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In this semester we read many interesting books, and I chose two books to compare and to discus about them. These books are "The Kite Runner" and "Atonement". These books have many similar themes, like discrimination, differences between social classes, guilt-innocence, sacrifice, cowardice, family broken and deceit, but the principal and the reason why I chose these books, is because both stories talk about forgiveness and redemption and how the principal characters try to repair the bad actions that they did in the past.
In this essay I would compare both stories, and all the things that caused that Amir (The Kite Runner) and Briony (Atonement) committed injustices with other characters. And after a certain time they could repair their errors that they did in the past, to be in peace with their selves. First I have to give the definitions for forgiveness and redemption. Forgiveness is the action that someone does to forgive someone or something, also to give the pardon to someone. Redemption is the act of redeeming something that was done in the past.
The principal characters in these novels are Amir and Briony. Amir grew up as the only son of a rich widower. During his childhood he sees his father with respect and admiration. He also tries to obtain his father admiration and love. In some way he made differences (social differences) with his best friend Hassan, by referring him as his servant and also betray him. In other way Hassan always helped Amir, and considered him as his best friend.
At the beginning of the novel Briony is a young rich girl. She likes to write stories. In her childhood she made differences with the people of lower position. She´s a little mean girl, and with the time she become an adult girl who mature and think over her bad actions that she did when she was a child.
Although that Amir and Briony had a different personality, they born in a high position. And I think that because of this difference they had to act as the "rich people" and not get involve with their servants. That´s why I think that both stories have a part of discrimination, because the characters or the events that happened in these novel where referred to the differences of the social class. Also I think that it causes that both grew up with the idea that they couldn´t get involved with their servants, or consider them as friends. Two examples of this actions could be when Assef told Amir and Hassan that they couldn´t be friends, because Hassan was just Amir´s servant (The Kite Runner). In "Atonement", when Cecile did not defend Robbie, when he was captured by the police man. She did not confess the true about what happened between them.
Other theme that these novels have in common is guilt versus innocence. In "The Kite Runner", Amir blames Hassan, when Amir accused Hassan of stole Amir´s father watch and Hassan falsely confessed. Amir did this because he observes that his father have affect for Hassan, and if he knew that Hassan acted in a brave way by confronting Assef, Baba´s love to Hassan will increase. So, Hassan did not have other option and he left Baba´s house, even though that he was innocent.
In the "Atonement", Briony accused Robbie of rape his sister, Cecile. She was a little and confused girl, because she did not notice that between Cecile and Robbie existed more than a sexual attraction. Also the events that happened before and after Robbie and Cecile having sex, made that Robbie were find guilty of Lola's rape. Also Cecile did have the courage to defend her love for Robbie, even though that she can prove Robbie's innocence or Lola knew the true and she did not say anything, because she knew the person who rape her (Paul Marshall).
These novels have also examples of sacrifices. The principal characters have to give up to something important. In "The Kite Runner", Baba and Amir had to leave their hometown for the invasion of the Russians. Also Hassan made many sacrifices, like when he was rape by Assef just to defend Amir´s kite. Other sacrifice that Hassan did was when he died by defending Baba´s house.
In the novel "Atonement", I think that Robbie did the sacrifice of not defending himself by not saying the true. I think that he did that to protect Cecile´s reputation. Also I think that in some way Briony made a sacrifice by consoling the French guy, who was dying. I think that the biggest sacrifice in this novel was the one that Cecile and Robbie did, by been separate.
Another theme that these novels have in common is deceit. Many of the characters of these stories live in a deceit, in a certain time they confront it, because the past can´t be forgotten. In "The Kite Runner" has an example of deceit. It is that Amir during his childhood he live in a deceit, because he did not know that Hassan was his half brother. Baba knew the true, but he did not say anything.
In the novel "Atonement", the biggest deceit could be when Lola lied about who was her rape. She was forced to confess that someone raped her. Briony though that this person was Robbie, so Lola said that Robbie was this person. Cecile did not believe in what she said, but the rest of the family did, so Robbie was sent to jail.
Another theme that these novels share is Cowardice. Both novels have examples of this theme. For example in "The Kite Runner", cowardice is presented when Hassan was raped by Assef. Amir was watching this action but he did not do anything to help Hassan, even though that Hassan acted in a brave way to defend Amir´s kite. Also I think that Baba was coward by not saying the true about Hassan, he did not have the courage to say that Hassan was also his son and give him a better life.
In the "Atonement" novel, cowardice is presented when Lola did not say the true about who was the guy who rapes her. That was an act of cowardice, and even though Lola got married with the person who really raped her. Also I think that Cecile was coward by not explaining Briony what was happening between her and Robbie and even more when Robbie was send to jail.
I also found that in both stories exists a broke family. I mean that after a certain point or for some reason the relationship between the family members is broken. It happens in "The Kite Runner", when Amir knew the true about his half brother, Hassan. For this action Amir felt betray by his father. And the admiration and the respect that he felt for his father become resentment.
In the "Atonement" novel, Cecile was the person who decided to cut with her family. After that Robbie was send to jail, she was disappointed and angry. She left her house and never come back. Cecile's family will not be united anymore.
These novels also talk about forgiveness. In "atonement", Briony wants to fix the injustice that she committed when she was a child by writing a novel about a love story with a happy ending. At her short age she was confused about the events that she saw. She was too young to understand what happened between Cecile and Robbie, when they were having sex at the library, Briony though that it was an aggression to her sister. So, she told the police what she saw. Briony contributed to send Robbie to jail. Also I think that for the events that Briony saw like when Cecile and Robbie where at the fountain and the letter that Robbie wrote to Cecile, made that Briony had a bad impression about Robbie.
These actions made that Briony started to feel hate and fear for Robbie. The time pass and she grew up and mature, these things made that she reconsider her actions against Robbie. Also she remembered that Paul Marshall was the person who raped Lola. So, Briony wanted to amend the damage that her lie caused to Cecile and Robbie, she wrote a novel about Cecile and Robbie with a happy ending. Also she wrote something that she couldn´t done, it was that she apologized with Cecile and Robbie; it was like a wish, because she didn't do that. These actions should be considered as redemption.
In the "Kite Runner", forgiveness is presented when Rahim called Amir and told him all the things that happened to Hassan and his family. He gave an advice to Amir, and it was that he could amend all the damage that he caused to Hassan by rescue Sohrab, Hassan´s son. Rahim also told Amir that by doing this could be the only way to be good again.
He considered what Rahim told him, so he decided to go back to his hometown and rescue Sohrab. I consider this action as an opportunity that the life offers to Amir to be good again, and in some way to thank and reward Hassan for all the help, the support, and friendship that Hassan gave to Amir. Also I think that rescued Sonhrab, was Amir´s obligation, because Hassan died by defending Baba´s house. It was a debt that Amir needed to pay.
I think that both characters received a punishment in a certain time of their lives that made them to pay for their bad actions. For example when Briony was working as nurse, she lived something that made her to reconsider about what she did and what she should do to be in peace with herself. This happened when she was with the French guy, who was dying. She felt alone and without love, she felt like if she were in the same place of the soldier.
In "The Kite Runner", Amir also received a punishment for a certain time. It was that he couldn´t have family. I think that for Amir to have his own family was important. Because he expressed his wish to have children. I consider this as a punishment to Amir, because he was a selfish person with Hassan, because he did not want to share his father love. And I think that the destiny charged this action to Amir by not having his own family.
At the end of the novels forgiveness is reached by Briony and Amir. They have to do something to obtain the pardon of the people that they hurt, to find a way to be good again, to be in the right way, to feel what the people that they hurt suffered and be in peace with the others. They have to do a little sacrifice to reach the redemption of their selves.
Briony and Amir wanted to amend what they have done in the past. Both did what they tough that was correct to reach the forgiveness of the people that they hurt. Amir and Briony were looking for an interior peace that they needed. They need to be free of sins to have a better life, to clear their conscience. They needed to amend their errors, to apologize with the people that they hurt.
At the end of the novels both characters, Amir and Briony could be in peace with their selves. They did what they thought that was right to amend their mistakes and injustices. In "The Kite Runner", Amir could rescue Sonhrab. Amir gave Sonhrab the right to have a united family, to have a mother and a father again. And Amir let himself to have a complete family, to have a son. To protect and defend Sonhrab as he couldn´t do with Hassan, when he was rape by Assef. Also to not commit the same mistakes that her father, Baba, did with Hassan.
In "Atonement", Briony related the love story about Cecile and Robbie. She gave her sister the best end to her love story. The end of Cecile and Robbie´s love story deserved. Even though that in reality it was impossible, because Briony never confront Cecile and Robbie by telling them the true, and also she never apologize herself for what she did. Briony did what she thought that Cecile and Robbie will tell her to amend the consequences that her lie did to Cecile and Robbie´s lives. She thought that the readers would like to read a happy ending in her novel. Also she demonstrated that as writers we have the power to change the things and do them in the right way.
Both novels show us, the readers, that saying lies bring us bad consequences. Lies could ruin the life of other people; lies could hurt people, could hamper the happiness of a person and also could change your life. These novels teach us that saying lies are not good to the person who is saying them neither for the people who we are telling the lies.
The themes that I mentioned like, discrimination, differences between social classes, deceit, sacrifice, guilt, innocence and cowardice are related to forgiveness and redemption in these novels. These themes were involved in the routine lives of Amir and Briony. In some way these themes are involved to the bad actions that Amir and Briony did against other characters. Because Briony and Amir had a better style of life, they had everything, and they grew up with the same ideas that their social class have about their servants. As humans we always judge poor people and we have a bad image of them.
We always commit injustices toward the poor people, we discriminate them by thinking that we are better than them, and we also thought that they are weak people, who would never understand us. The people with a high position think that they can blame the poor people, and we end up that they are the bravest people and that we are the cowards. So to amend our errors we have to look for their forgiveness, to be free of any fault.
In my personal opinion I consider these novels a lesson of life. The principal characters committed injustices and acted in a mean way with people who did not deserve to be excluded. At the end both characters, Briony and Amir, reconsider what they had done and were looking for forgiveness. That´s something that humans do, we always commit injustices with the people that give us love and understanding. Some of us do it lately, but I think that never is too late to mend our errors.
I also think that to obtain the pardon of someone we have to do something notorious, which can prove that we really wanted to be forgiven. In my personal opinion, I think that the character that success is Amir. Amir did a big effort to be forgiven; he also could amend his errors by rescue Sonhrab. Amir also will learn the role of be a father. I don´t like the Briony obtain the forgiveness by the right way, because she should have the courage to look for her sister and confront Lola to made her to say the true.
These novels made think that the past is always behind you and that some day it can reach you. We have to always amend our injustices, we have to repair our mistakes, and we have to do some sacrifice to be forgiven. Also I learn that the mistakes that you committed in the past, the future will charge you them in an expensive way. We have to try to be good with the people that are around us, to not commit injustices, to always mend our errors and to look for forgiveness.
Teacher: CJ. Macho
Student: Guadalupe Aquino B.
Title: Similar themes and focused in Forgiveness in the novels "The Kite Runner" and "Atonement"
Date: December 14, 2009.