William Hall once said, “People have a lot in common with one another, whether they see that or not.” This fact was made evident through reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseni and East of Eden by John Steinbeck, two novels about the lives of people thousands of miles apart but take on the similar challenges and try to lead decent and fulfilling lives. There were minute differences between the novels, but for the most part the books were very similar. Through analyzing themes, motifs and symbols within these novels, one cannot help but recognize the cords that unite humankind and defy all boundaries.
The dynamics of father-son relationships are central to both novels. In The Kite Runner, Amir has a very complex relationship with his father, Baba. As much as Amir loves and reveres his father, he continually struggles to feel loved by his him. Also, Baba has difficulty connecting with Amir and conveying his love for him and can only do so in an indirect way. Baba feels guilty about being able to love Amir freely and not being able to love Hassan (also his son) the same, which is misunderstood by Amir. “With me as the glaring exception, my father molded the world around him to his liking. The problem, of course, was that Baba saw the world in black and white (Hosseni 24),” Amir laments. Unfortunately, Amir couldn’t help but defy Baba’s perception of black and white (what was proper behavior) and continuously disappointed Baba through his love of poetry and writing, his inability to play soccer, and his dislike of violence. Therefore, Amir was always searching for ways to make Baba proud.
In East of Eden, the issue of subjective love is reoccurring throughout the novel. Charles, from a young age, is able to sense the favoritism and begins to resent it deeply. This resentment and preferential love comes to a head when Adam puts minimal effort into giving his father a stray puppy for his birthday and Charles works hard to save money to buy his father an expensive German knife. This seemingly arbitrary preferential treatment continues into the next Trask generation. Unlike Baba, Adam has no reason to be biased toward one of his sons. He has no illegitimate child and isn’t compelled to give him extra love to make up for not being able to have a real relationship with him. However, Adam still falls victim to the trap of favoritism his Father succumbed to. Adam’s perception of Aron is as a promising young man and he sees Cal as a directionless boy and Adam reveals this in several instances when he denies a heartfelt gift from Cal. With his words he deeply scarred Cal and changed the course of the novel in saying, “I won’t want it ever. I would have been so happy if you could have given me-well, what your brother has…(Steinbeck 514).” By outright denying Cal’s last-ditch attempt at acquiring his father’s love and by putting Aron on a pedestal, Adam confirms Cal’s thoughts that Adam loves Aron more than he and aides Cal in causing Aron’s death, and as a result his own.
Despite the tragic occurrences in the novel, one common cord ran throughout- no matter what happened family was family. Charles felt slighted and unloved but still continued to protect Adam, allowed Adam to live with him and even gave him his inheritance to live off of. Cal felt that he was also unloved but continued to seek ways to help Aron succeed despite his feelings. Amir in The Kite Runner was quick to abandon the idea of brotherhood and only sought to redeem himself after asked to do so. This should not have been the case however. Amir spent most of the first twelve years of his life with Hassan. Amir should’ve been courageous enough to interven in Hassan’s rape or to at least run for help. Amir’s betrayal happened because he didn’t view brotherhood as a bonding relationship and was willing to forfeit a then lifelong friendship for a small victory.
Biblical references are also utilized within both novels. The Biblical story of Cain and Abel...
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