The Thorn Birds Questions and Answers
by Colleen McCullough

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Is Luke O'Neill in the Thorn Birds more like Amir from The Kite Runner or Rasheed from A Thousand Splendid Suns?

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Colleen McCullough's Thorn Birds highlights the story of the Cleary family over the course of 54 years, emphasizing the life of Meghann "Meggie" Cleary who lives at Drogheda, a sheep station in the Australian Outback. Meggie is eventually courted by Luke O'Neill, a miserly and misogynistic ranch worker at the station. Luke and Meggie unenthusiastically marry each other, but Luke doesn't stick around for long, leaving her to cut sugarcane in North Queensland, stealing her wages and savings in the process. 

Luke is more like Rasheed in Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns. Rasheed is a shoemaker from Kabul who marries the much younger Mariam and is incredibly abusive toward her. Rasheed also later abuses the other female protagonist, Laila, who bears his son. 

Amir, from Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, is much more passive than the two aforementioned characters. He does witness a horrific act of violence and chooses not to intervene, but he does not play an active role in injuring anyone. Thus, I would say Luke, who is very aggressive, is not really like Amir.

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