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Embers: An Analysis of Friendship

There are over six billion people on Earth today. Each of those people has countless relationships, which extend further into an immense network of relations among thousands of individuals. These relations can be romantic, professional, unconditional, mutual, or the strongest of all, friendship. Friendship is a term used to denote co-operative and supportive behavior between two or more beings. In this sense, the term connotes a relationship which involves mutual knowledge, esteem, and affection and respect along with a degree of rendering service to friends in times of need or crisis. Friends will welcome each other's company and exhibit loyalty towards each other, often to the point of altruism. Their tastes will usually be similar and may converge, and they will share enjoyable activities. They will also engage in mutually helping behavior, such as exchange of advice and the sharing of hardship. A friend is someone who may often demonstrate reciprocating and reflective behaviors. Yet for many, friendship is nothing more than the trust that someone or something will not harm them. In the Hungarian novel Embers, written by Sandor Marai, friendship is a recurring major theme that ties the novel.

Embers begins by introducing the protagonist, an elderly man named Henrik who is identified as “the General”. He lives only with his servants and Nini, his nanny, in an isolated castle in the middle of a forest in the Hungarian mountains, near the city of Vienna. He receives a message from a man who he has not seen in over forty one years. This man, Konrad, was his best friend through his childhood. The pair stuck together by a strong bond of friendship, regardless of their opposite differences. Henrik was the son of the Countess of France and the Officer of the Guards. As such, he came from a family of wealth and received everything in his life with ease including his education and tuition into the Military Academy. Konrad, on...
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