Explain the importance of the setting and its influence on how the narrator tells his story.
The setting of Kabul, Afghanistan is hugely socially, politically and culturally important in the novel The Kite Runner. The story is told from the point of view of Amir, retelling the years he was growing up in Kabul and events that influenced his life, and his long journey from guilt to redemption.
Because the story is set in Afghanistan and told from the point of view of a local boy, we learn aspects of a different society – Islamic religion, the different classes in Afghani society, local festivals and activities – specifically the sport of kite running. We are also exposed to numerous Farsi (Afghani) and Islamic words and phrases, which add cultural depth and authenticity to Amir’s voice.
We also see life in Kabul disrupted by the overthrow of the monarchy, then the Russian invasion which eventually leads to Baba and Amir having to flee Afghanistan and move to America as refugees. As Amir tells us:
“For me, America was a place to bury my memories. For Baba, a place to mourn his.”