The Thorn Birds Questions and Answers
by Colleen McCullough

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

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Luke O'Neill in The Thorn Birds is more like Rasheed in A Thousand Splendid Suns. Luke is a heartless man who romances Meggie and gets her to marry him. Once married to Meggie, he is heartless and cold. He leaves her to harvest sugarcane and hires her out to be a housemaid to another family. Luke thinks mainly of money, and refuses to have a child until he is well established with a station (a ranch). Even after Meggie tricks him into having a child, he is not interested in raising the child and is loveless toward his wife.

Rasheed in A Thousand Splendid Suns marries Mariam out of expedience rather than love, similar to the reasons Luke marries Meggie in The Thorn Birds. Like Luke, Rasheed is loveless and impatient towards Mariam. Also like Luke, Rasheed sees women as sexual objects but not as objects deserving of love, and is impatient and abusive towards Mariam after they marry. Unlike Luke, Rasheed wants to have a child and is displeased when his wife has several miscarriages. After his second wife, Laila, gives birth to a daughter, Rasheed abuses the daughter and eventually gives her to an orphanage. He shows the same disregard for his daughter that Luke O'Neill shows toward his daughter. At first, Amir in The Kite Runner is an unethical boy who betrays his friend, Hassan. Unlike Rasheed and Luke, who are unredeemed, Amir eventually rescues Sohrab, Hassan's son. In the end, Amir is loving toward a child and redeems himself, unlike Rasheed and Luke. 

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