‘The Kite Runner’ uses first person narration to build up the life of a young Afghan aristocrat, Amir. Hosseini dwells on loss and love, sin and atonement in his book, using Amir’s growing from a weak child to a mature man to illustrate these few elements.
‘The Kite Runner’ is essentially a bildungsroman novel and begins in an almost autobiographical sense with Amir, as a grown man, retelling the tale of his past. It starts with the memory of Hassan, who is vital to the development of Amir’s character and primal in the working sense of guilt that he feels towards his past. Amir’s mental case of guilt and regret gives a certain purpose to the story where he does go on in search of atonement for his sins. This purpose is lacking in the other characters and wouldn’t have created a motive for the story to proceed if Amir wasn’t the central character. Besides that, Amir’s growing process is much more different than the other characters. Hosseini limits character development among the other characters, where Hassan remains as true and loyal as he was, and Baba is still reserved and not completely open with Amir. Whereas in comparison, Amir becomes much more aware and mature than he was as a child. As a child in Afghanistan, his life was much more unbalanced and contained adventures, i.e. kite flying and telling stories to Hassan and carving their names with the title ‘Sultans of Kabul’ on a tree branch. As a child, he had to overcome the fact that he didn’t meet up to his father’s expectations of him and that he was defenceless when Assef and his group used to confront him. He had to hide the fact that Hassan used to hurt himself to protect Amir because he couldn’t stand up. But as an adult, Amir was much more balanced and was able to go to college, write two novels and even marry someone he loved. Amir even went in search for Sohrab, knowing that the path was filled with danger, and giving off a stark contrast between the character he was with the character he had become. This change in maturity illuminates through Amir and since none of the other characters had such a drastic change in their personality, Amir seems the most suitable to design the story.
Another factor that allows Amir to tell the story is how he is centrally related to the two characters that had the most significance in the story – Hassan and Baba. Baba wasn’t able to connect with Hassan, even if he wanted to, as he was an illegitimate son. Hassan, completely unaware of his biological father, also lacks the connection to Baba that Amir has. Amir is the only link that attaches both these characters together. Amir also does not embellish the characters. He is completely unbiased in his sense of cognition. This also elaborates why Hassan and Baba were unsuitable to be a good enough narrator as Hassan would probably canonise Amir due to his unwavering loyalty, and Baba was rather biased, comparing Amir and Hassan where Hassan had the physical and moral qualities that Baba admired and Amir lacked.
Amir also sees and hears everything, from the accidental hearing of his father’s conversation with Rahim Khan about how disappointed he is in Amir to him witnessing Hassan’s rape by Assef and his gang. Amir is always included in each and every occurrence which allows him to tell the story better and with much more detail.
It goes to say that Amir is also the last surviving character who is related to the other characters and has been there from the very beginning. This not only allows him to complete the story but to also be able to break the prejudice against the Hazara community by adopting a Hazara child and saving him from an inevitable destruction. Hosseini’s choice in choosing Amir could also be a stylistic decision where Amir is much more constructive in his writing and could detail everything better than the other characters. Amir’s character also allows for the character of Hassan specifically to shine through where Hassan’s quality of being so morally and physically strong contrasts with Amir’s meekness. This allows readers to appreciate the characters more. Amir also allows the plot to move more smoothly by presenting his own emotional states, changing the timeline and scenarios and involving himself with the stories of the other characters. All in all, Amir stands out as a narrator for being able to justly identify and portray the characters in their actual states, rather than a decorated one. Through Amir’s perspective, we see the major themes taking shape, moving from crisis to resolution, be it the father son relationship, friendship and loyalty or deconstruction and reconstructions of lives from different social levels.