scenes are key to the novel because it highlights the characteristics of the main character, in this case it’s Amir and his need for rescue. As a motif rape become very important because it is very offensive to the person’s dignity as their pride is being taken away, we find out that in the Afghan culture an act such as rape would be considered belittling.

The “Harelip” is very significant in this novel because it shows Hassan’s class in society especially in Afghanistan, it signifies his struggle within society and poverty and the low social class that a hazara boy is associated with. The “Harelip” is also what separates him from Amir in being a perfect child in Baba’s view, you’d assume that this is why Baba ends up paying for a surgeon to perform an operation on it to signify his true but hidden love for him. This becomes even more significant at the end of the novel when Amir’s lip is split by Assef in the fight making him look similar to Hassan.

“The Lamb” is another important motif in the novel because it symbolizes the sacrifice of an innocent person, Amir describes both Hassan and Sohrab as looking like lambs waiting to be slaughtered. Hassan is considered “The Lamb” because he is the servant’s son so he accepts the blame when Amir comes up with an ornery idea, stand up for Amir when others bully him, and others and allows Amir to take full credit for winning at kite fighting, even though Hassan’s kite running ability is what contributes to the win. Assef and the others had put mascara on Sohrab’s eyes just for the fun of it, this portrays Sohrab as the lamb because he had no say in what they were doing to him just like when Hassan was being rapped by Assef.

To conclude the novel The Kite Runner is a very powerful book with multiple motifs and symbols that remind us of how long his people have been struggling to triumph over the forces of violence that continue to threaten them even today.

10 October 2020

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