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Literary Devices/Techniques in The Kite Runner

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Judy Klassen

on 11 May 2015

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Transcript of Literary Devices/Techniques in The Kite Runner

This is a quote from Amir, the main character in the novel, and it indicates the reader of a scene that will occur in later on in the novel and will become a significant effect on the rest of his life. When he states “deserted alley”, that shows that he is alone in his guilt. He has been holding this guilt in for the last “twenty-six years”, and he is the only person that can confess and become healed from all of his wounds he generated in the past.

“Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.”
~pg. 1
1. Flashback
3. Irony
“Then his lips twisted, and, that time, I knew just what he was doing. He was smiling. Just as he had, emerging from his mother’s womb. The swelling subsided, and the wound healed with time. Soon, it was just a pink jagged line running up from his lip. By the following winter, it was only a faint scar. Which was ironic. Because that was the winter that Hassan stopped smiling.”
~pg. 47
4. Satire
“What does he know, that illiterate Hazara? He’ll never be anything but a cook. How dare he criticise you?”
~pg. 34
2. Imagery
“I am a baby in that photograph and Baba is holding me, looking tired and grim. I’m in his arms, but it’s Rahim Khan’s pinky my fingers are curled around.”
~pg. 5

By Judy Klassen
Literary Devices/Techniques in
The Kite Runner

This detailed description by the main character, Amir, makes the reader notice that even as a baby, he and his father, Baba, haven’t had the best relationship with one another since he was born.

Hassan had recently gotten a surgery to fix his harelip. He is also described as a person who smiles all the time no matter what the circumstance. It’s ironic, however, that he stopped his consistent smiling after that same year during the winter.

Amir had made up a story about a man who found a magic cup and learned that if he wept in the cup, his tears would turn into pearls. Hassan was confused wondering why the man had to be sad in order to produce tears. Amir became offended that it hadn’t occurred to him, but the illiterate Hassan.

5. Foreshadowing
“Afghanistan is the land of Pashtuns. It always will be. We are the true Afghans, the pure Afghans, not this Flat-Nose here. His people pollute our homeland, our watan. They dirty our blood.”
~pg. 40
What Assef tells Amir and Hassan foreshadows the Afghanistan that is to come in their mere future. It foreshadows that the Pashtuns will try to rid Afghanistan of all Hazaras.

6. Rhetorical question
“But coming close wasn’t the same as winning, was it?”
~pg. 56
Amir is talking about how his father thinks he will possibly win the next kite tournament that’s coming up. This makes Amir think that winning first place might be the missing piece to obtaining his father’s heart. Then he goes on saying that he’s been close to winning before, but that was never good enough to make his father proud of him and appreciate him as his son. This makes him question himself, if he’s gained his father’s approval at all or not.

7. Imagery
“Gingerly, I walked up the driveway where tufts of weed now grew between the sun-faded bricks. I stood outside the gates of my father’s house, feeling like a stranger. I set my hands on the rusty bars, remembering how I’d run through these same gates thousands of times as a child, for things that mattered not at all now and yet had seemed so important then.”
~pg. 261
When Amir returns back to his home where he grew up as a child, he notices how old and forgotten his father’s house has become. The detailed description of the abandoned can also represent all of the memories that Amir has left behind and forgotten about. Therefore, those cherished memories have faded away and become rust, just like the desolate house.

8. Epiphany
“I could step into that alley, stand up for Hassan- the way he stood up for me all those times in the past- and accept whatever happened to me. Or I could run. In the end, I ran.”
~pg. 77
Amir watched as Hassan got raped by Assef. Hassan and Amir have grown up together as friends and Amir made a quick decision to leave his friend behind in order to save himself. A quick, selfish decision can come back and hurt you, just as it did to Amir. Hassan getting raped will always haunt Amir’s conscience.

9. Foreshadowing
“This isn’t the end for you either, Amir. Someday, I’ll make you face me one on one.”
~pg. 43
The significance of this statement made by Assef, the known bully in Afghanistan, is that almost towards the end of the novel, Amir and Assef actually do meet up with each other again after about twenty years of not seeing one another. It foreshadows an event that will occur later on in the novel. This proves that Assef is a man of his word, and therefore, they meet one on one and pursue a devastating fight together; something Amir never imagined himself doing alone with no one to back him up. This fight also tested Amir’s capability of standing up for himself over such overwhelming odds.

10. Repetition
“For you, a thousand times over.”
~pg. 67,194, 305 and 371

This statement is mentioned only four times in the book and yet has the most meaningful impact. Hassan had said it to Amir when he was on his way to retrieve the blue kite that they had cut down in the tournament. In this statement, you can feel Hassan’s unwavering loyalty towards Amir. At the end of the book, Amir says these words to Sohrab, Hassan’s son, and in that moment, you can tell that he has finally overcome his cowardness and becomes a more honorable man.
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