60+ Quotes from The Kite Runner: Khaled Hosseini’s Magnum Opus

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is a poignant and thought-provoking novel exploring loyalty, betrayal, and redemption through the friendship and struggles of two young boys in Afghanistan.

Its moving prose and powerful themes make it a must-read for those seeking a deeper understanding of human relationships and the impact of history. 

Here are some notable and beautiful quotes from the novel that captures the essence of human relationships in the tumultuous political climate of Afghanistan:

There are a lot of children in Afghanistan, but little childhood.
There is a way to be good again.
Not a word passes between us, not because we have nothing to say, but because we don’t have to say anything – that is how, it is between people who are each other’s first memories
There is a God, there always has been. I see him here, in the eys of the people in this [hospital] corridor of desperation. This is the real house of God, this is where those who have lost God will find Him

On Afghanistan

In The Kite Runner, the political climate in Afghanistan plays a significant role in the lives and struggles of Amir and Hassan.

The Soviet invasion and civil war create uncertainty and danger, while the rise of the Taliban brings oppression. Through these events, Hosseini shows how political turmoil can shape individuals.

  • There are a lot of children in Afghanistan, but little childhood.
  • Because you wanted to know, he spat. He pointed to an old man dressed in ragged clothes trudging down a dirt path, a large burlap pack filled with scrub grass tied to his back. That’s the real Afghanistan, Agha sahib. That’s the Afghanistan I know. You? You’ve always been a tourist here, you just didn’t know it.
  • Never mind that to me, the face of Afghanistan is that of a boy with a thin-boned frame, a shaved head, and low-set ears, a boy with a Chinese doll face perpetually lit by a harelipped smile.
  • I sat against one of the house’s clay walls. The kinship I felt suddenly for the old land… it surprised me. I’d been gone long enough to forget and be forgotten. 
  • I had a home in a land that might as well be in another galaxy to the people sleeping on the other side of the wall I leaned against. I thought I had forgotten about this land. But I hadn’t. And, under the bony glow of a halfmoon, I sensed Afghanistan humming under my feet. 
  • Maybe Afghanistan hadn’t forgotten me either. I looked westward and marveled that, somewhere over those mountains, Kabul still existed.
  • And so it was that, about a week later, we crossed a strip of warm, black tarmac and I brought Hassan’s son from Afghanistan to America, lifting him from the certainty of turmoil and dropping him in a turmoil of uncertainty.
  • The generation of Afghan children whose ears would know nothing but the sounds of bombs and gunfire was not yet born.
  • I laughed. Partly at the joke, partly at how Afghan humor never changed. Wars were waged, the Internet was invented, and a robot had rolled on the surface of Mars, and in Afghanistan we were still telling Mullah Nasruddin jokes.

On Inspiration

In The Kite Runner, inspiration is a key theme. Amir seeks it through his relationship with his father, Baba, and the selfless Hassan.

Rahim Khan serves as a mentor and guide, inspiring Amir to confront his past and seek redemption. Hosseini highlights the importance of finding inspiration and purpose through these relationships and characters.

  • There is a way to be good again.
  • It was only a smile, nothing more. It didn’t make everything all right. It didn’t make anything all right. Only a smile. A tiny thing. A leaf in the woods, shaking in the wake of a startled bird’s flight. But I’ll take it. With open arms. 
  • Because when spring comes, it melts the snow one flake at a time, and maybe I just witnessed the first flake melting. 
  • People say that eyes are windows to the soul.
  • One time, when I was very little, I climbed a tree and ate these green, sour apples. My stomach swelled and became hard like a drum; it hurt a lot. Mother said that if I’d just waited for the apples to ripen, I wouldn’t have become sick. So now, whenever I really want something, I try to remember what she said about the apples.

On Friendship

Friendship is a central theme in The Kite Runner. The novel follows the close bond between Amir and Hassan, two young boys growing up in Afghanistan. Despite their social status and background differences, the two are inseparable and share a deep bond of friendship.

Hosseini explores themes of loyalty, betrayal, and the power of forgiveness through the portrayal of Amir and Hassan’s friendship.

  • He stopped, turned. He cupped his hands around his mouth. ”For you a thousand times over!” he said. Then he smiled his Hassan smile and disappeared around the corner.
  • Not a word passes between us, not because we have nothing to say, but because we don’t have to say anything – that is how, it is between people who are each other’s first memories
  • I wanted to tell them that, in Kabul, we snapped a tree branch and used it as a credit card. Hassan and I would take the wooden stick to the bread maker. He’d carve notches on our stick with his knife, one notch for each loaf of naan he’d pull for us from the tandoor’s roaring flames. At the end of the month, my father paid him for the number of notches on the stick. That was it. No questions. No ID.

On Betrayal 

In The Kite Runner, the theme of betrayal is central to the novel’s plot and character development. Amir betrays Hassan by failing to stand up for him when he is attacked, and this act of cowardice haunts Amir throughout the novel.

This theme is further explored through the character of Assef, who betrays Amir and Hassan in a violent and devastating way.  The theme of betrayal also extends to the larger political context, as the characters are faced with the betrayal of their country by foreign powers and the betrayal of their fellow Afghans by the Taliban regime.

Through the portrayal of these various forms of betrayal, Hosseini explores the destructive and long-lasting impact that betrayal can have on relationships and trust.

  • There is a God, there always has been. I see him here, in the eys of the people in this [hospital] corridor of desperation. This is the real house of God, this is where those who have lost God will find Him
  • There is a God, there has to be, and now I will pray, I will pray that He will forgive that I have neglected Him all of these years, forgive that I have betrayed, lied, and sinned with impunity only to turn to Him now in my hour of need. 
  • I pray that He is as merciful, benevolent, and gracious as His book says He is.
  • He knew I betrayed him and yet he was rescuing me once again, maybe for the last time.

On Redemption

The theme of redemption is central to the protagonist Amir’s journey. Throughout the novel, Amir struggles with feelings of guilt and shame for his past actions, particularly his betrayal of his friend Hassan.

In order to find peace and redemption, Amir must confront these actions and make amends for his mistakes. This journey takes him to Afghanistan, where he is able to help Hassan’s son Sohrab and make reparations for his past mistakes.

Through Amir’s journey towards redemption, Hosseini explores the power of forgiveness and the importance of facing and atoning for one’s mistakes in order to find peace and fulfillment.

  • And this is what I want you to understand, that good, real good, was born out of your father’s remorse. Sometimes, I think everything he did, feeding the poor on the streets, building the orphanage, giving money to friends in need, it was all his way of redeeming himself. 
  • And that, I believe, is what true redemption is, Amir jan, when guilt leads to good.
  • All I saw was the blue kite. All I smelled was victory. Salvation. Redemption.
  • Baba and I were more alike than I’d ever known. We had both betrayed the people who would have given their lives for us. And with that came this realization: that Rahim Khan had summoned me here to atone not just for my sins but for Baba’s too.
  • What was the old saying about the bad penny? My past was like that, always turning up.

On Taliban Rules

The theme of Taliban rule is prevalent throughout the novel. The rise of the Taliban and their oppressive regime serves as a key backdrop for the events of the story.

The character of Hassan is particularly affected by the Taliban’s rules, as he is forced to flee his home and live in hiding due to his Hazara ethnicity. 

The character of Amir also experiences the consequences of Taliban rule, as he is unable to openly express his artistic pursuits and is forced to flee Afghanistan in order to escape persecution.

Through these events, Hosseini highlights the destructive and oppressive nature of the Taliban’s rule, and the impact it has on individuals and their relationships.

  • I suspected every bearded man who stared at me to be a Talib killer, sent by Assef. Two things compounded my fears: There are a lot of bearded men in Peshawar, and everybody stares.
  • The Taliban moved into the house, Rahim Khan said. The pretext was that they had evicted a trespasser. Hassan’s and Farzana’s murders were dismissed as a case of self-defense. No one said a word about it. 
  • Most of it was fear of the Taliban, I think. But no one was going to risk anything for a pair of Hazara servants.
  • The house itself was far from the sprawling white mansion I remembered from my childhood. It looked smaller. The roof sagged and the plaster was cracked. The windows . . . were broken. . . . The paint, once sparkling white, had faded to ghostly gray and eroded in parts . . . . The front steps had crumbled. Like so much else in Kabul, my father’s house was the picture of fallen splendor.

Quotes from The Kite Runner With Page Numbers

Here are some beautiful quotes from The Kite Runner, with page numbers:

  • As he was slipping the key into the lobby door, I said, I wish you’d give the chemo a chance, Baba. Baba pocketed the keys, pulled me out of the rain and under the building’s striped awning. He kneaded me on the chest with the hand holding the cigarette. Bas! I’ve made my decision. What about me, Baba? What am I supposed to do? I said, my eyes welling up. (156–157)
  • A look of disgust swept across his rain-soaked face. It was the same look he’d given me when, as a kid, I’d fall, scrape me knees, and cry. It was the crying that brought it on then, the crying that brought it on now. (156–157)
  • ‘You’re twenty-two years old, Amir! A grown man! You… he opened his mouth, closed it, opened it again, reconsidered. Above us, rain drummed on the canvas awning. ‘What’s going to happen to you, you say? All those years, that’s what I was trying to teach you, how to never have to ask that question. (156–157)
  • Another honk. I walked back to the Land Cruiser parked along the sidewalk. Farid sat smoking behind the wheel. I have to look at one more thing, I told him. Can you hurry? Give me ten minutes. Go, then. (263)
  • Then, just as I was turning to go: Just forget it all. Makes it easier. To what? To go on, Farid said. (263)
  • He flicked his cigarette out the window. How much more do you need to see? Let me save you the trouble: Nothing that you remember has survived. Best to forget. I don’t want to forget anymore, I said. Give me ten minutes. (263)
  • It always hurts more to have and lose than to not have in the first place. (211)
  • I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek. That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. (1)
  • Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years. (1)
  • But I hope you will heed this: A man who has no conscience, no goodness, does not suffer. (301)
  • Insanely, I wanted to go in. Wanted to walk up the front steps where Ali used to make Hassan and me take off our snow boots. (340)
  • I wanted to step into the foyer, smell the orange peel Ali always tossed into the stove to burn with sawdust. Sit at the kitchen table, have tea with a slice of naan, listen to Hassan sing old Hazara songs. (340)
  • How long? Sohrab asked. I don’t know. A while. Sohrab shrugged and smiled, wider this time. I don’t mind. I can wait. It’s like the sour apples. (340)
  • That was when Baba stood up. It was my turn to clamp a hand on his thigh, but Baba pried it loose, snatched his leg away. When he stood, he eclipsed the moonlight. (115)
  • ‘I want you to ask this man something,’ Baba said. He said it to Karim, but looked directly at the Russian officer. ‘Ask him where his shame is.’ (115)
  • They spoke. He says this is war. There is no shame in war. Tell him he’s wrong. War doesn’t negate decency. It demands it, even more than in times of peace. (115)
  • It hurts to say that. But better to get hurt by the truth than comforted with a lie. (58)
  • I have a wife in America, a home, a career, and a family. Kabul is a dangerous place, you know that, and you’d have me risk everything for… I stopped. (221)
  • You know, Rahim Khan said, one time, when you weren’t around, your father and I were talking. And you know how he always worried about you in those days. I remember he said to me, ‘Rahim, a boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything.’ I wonder, is that what you’ve become? (221)
  • With me as the glaring exception, my father molded the world around him to his liking. (15)
  • The problem, of course, was that Baba saw the world in black and white. And he got to decide what was black and what was white. You can’t love a person who lives that way without fearing him too. Maybe even hating him a little. (15)
  • Maybe this was my punishment, and perhaps justly so. It wasn’t meant to be, Khala Jamila had said. Or, maybe, it was meant not to be. (188)
  • Now, no matter what the mullah teaches, there is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every sin is a variation of theft. Do you understand that? No, Baba jan, I said, desperately wishing I did. I didn’t want to disappoint him again. (18)
  • When you kill a man, you steal a life, Baba said. You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. Do you see? (18)
  • It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime, Amir. (142)
  • You should have seen the look on my father’s face when I told him. My mother actually fainted. My sisters splashed her face with water. They fanned her and looked at me as if I had slit her throat. My brother Jalal actually went to fetch his hunting rifle before my father stopped him. (99)
  • It was Homaira and me against the world. And I’ll tell you this, Amir jan: In the end, the world always wins. That’s just the way of things. (99)
  • One day, maybe around 1983 or 1984, I was at a video store in Fremont. I was standing in the Westerns section when a guy next to me, sipping Coke from a 7-Eleven cup, pointed to the Magnificent Seven and asked me if I had seen it. Yes, thirteen times, I said. Charles Bronson dies in it, so do James Coburn and Robert Vaughn. (356 – 357)
  • He gave me a pinch-faced look, as if I had just spat in his soda. Thanks a lot, man, he said, shaking his head and muttering something as he walked away. (356 – 357)
  • That was when I learned that, in America, you don’t reveal the ending of the movie, and if you do, you will be scorned and made to apologize profusely for having committed the sin of Spoiling the End. (356 – 357)
  • In Afghanistan, the ending was all that mattered. (356 – 357)
  • When Hassan and I came home after watching a Hindi film at Cinema Zainab, what Ali, Rahim Khan, Baba, or the myriad of Baba’s friends—second and third cousins milling in and out of the house—wanted to know was this: Did the Girl in the film find happiness? Did the bacheh film, the Guy in the film, become kamyab and fulfill his dreams, or was he nah-kam, doomed to wallow in failure? Was there happiness at the end, they wanted to know. (356 – 357)
  • If someone were to ask me today whether the story of Hassan, Sohrab, and me ends with happiness, I wouldn’t know what to say. Does anybody’s? After all, life is not a Hindi movie. (356 – 357)
  • Zendagi migzara, Afghans like to say: Life goes on, unmindful of beginning, end, kamyab, nah-kam, crisis or catharsis, moving forward like a slow, dusty caravan of kochis. (356 – 357)

About the Book – The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner is a novel written by Khaled Hosseini, and published in 2003. The story follows the life of Amir, a young boy growing up in Afghanistan, and his complex relationship with his friend Hassan.

Set in a time of political turmoil in Afghanistan, The Kite Runner explores themes of loyalty, betrayal, and redemption as Amir navigates the challenges of adulthood and seeks to make amends for his past mistakes.

Through its powerful prose and moving character development, The Kite Runner has become a beloved classic, touching the hearts of readers around the world.

About the Author – Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini is a bestselling Afghan-American author known for his powerful and emotional novels exploring themes of loyalty, betrayal, and redemption. Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1965, Hosseini immigrated to the United States in 1980. 

He later studied biology and completed his medical degree at UC San Diego before pursuing a career as a physician. Despite his success as a doctor, Hosseini’s passion for writing eventually led him to pursue a career as an author.

His first novel, The Kite Runner, was published in 2003 and became a global phenomenon, selling over 7 million copies worldwide and being translated into over 70 languages. His subsequent novels, A Thousand Splendid Suns and And the Mountains Echoed, also achieved critical and commercial success.

Hosseini has received numerous awards and accolades for his writing, and his works have been adapted into film and stage productions.

In conclusion, The Kite Runner is a profound novel that explores the complexity of human emotions in light of war and its impact on individuals. These quotes reflect the themes and characters of the novel, as well as its enduring focus on friendship, betrayal, and redemption.

Asma Ahmed

I identify myself as a quodophile and linguaphile, a lover of quotes and all things language. My eagerness to learn new things has helped me become fluent in several languages and still crave more knowledge. My passion for words, literature, and wisdom is evident in my writing, where I constantly explore the beauty and power of quotes as well as the meaning and context behind them. With India being my home, I am constantly seeking inspiration from its diverse cultures and languages. But my journey goes beyond the borders of the country, in which I explore global cultures and languages to create a connection between the readers and the messages of the quotes I collect. I believe words have the power to change perspectives, evoke emotions, and guide people. In my free time, I can be found scouring books, articles, and social media for new quotes to add to my collection. I am forever on the lookout for new wisdom to share with the world.

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