Jealousy of the novel Atonement and Khaled Hosseini
Jealousy and the need of attention are both very powerful feelings that can lead any young child or adult to act out in unusual and sometimes hurtful ways. But the feeling of guilt after committing these actions is what evokes the need to atone for the effects we have caused.
Ian McEwan author of the novel Atonement and Khaled Hosseini author of the novel The Kite Runner, which have both been produced in to famous blockbuster movies, both use a vast range of techniques to explore the idea of Guilt.The plot in both novels run parallel with each other as the young protagonists make an unforgivable decision and then find themselves trying to atone for the wrongs they have committed as the plot progresses. Unfortunately this process to atonement is not as simple as they believe it will be and find themself on a journey of guilt, self discovery and pain.
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Atonement begins on a hot summers day in 1935, in the luscious grounds of the Tallis’ family estate. Written in a third person narrative, McEwan moves in and out through the minds of the characters.Briony a co-protagonist of the story is thirteen years old when the novel first begins and does not understand the relationship between her sister Cecilia and the gardener Robbie Turner. After reading a sexual note Robbie sent to Cecilia and later walking in on them during a sexual act in the library, Briony convinces herself that Robbie is a ‘sex maniac’. Brionys taste for drama and demand for attention lead her to wrongly accuse Robbie of raping her cousin Lola and later finds herself trying to atone for the terrible lie she told. There was our crime – Lola’s, Marshall’s, and mine – and from the second version onward, I set out to describe it. I’ve regarded as my duty to disguise nothing – the names, the places, the exact circumstances – I put it all there as a matter of historical record”.
McEwan has structured the novel into three different sections and a concluding chapter. Part One is the introduction of characters and the events that evoke Briony to wrongly accuse Robbie of attacking Lola, concluding with Robbie being sent to prison.Part Two is Robbie’s account of World War II and the extreme hardships he experienced on the way to reach Dunkirk.
Part Three moves back to Briony’s account of her time spent serving as a nightingale nurse and ends with her leaving Robbie and Cecilia at the station after she reaches out to try and correct her irreparable wrongdoings. The concluding chapter ‘London 1999’ is written in a first person narrative where Briony is diagnosed with vascular dementia which leads her to complete her novel “Atonement” in attempt to make up for accusations as a child.The Kite Runner takes place in Afghanistan, Pakistan and The Unites States from 1975 until the present day in 2001. The story is told in a first person narrative from the view point with the protagonist Amir. Khaled Hosseini filled his novel with many twists and turns and follows Amir’s journey to enlightenment from a young child to a wise adult to show how quickly and suddenly the course of ones lifetime can be changed so dramatically by one small decision.Amir had a childlike tendency to dominate over Hassan in order to try and make his father proud – “Hassan never wanted to, but if I asked, really asked, he wouldn’t deny me. Hassan never denied me anything” (pg.
4). This desire to dominate and to make his father proud caused Amir to make a decision that results in his lifetime of guilt and atonement. On the days he won the kite running tournament, Amir found Hassan being raped by the older boys who abuse himself and Hassan on a day-to-day basis. Word Count: 666 Amir’s inaction to interfere with this horrific act left him and his conscience feeling guilty and frustrated.The boys eventually drift apart until Amir finds a way to get Hassan and his servant father leave so that he does not have to face the constant reminder of his poor decision. The call made by Rahim Khan convincing Amir to return to Kabul to rescue Hassan’s son Sohrab is the turning point in Amir’s life to ‘redeem’ himself of the guilt and pain he caused stating that “There is a way to be good again” (pg. 2) The most frequent effect of guilt found in the protagonists of Atonement and The Kite Runner is frustration aimed at and brought on by themselves.
Ian McEwan characterizes Briony with the feeling of self-frustration as she matures, in addition to the frustration she first felt towards another, Robbie, and his obsession with her older sister Cecilia and the jealousy brought on by herself not receiving this sort of attention. In a similar way Hosseini portrays the same sense of frustration by the protagonist. Amir suffers from his self-frustration at a younger age when he is forced to face the effects and guilt of his actions everyday by Hassan living in the same household and having to be there as a servant for Amir and his father for all their needs and wants.Both characters frustrations play an important part of their characterizations and lead them to atone for their past regrets, providing the narrative drive for each text.
Foreshadowing is another technique used by both authors to portray the sense of guilt the protagonists have caused themselves to suffer. In Atonement foreshadowing is used when Robbie hands the written note to Briony to deliver to Cecilia. Before passing the note to Cecilia, Briony decides to read it first. This note is the beginning of Briony’s interpretation of Robbie as a sex-crazed maniac.
Although Briony subconsciously knows that Robbie did not attack Lola her imagination pieces together the note and the actions of Robbie and Cecilia outside by the water fountain and in the library and forms her belief and accusation that Robbie was the culprit. The foreshadowing of the note written by Robbie and sent to Cecilia through Briony is a resembling object of the events yet to happen. Khaled Hosseini often uses foreshadowing in his novel. The foreshadowing in The Kite Runner is created in the first chapter when Amir gets the call from Rahim Kahn to return to Kabul to save Sohrab.This is set up to show the reader that Amir is going to use the chance to atone for not helping his best friend Hassan when he was in danger. Amir’s father also fills him with the wisdom that the mullahs ruin Afghanistan and that the only sin is theft of any kind. “There is only one sin, only one.
And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft….
When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. ” (pg.
17).This is setting up the reader to know that at some point in the novel Amir will commit a crime of theft. When the older boys were raping Hassan, Amir stole his right to freedom by not stepping in to stop it. This resulted in the guilt Amir had to atone by saving Sohrab, Hassan’s only son fro an orphanage.
Both Atonement and The kite Runner are prime and extremely powerful examples of the effects of guilt on an individual and the difficult and strenuous journey to atonement. The theme of guilt is explored well by Ian McEwan and Khaled Hosseini on the journey of their protagonist with very emotionally powerful techniques.While each text is unique in its narrative structure the idea of guilt is explored similarly through both protagonists and techniques. Atonement shows that at a young age the feeling of jealousy and the need for Word Count: 1354 attention can be very harmful and cause one to act out and the resulting in atonement can take a lifetime to achieve. The Kite Runner shows that the guilt caused by poor decisions can effect you for a long time especially when it stares you in the face every day. The need to rid of this guilt is overwhelming and unbearable to deal with.
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