The Kite Runner Relationship and Symbolism

1645 words 7 pages
How does Hosseini use symbolism in ‘The Kite Runner’ to present key relationships? You should consider different reader responses and the extent to which your critical approach assists your interpretation.

In Khaled Hosseini’s novel, ‘The Kite Runner’, it is often thought that symbols and metaphors are used as visual representations to reinforce and put emphasis on important stages in the novel. In can be seen that symbols are used in the novel to highlight particular moments in key relationships. For example Kites, the Pomegranate tree, Scars and the Slingshot are each used to put emphasis on specific moments in the relationships between Amir and Hassan and Amir and Baba. Through using symbolism and metaphor to present these key
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Amir carves ’Amir and Hassan, the sultans of Kabul’ into the tree. This could be seen as being symbolic of their friendship at this point, being permanent and inerasable; it is physically engraved into the tree. At the beginning of the novel the tree is a place where the caste system that applies in their home (and in most homes in Afghanistan at this time) doesn’t apply to them. Ironically, in chapter 8, Hassan sacrifices himself by squashing pomegranates on his own head, proving that even at the tree, the caste system applies. Later in the novel in chapter 21 Amir revisits the tree as an adult and the tree is presented to the reader as being burnt and has ceased to blossom, this is reflective of Amir and Hassan’s friendship at this point. ‘Hassan had said in his letter that the pomegranate tree hadn't borne fruit in years. Looking at the wilted, leafless tree, I doubted it ever would again.’- This can be seen as Amir giving up on the reconciliation of their friendship.

Thirdly the Slingshot can be seen as a symbol of allegiance and protection. The slingshot is reoccurring throughout the novel and is used not as a toy but as a weapon, which is used to protect against evil and threat. An example of this is in chapter 5 when we see Hassan protecting Amir from Assef in an encounter where he threatens to beat him. At this point Hassan aims the slingshot at Assef’s eye, and says ‘they’ll have to change your name from Assef

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