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One can tell kites are central to the novel just by reading its title, "The Kite Runner." On a plot level, the grand kite tournament of 1975 sets a circle of betrayal and redemption into motion, around which the story revolves.
He could have easily sent Ali to an orphanage after his parents' death, but chose to raise him in his household.
Baba does the same with Hassan, although this is complicated by the fact that Hassan is actually his son.
Just as Hassan makes Amir's breakfast, folds his clothes, and cleans his room, so does he cater to Amir in kite tournaments.
Even though Hassan shares in the excitement of kite fighting, he does not actually have control over the kite.
The cover of shows a kite flying very high over Kabul.
This image can be seen to represent Amir and Hassan's shared sense of freedom, one that takes them away from life's realities until the kite is grounded again.
Hassan may help the kite "lift-and-dive," but Amir is the one who claims a victory.
Hassan may catch a cherished rival kite and hold it in his arms, but always to bring it back to Amir, to whom it then belongs.
The activity of kite fighting is violent by nature.
The kites battle and so too do the children flying them.