Despite the fact that readers can identify the theme of the absence of women in both the first and second halves of the novel, it is much more pronounced in the first half. In the second half of the novel, women are characters with much more regularity. The two primary female characters in the second half of the novel are Soraya, Amir's wife, and his mother-in-law Kahanum Taheri. During this part of the novel, Hosseini emphasizes the theme of women's understanding, using primarily Sonyora, although Kahanum Taheri is supportive of their marriage. Just prior to the engagement, she says, "You're barely in the house and I'm crying already," (Hosseini 167), showing her support of the engagement that is about to take place. After their wedding, Amir acknowledges that the absence of women that had characterized his childhood is now over. He says, "All of my life, I'd been around men. That night, I discovered the tenderness of a woman" (Hosseini 171). Thus, the character of Amir's life changes after he gets married. Showing her characteristic of understanding, Sonyora supports Amir in his writing, sharing with him the excitement he experiences once he has been published. Even when the two discover that they cannot have children, Sonyora is meek and worried that she is being selfish instead of angry, and she discusses her feelings with Amir, suggesting that she is understanding of their marriage and the commitment they have made to one another. At the end of the story, Sonyora is supportive of adopting Sohrab, preparing a home and room for him with the couple.
Amir's life with Sonyora, then, is filled with infinitely more understanding than was his childhood. Unlike his father, Sonyora readily shows her love, and the two make plans together, trying not to hurt one another. Sonyora is understanding of Amir, and he responds in kind, suggesting a relationship that is almost antithetical to the one that Amir and his father shared during the first half of his life. Realizing this, the reader is instantly reminded of Amir's relationship with the mother he never met. Although Amir's mother died in childbirth, Amir spent a considerable amount of his childhood trying to get to know her. It is her books that both comfort him and educate him. When he is disillusioned by his father's lack of affection toward him, Amir enjoys immersing himself in his mother's interests. And when he hears conflicting views from his father and the schoolteachers, it is his mother's books that help him come to an answer. Even though he has never met her, then, Amir has a relationship with his mother that is like his relationship with Sonyora in his adult life. The books that Amir's mother left behind act as if they actually are a second parent to him, comforting him in his time of need. Thus, Hosseini continues his theme of women as understanding characters in the first half of the book, as well. However, readers may not realize this until they are aware of Amir's parallel relationship with his wife, Sonyora.
Thus, throughout The Kite Runner, Hosseini not only presents the reader with an intriguing tale of Afghanistan, friendship, and redemption, but he also involves two themes regarding women -- their absence and their understanding. Taken together, one can draw the conclusion that Hosseini sees women as necessary in a child's upbringing. As he shows through the character of Amir, even children who do not have mothers when they are born attempt to find comfort in women any way they can. Further, Hosseini's dual themes seem to show that life is improved when women are involved, that their understanding makes any situation more tolerable.
Sources Used in Document:
Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. New York: Riverhead, 2003.