The Importance of Place in, 'the Kite Runner'

The Importance of Place in The Kite Runner

In the first few pages, a reoccurrence of trees is notice, not only as a symbol, but as a place and setting. Hassan is sitting in a tree when Hosseini first introduces him to the reader, ‘pomegranate leaves dancing on his face.’ In Islam, pomegranate trees are said to grow in the garden of paradise, which represents the reader’s early representation of what they see in Hassan. It shows that the goodness shines through, but also leaves patches of darkness and evil. Another use of trees is when, at the begging of chapter two, it says, ‘climb the poplar tree.’ Poplar trees are a symbol of death, which is a use of foreshadowing and a theme of death stated very early in the novel. Death is also used at symbolism when it says, ‘abandoned cemetery atop of the hill.’ This is where Hassan and Amir grew up and spent their childhood, and again, foreshadowing.

Hosseini uses certain careful created settings, for major events to happen; for example, when Hassan is raped my Assef in the alleyway. It is first described as, ‘A havoc of scrap and rubble littered the alley.’ This gives the reader a clear idea of what the alley looks like, just by one sentence. Hosseini uses words like ‘yellowed newspapers’ and ‘rusted iron stove’. These show age and the ever disintegrating friendship and loyalty between Amir and Hassan.

In the ‘wider’ setting in the novel, countries are used to define a sense of place. The book starts in Afghanistan, moves to Pakistan and then to the USA. When Amir arrives in the USA he compares his surroundings to that of Afghanistan, ‘where’s all the trees and open fields?’ This is ironic as he gained ‘freedom’ from the communist regime, but is feeling trapped and that his physical freedom has decreased. When Amir returns to Pakistan at the end of the novel, most of what he says is linked to the past, ‘on this soil, mother died, fought for fathers love.’ This reminds the reader and links back to the start of the...