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Your Destiny Is in Your Hands Essay

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Updated: Feb 3rd, 2022

“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime…” (Hosseini p. 142).

Both films and books are created to produce a certain impression and bring some particular message to the reader or viewer. We will overview the film ‘Far and Away’ and the book ‘The Kite Runner’ to analyze the symbolic features in both.

The film ‘Far and Away’ produced and directed by Ron Howard tells the story of a young Irish man named Joseph who has great dreams and a strong intention to bring them to life. His house burnt down, and on the deathbed his father asks Joseph to fulfill his dream and become the owner of some land. He says: ‘Without land, a man is nothing. Land is a very man’s soul.’ (Far and Away). Joseph wants to take the revenge over Daniel Christie, the landlord who have burnt his house. When Joseph comes to Christie’s house he falls in love with Shannon, the landlord’s daughter who persuades him to flee to America with her. On their way to America, they meet a stranger who tells them that anyone can win a land at the Land Race in Oklahoma. In America, they encounter great difficulties. Joseph makes money participating in barehanded boxing matches, Shannon works at a plant and later she becomes a dancer in a local club. Once Joseph loses a big match, they are thrown away from the club without any money. Joseph and Shannon are desperate and helpless. When Shannon is wounded Joseph brings her to her family who had also lost their house in Ireland and moved to the USA searching for their daughter. Joseph starts working at the railroad building but once in his dream he sees his father who reminds Joseph about his main purpose in this country that is winning a land. Some time passed and Joseph meets Shannon again at the Land Run of 1893 in Oklahoma where she participates with her family. During the race, Stephen starts a fight with Joseph, who falls on the ground and hurts his head. Shannon is desperate thinking that Joseph was dead and tells Joseph that she loves him. These words revive him and they together plant the flag into the ground.

‘The Kite Runner’ was the first novel by Afghan writer published in English. The novel brought the worldwide fame to Khaled Hosseini. It seems to be a quite different story in which the author narrates about the life of an Afghan boy Amir who once does not help his best friend Hassan. Due to his cowardice, he runs away leaving Hassan in a fight with an older boy and this occasion changes his life. ‘Amir’s story is simultaneously devastating and inspiring’ (Hill par. 6). He dreams to become a writer but his father does not support his idea. Rahim Khan, his father’s friend is the only person who understands his ambitions. Sometimes the protagonist feels that Khan loves him more than his own father does. The events of the winter 1975 force Amir to move to America where he starts a new life and finally becomes a famous novelist. One day his father’s friend Rahim Khan calls him and asks to come back to his motherland. Amir walks in the park where he sees children playing with kites and recalls his childhood when he played with his dear friend Hassan whom he called the kite runner back in Kabul many years ago. He remembers his father’s house, the pictures of his mother, and the sad story about Hassan’s mother who left him when he was one week old. Amir tries to think of a reason for Rahim Khan to summon him to Kabul (Hosseini pp. 1-12).

We can draw some parallels between the two stories. Both of them have two protagonists who are of different social status. Amir and Shannon were born in wealthy families and Hassan and Joseph originated from poor ones. Hassan is Amir’s servant and Joseph pretends to be Shannon’s servant when they travel. Both Amir and Shannon are misunderstood in their families. Amir wants to become a writer but his father does not appreciate his ambitions. Shannon, in her turn, longs for the modern lifestyle but her conservative parents suppress her intentions. The circumstances force the young people in both stories to leave their homes and search for a better life in America. The protagonists in both stories have to overcome great difficulties on their way to happiness (Gleiberman par. 3). They parted to reunite later: Shannon and Joseph meet again at the Land Run, and though Amir has never seen his friend since he left Afghanistan, he ‘meets’ Hassan and redeems his betrayal when he finds the way to become a friend and father to Sohrab.

Both stories have their specific symbols carrying some particular message. In the book ‘The Kite Runner’, kite has the same meaning and importance as land in ‘Far and Away’. Both land and kite in these stories symbolize freedom and happiness. Amir remembers his dear friend when he sees a child playing with a kite in San Francisco. Shannon and Joseph who have lost their homes have the purpose to win a land as the best way to happiness. For Joseph the land means not only wealth and money. It is associated with his own soul: a man without a land is a man having no soul.

House is a strong symbol in the analyzed book and film as well. The house here stands for the social status of the protagonists. Amir and Shannon originate from wealthy families and they have grown up in big beautiful luxurious houses. While Joseph lives on a small farm and then loses it in the fire together with his family and Hassan lives in a ‘mud shack’ as he and his father are servants in Amir’s house.

Family is also symbolic and is supposed to mean safety and happiness but in both stories, main characters cannot find any support of their dreams there. They try to gain love and understanding of their parents but all their attempts break on the wall of conservatism. Shannon and Amir associate their families with a cage, which suppresses their identity so they both flee from their homes to get rid of the prejudice haunting them.

The two stories have much in common and each tells about a young man, who had a dream and fulfilled it. This film and novel prove that one day may totally change someone’s life. They also show that everyone has power to change his life to the better if he just dares to step on the winding road to the happiness.

References

Far and Away. Ex. Prod. Ron Howard. USA: Imagine Entertainment. 1992. DVD.

Gleiberman, Owen. “Far and Away.” Entertainment Weekly. 2007: 119. Print.

Hill, Amelia. 2003 “An Afghan Hounded by His Past”, The Guardian. Web. Web.

Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner, New York City, USA: Riverhead Books, 2003. Print.

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