The Kite Runner

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The Monster in the Lake Symbol Analysis

The Monster in the Lake Symbol Icon
On the morning of the big kite-fighting tournament, Hassan tells Amir about a dream he had about the two of them at Lake Ghargha. In the dream there is a huge crowd of people who are all afraid to swim because there is supposedly a monster in the lake. Then Amir and Hassan jump into the lake and swim across, proving that there is no monster after all, and the people cheer and rename the lake “Lake of Amir and Hassan, Sultans of Kabul.” Amir wonders if Hassan invented the dream to cheer him up because of his nervousness, as Hassan later tells him “There’s no monster, just a beautiful day.” The tragedy of this is that later that same day Hassan gets raped by Assef. There was a monster after all, but the novel allows for several interpretations of just what the monster in the lake could be – Assef, Amir’s jealousy and desire for Baba’s approval, or Amir himself.

The Monster in the Lake Quotes in The Kite Runner

The The Kite Runner quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Monster in the Lake. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Betrayal Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Riverhead Books edition of The Kite Runner published in 2013.
Chapter 8 Quotes

I thought about Hassan’s dream, the one about us swimming in the lake. There is no monster, he’d said, just water. Except he’d been wrong about that. There was a monster in the lake… I was that monster.

Related Characters: Amir (speaker), Hassan
Related Symbols: The Monster in the Lake
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:

Amir has just betrayed Hassan, abandoning him to be raped by Assef. Now Amir remembers a dream about a lake monster that Hassan claimed to have had the night before the kite tournament. At the time, Amir suspected that Hassan told him about the dream to comfort him, but now Amir finds himself thinking about the dream again, and considers himself to be the monster in the lake that Hassan dreamed about. Amir feels so guilty about what he has done, and simultaneously so afraid of admitting it, that he feels he has become something monstrous and grotesque. The nature of his betrayal, as well—a scene involving violence and rape—also seems especially inhuman.

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The Monster in the Lake Symbol Timeline in The Kite Runner

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Monster in the Lake appears in The Kite Runner. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7
Betrayal Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
...thousands of other people. Everyone was afraid to swim because they thought there was a monster in the lake, but then Amir jumped in and Hassan followed. They swim out to... (full context)
Redemption Theme Icon
Fathers and Children Theme Icon
...that he almost wants to quit the tournament, but Hassan reminds him that “there’s no monster,” and Amir is again amazed at Hassan’s intuition. Amir wonders if Hassan made up his... (full context)
Chapter 8
Betrayal Theme Icon
Redemption Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
...Hassan get raped, but no one hears him. He thinks about Hassan’s dream about the monster in the lake, and Amir feels that he is the monster. He says that this... (full context)
Chapter 9
Betrayal Theme Icon
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
...Amir feels the full horror of his guilt then, and again he feels like the monster in the lake. (full context)