The controversial Kite Runner

The instruction of The Kite Runner to sophomores of EHS has brought new life to controversy about the curriculum of Eaton High School


As the famous quote by Socrates goes, “remember the mind grows strong through use. Struggle makes power.” The Kite Runner is one of the most controversial novels in the nation and is taught in the classrooms of Eaton High School. Some of the Eaton community has raised questions about the literary merit of The Kite Runner in context to sophomore-aged high school students.

The Kite Runner explores the idea of redemption and guilt, but the appearance of The Kite Runner to a person who has never fully read the book is a story of pedophilia and sex. The Kite Runner is much more than a story of sex, however. It is a story of real-world problems, real-world ideas, and real-world situations. It is necessary to understand these ideas as a young adult as the story of life itself is one of struggle and redemption. 

The Kite Runner follows the story of Amir, an Afghan boy, who journeys through his childhood with his best friend, Hassan. Hassan is the minority of Afghanistan, a Hazara. Hassan is ridiculed and experiences segregation. At the hands of a stronger Afghan boy, Assef, Hassan is sexually assaulted to prove a point of oppression. Amir is an innocent bystander and must live with the guilt of not standing up for his childhood friend.  

Some of the Eaton community was outraged at the vivid details of the scene, stating the scene could not possibly teach sophomores anything valuable. The assault scene simply is a prerequisite to a larger purpose of the story. The Kite Runner teaches the story of the redemption of a character whose life is destroyed by guilt. This is what life means. Life is difficult. Life throws curveballs and teaches hard lessons to the ones who are involved. A student can learn the lesson of life. Redemption and guilt. People do bad things every day, big and small, but it is the redemption of humankind that teaches lessons. 

Shielding young adults from the lessons of life through a novel shields the student from struggle and redemption. Struggle in life grows a person, and these struggles of life presented in The Kite Runner are real-world problems that at one point in life a child must learn. Why not teach it in an educational setting? The Kite Runner is involved in the Eaton curriculum to teach the EATON acronym itself. O for Ownership.

Everyone makes mistakes and The Kite Runner elaborates on owning up to a mistake and redeeming oneself. A stands for awareness as Amir must first accept the wrong he committed. The Kite Runner is not a story of sex and pedophilia, but a story of life. Redemption for guilt felt is just one of the tough issues in life that humans come face to face with.

Access to books for students across the nation is important as novels educate. There is literary merit to this novel and this story is valuable in the face of young adults. Students around the nation are meant to understand and develop ideas about unique cultures and places around the world. 

Unique cultures and ideas that may seem alien to young students are important to understand. Beyond the halls of EHS is a unique world of ideas and the sooner that students can understand this, the better the students will be prepared for life after graduation. Denying students and censoring tough novels and stories is denying students the opportunity to understand the world around them.