Quest For Self In Master Pip And The Kite Runner Essay Examples
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Celebrated writer, Lloyd Jones’s captivatingly yokes history and literature in his novel Master Pip that brilliantly portrays the magical and charming story of Matilda in the outset of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. Matilda, the young girl, arrests the readers as she takes a renovating voyage in quest of self. Afghan- American writer, Khaled Hosseini’s debut novel The Kite Runner foregrounds the overwhelming and grotesquely candid representation of identity, duplicity, trickery and penitence. The novel tracks the journey of Amir, who struggles to escape his eerie childhood while tormenting himself with his own repentance. Both the novels present two diverse protagonists who, in their own ways, manage to fix and reclaim their own identity in the world.
Matilda, the young vibrant girl, enthralled by Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, sets out to idealize with the fictional character Pip. The character Pip and his adventures, quite excitingly, seize the imagination of the village girl who considers him as a friend and Pip offers her an escape from her difficult situations. Mr Watts, the last surviving white man, takes the role of the instructor who reads the mystical story of Great Expectations to the children:
As the rebels and redskins went on butchering one another, we had another reason for hiding under the cover of night. Mr Watts had given us kids another world to spend the night in. We could escape to another place. It didn’t matter that it was Victorian England. We found we could easily get there. It was just the blimmin’ dogs and the blimmin’ roosters that tried to keep us here. (Master Pip 20)
Pip’s eventful experiences, adventures and his escapades enchant the young girl and she gains novel perceptions and bases with which to comprehend and assess the gradually grim situations of her own life. The clout of Dickens’s novel irradiates both the acquainted and the shifting facets of Matilda’s life in a fresh manner. As she engulfs into the world of Dickens, she realizes that new conflicts arise and bewilder her. She even recognizes that the new outlooks definitely force her to take varied and challenging decisions:
As we progressed through the book something happened to me. At some point I felt myself enter the story. I hadn’t been assigned a part – nothing like that; I wasn’t identifiable on the page, but I was there. I was definitely there. I knew that orphaned white kid and that small, fragile place he squeezed into between his awful sister and lovable Joe Gargery because the same space came to exist between Mr Watts and my mum. And I knew I would have to choose between the two (40).
Many reviewers and critics attempt a post colonial reading of the novel. However, Matilda, though delighted by the white worlds like London, returns to her own place. She manages to embrace both the white world make known to them by Mr Watts and their local ambience in the island. She adopts a cultural hybridity that invisibly unifies both diverse cultures. Matilda, as time progresses, comprehends Watts’ preoccupation:
(Watts) was whatever he needed to be, what we asked him to be.Perhaps there are lives like that῍they pour into whatever space we have made ready for them to fill. We needed a teacher, MrWatts became that teacher. We needed a magician to conjure up other worlds, and Mr Watts had become that magician.When we needed a saviour, Mr Watts had filled the role. When the redskins required a life, Mr Watts had given himself. (210)
Watts plays a significant role in moulding Matilda and thereby altering her identity and appearance. Matilda happens to encounter many atrocities in her land. She loses her parents and her instructor Watts. The “redskins” horrify her and she flees to Australia to escape the dangerous threats. Matilda gradually recuperates from the terrible life events by narrating her troubles and undoubtedly she gathers the courage from Pip.
She writes her past traumatic events in a sequence that shape her and facilitate her to liberate herself from the bygone days of sufferings. As a sense of order is essential for her, the story of her life on the island is written in chronological sequence of deprivation. Matilda writes: “I do not know what you are supposed to do with memories like these. It feels wrong to want to forget. Perhaps this is why we write these things down, so we can move on” (179). She attempts to forget her past and lead a peaceful life by choosing the best knowledge imparted by her mother and Watts. She memorizes her days with Watts:
Because it seems to me, thinking about it all these years later, that what I felt was a parting, a line drawn. I have called it a line, but maybe it is better to talk about a curtain. A curtain dropped between Mr Watts and his most adoring audience. He would move on and I would shift into that burial ground occupied by figures of the past. I would be a small speck on a large island as he sat in Mr Massoi’s boat motoring from one life to another (215).
Dickens’ Pip encourages Matilda to look beyond worlds with the spark of imagination. After trials and tribulations, Matilda decides to write the story of Master Pip. She points out: “Pip was my story, even if I was once a girl, and my face black as the shining night. Pip is my story, and in the next day I would try where Pip had failed. I would try to return home” (219). Pip unites Matilda’s past with her present. The course of grasping the past brings Matilda to a consciousness that her existent subjectivity is melding into the past self.
Khaled Hosseini’s classic, The Kite Runner narrates the moving story chronicled against the disturbing milieu of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years. Amir, the protagonist, is portrayed as a child, battling with the internal conflict raging in his head and the poor kid is dealing with external conflict as well. The internal conflicts are projected with betrayal, sacrifice and atonement, where each character has to face them mentally and emotionally. Amir’s conflict starts from childhood when his fathers have expectations for him to make him a brave hunter and an exceptional soccer player. Amir’s cowardice haunts him and he longs to please his father. Amir gets upset when he overhears his father’s comment about him to Rahim Khan: “But he’s always buried in those books nor shuffling around the house like he’s lost in some dream. If I hadn’t seen the doctor pull him out of my wife with my own eyes, I’d never believe he is my son” (The Kite Runner 19- 20). Amir shatters at the remark of his father and he feels jealous about Hassan. But Hassan’s loyal and loving nature develops a special bond between the two.
Amir, as the novel opens, reveals the horrible past events that crushes him. His guilt shakes his peace of mind and he contemplates:
I became what Iam today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975. I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek. That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into a deserted alley for the last twenty- six years (The Kite Runner1).
Amir’s failure to save his friend Hassan has always haunted him and he remains silent that changes his life forever. He deliberately avoids Hassan to forget his mistakes and overcome guilt feelings. Amir even finds difficult to lead a peaceful life with Soraya. While Soraya reveals her past life, Amir fails to do so. They are not able to beget a child and Amir considers is as a punishment given to him by God for his disloyalty towards Hassan.
There are many significant interventions that help Amir reclaim his past and embrace redemption. Rahim Khan appears as a rescuer who says: “ There is a way to be good again” (The Kite Runner 168). Amir returns to Pakistan, where he realizes that Hassan is his brother. This horrible secret aggravates his conflict and he feels utmost guilt. Amir’s journey is troublesome as he sets out to save the life of Sohrab, the son of Hassan. He gets wounded when trying to rescue Sohrab from Assef, but the pain and torture heal his mental stigma. He says: “My body was broken- just how badly I wouldn’t find out until later- but I felt healed. Healed at last. I laughed” (289).
Amir takes Sohrab to America and tries to satisfy him in every possible means. Sohrab’s indifference disturbs Amir, but Soraya frequently tries to cheer Sohrab. The kite running game, which Amir and Hassan used to play in their childhood, ultimately alters Sohrab, who then gives a positive sign of approval:
It was only a smile, nothing more. It didn’t make every thing alright. Only a smile. A tiny thing. A leaf in the woods, shaking in the wake of a startled bird’s flight. But I’ll take it. With open arms. Because when spring comes, it melts the snow one flake at a time, and maybe I just witnessed the first flake melting (324).
Amir realizes that punishment alone will never redeem him from his sin. The only way to reclaim his identity and atone his sin is to erase the lines of discrimination he has lived with all his life by giving Sohrab an equal chance of success and happiness. Amir learns from his sins and finally gets over the depravities through sacrifice and love.
Both the protagonists, Matilda and Amir undertake a journey that ultimately helps them realize and cuddle their true selves. They explore their identity, with the support of other characters, only to comprehend the ways to be adopted to make the world a better place to live in. The novelists perform a splendid task when they give life to such characters as Amir and Matilda. The novels can in many respects be called Bildungsroman as they trace the development of the characters. The two chief characters drift away from their ethnic identity and enter the realm of Homi Bhabha’s “third space” and establish their selves.
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