Comparison Of The Kite Runner And A Separate Peace
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and A Separate Peace by John Knowles both focus on true friendship and obstacles that will try and block this bond. I believe that these two novels are worthwhile to be compared because they both share many common themes such as guilt within inner self, redemption of one’s self, and betrayal within friendships.
The first novel that I read was The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. This novel is about a young afghan boy named Amir who is faced with a tough taste of reality after viewing his servant and best friend be raped by a bully. This then puts his life into a downward spiral because of the actions he chose to do which puts heavy guilt on his conscience.
The second novel, A Separate Peace by John Knowles deals with very similar events. A Separate Peace is about an insecure and competitive teen boy named Gene Forrester who goes to Devon School in New Hampshire. Here he meets his soon to be best friend and enemy Phineas. Gene befriends Phineas. Gene then has a growing envy and jealousy Phineas because of his athletic abilities. This made-up fued becomes into a hatred of Phineas by Gene.
Both novels, The Kite Runner and A Separate Peace, had young adolescence males narrate the story from their perspectives. This could make it more relatable towards some readers being males or teenagers who are experiencing similar events, more A Separate Peace then The Kite Runner. The main character starts the novel out as a grown man thinking about his past and where he came from. In A Separate Peace, Gene returns back to Devon School and brings back memories after returning back to the tree and the staircase.
Both novels had plots that were extremely similar to one another. The protagonist or main character had another supporting character that they were somehow jealous of or had envy over. In The Kite Runner, Amir is jealous of his servant Hassan because of Amir’s father showing genuine interest in Hassan and his life. He feels like Hassan is being treated less like a servant and more like a son rather A Separate Peace also showed this type of relationship. The protagonist, Gene feels jealousy towards his best friend Phineas because of Phineas’ athletic ability and how easy it his for him to get along with others.
The first thing that I found similar between two novels was the character development of the protagonists. The protagonists in both plots were young teen boys who were struggling as they were growing up with relationships, themselves, etc. Gene Forrester, the main character and narrator in A Separate Peace, was self conscience about being compared and being less than his best friend Phineas. This self doubt leads to some extremely unfortunate events which lead to some devastating consequences. These events then put heavy guilt on Gene conscience which then comes back to haunt him when returning to Devon throughout the novel.
This also occurs in the novel The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Amir was also part of some unfortunate events which he could have prevented if he had spoken up. By him not speaking up, it lead to him having gaining guilt throughout the novel which has a significant impact on his decision making.
How the author writes his stories the difference between a good book which readers want to continue reading and a book nobody wants to read. When reading my second book, I realized that the way the authors were writing was very similar.
“‘Hit me back’ I spat ‘hit me back, goddamn you!’ I wished he would. I wished he’d give me the punishment I deserved so I could finally sleep at night” (Hosseini 98). This quotation shows how Amir feels about seeing Hassan’s rape, he wants Hassan to hurt him so it would make him feel like things are even between them. This also shows that he does not want to carry the continuous guilt on his conscience.
The quotation about betrayal I decided to include was “I had one last chance to make a decision. A final opportunity to decide who I was going to be. I could step into that alley, stand up for Hassan – the way he’d stood up for me all those times in the past – and accept whatever would happen to me. Or I could run. In the end, I ran” (Hosseini 68). This quotation explains the betrayal between Amir towards Hassan after seeing him being raped in the alley way. This is the starting factor of the guilt on Amir’s conscience which proceeds to make his life go into a downward spiral. This showed an important characteristic about Amir and how he was quite cowardice. Betrayal between friends became common within A Separate Peace as well. Gene betrays the belief in Phineas’ and his friendship as well as his respect towards Phineas.
A quotation that deals with a common theme of redemption of one’s self from The Kite Runner is “A soaring sense of freedom revealed that this must have been my purpose from the start: to become a part of Phineas” (Knowles 85). This quotation in the novel tells the reader that Gene wants to become a part of Phineas and try to be more like him so that he is able to feel the relief of guilt and show that he is able to still care about him. Gene is continuously thinking of Phineas even after he is gone. He is also always thinking of ways that he can make it up to him, especially since he keeps getting reminded of him. This quotation could be compared to a quotation from The Kite Runner that deals with the same type of feeling of redeeming themselves.
The quotation that I thought would best compare to the one from A Separate Peace would be: “There is a way to be good again, he’d say. A way to end the cycle. A little boy. An orphan. Hassan’s son. Somewhere in Kabul” (Hosseini 329). This quotation was significant because Amir has come to a realization that there is a way to redeem himself from his guilt by getting Amir’s son Sohrab from Kabul so he is able to live a better life. This would make Amir feel less guilty with the past circumstances with Hassan. This is the starting incident of the redemption of Amir’s guilt about Hassan’s rape and death.
The final quotation about redemption that I found to be significant within A Separate Peace and also could relate to The Kite Runner was: “At Devon, where every stick of furniture didn’t assert that Finny was part of it, I could make it up to him” (Knowles 70). After Gene visits Phineas at home and sees that he is unable to move from the couch, he realizes back at Devon he somehow has to find a way for redemption, that would clear his conscience of feeling that it was his fault the Phineas ended his career as an athlete. This relates to how Gene wants to redeem himself and make things better between him and Phineas.
Even though both novels show many well written explanations of the themes within both storylines, I believe that readers would be able to relate to the characters and events within A Separate Peace, rather than The Kite Runner. Most people are able to feel jealousy towards others because of their better accomplishes compared to them. It is easier for the reader to relate to characters that have similar experiences and personalities to them such as growing up within a community that is wealthy such as Devon school compared to growing up in an afgan cultured childhood.
The two novels I read presented many similarities that the reader could relate to personal experiences the protagonist. The feelings the protagonist felt in A Separate Peace could be more relatable to the majority based off of the feelings of jealousy and envy rather than The Kite Runner which deals with rape of a young boy which most people have not had a first hand experienced. This made me come to a conclusion that the reader is more likely able to relate more to the protagonist and their in A Separate Peace than in The Kite Runner.