Symbolism of the kites
There are alot of hidden symbols in the kite runner. The kites are the most important ones. Traditionally, kites symbolize both fate and prophecy. However, kites symbolize so much more in this novel.
The kites represent the class difference between Amir and Hassan – which has a huge effect on their relationship. In kite fighting, there is one who controls the kite while the other assists by managing the kite spool. Just as Hassan cleans Amir’s room and makes his breakfast, he also serves Amir in kite tournaments. Hassan may cooperate with the lifting and diving, but Amir is the one who wins. Hassan may catch a rival kite and carry it, but he must always bring it back to the kite flyer. Despite not having control over the kite, Hassan is just as excited as Amir is.
The blue kite in The Kite Runner is the symbol of Baba’s attention. Kites are the only things that Amir and Baba have in common. They have different personalities, desires and dreams, but they are connected by the kites. Therefore Amir thinks that by winning the kite tournament, he will earn Baba’s affection.
The kite fighting is violent – children battle against each other, trying to cut all kites down with such great eagerness. This symbolizes the conflicts in Afghanistan. The hundreds of kites with huge determination on cutting each other down, shows us how crowds in Afghanistan are overthrowing one another.
Kite fighting is violent, but flying a kite is innocent and also a symbol of freedom. Amir and Hassan does not know the difference, they are both being lied to, and their whole relationship would have been different only they had known they were brothers. Yet regardless of their kite fighting characters, flying the kite brings them toghether.
As the novel continues, after the kite tournament, the kite becomes a symbol of betrayal. Hassan sacrificed himself just to bring the kite to Amir. He got raped by Assef and Amir betrayed him by hiding instead of standing up for him. Because of this, Amir stops flying kites for a long time. He lost all hope, and sees himself as a failure and coward. This leads to many problems as he grows.
There is one rule in Afghanistan kite-flying, and that is winning. This is why Amir is desperate to win the fight between him and Assef. Remember, to bring the last fallen kite home is a major honour, and Amir betrayed Hassan to get it. Now this time, Sohrab is the last fallen kite, and Amir does not only have to win against Assef, he must also bring Sohrab with him home. It lead to some complications, but they managed to get through, and in the end Amir has finally redeemed himselft and found peace by taking on Hassan’s role for Sohrab. Amir went from a kite fighter – one who seeks adoration and glory to a kite runner – someone who helps others.
The symbol of the kite shows up one last time at the very end. It is when Amir is flying a kite with Sohrab and sees him smile for the first time in a year. At this moment when they are bonding, Amir gathers hope one more that one day, Sohrab will be happy again. The kite symbolize hope at the end for Amir, Sohrab and their entire family.