What are the similarities between the journeys of Amir in "The Kite Runner" and Pi in "The Life of Pi" starting from the beginning?

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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In ‘The Kite Runner’ Amir ostensibly undertakes an actual physical journey in order to get back to Afghanistan to save Hassan's son. A truly epic mission becomes more and more dangerous and we share the dramatic action as he travels around this troubled society. In a way he is travelling two journeys because he is taking us, as readers, with him and through his eyes we see the traumatic consequences of life under Taliban rulers. Amir's life is in danger every day that he dallies in the country and we feel the unbearable suspense which builds up the general plot and the other themes and gives us insight into his personality. Another geographical journey he undertakes is to escape from Afghanistan in childhood with Baba so that they can go to live in safety in the US. These are the obvious journeys that Amir makes, but there are more subtle ones also - into adulthood, into writing and to find his identity.

Pi also experiences drama and discovery in his journeys but there is a slight difference in the depiction of spirituality.

In ‘The Life Of Pi’ our traveller gains a spiritual understanding of his identity and his own little niche in life’s great scheme of things. Some elements of his  journey are similar to Amir’s as they involve growing up and finding himself. He faces living outside his comfort zone and grappling with losing control over the basic necessities of normal human life such as water and food.  Amir’s hazards however, arise more from violence from other humans and the terror of being constantly on the run for fear of a painful death or capture. He knows he could die at the hands of captors but this is less dependent on Fate or Nature. It is the ignorance, bigotry and hatred of other human beings which are the enemies here. He has also undertaken a long battle or journey with himself already, becoming more spiritual, overcoming guilt and shame at his early betrayal of Hassan and developing huge courage and moral fiber in taking such risks for another. He had to sacrifice himself and experience real fear. Pi also suffers from fear but he is making a journey from unrealistic privilege to basic poverty and survival at the hands of Fate or Nature. He gradually becomes aware that life can be easily lost - and is precious and to be savored. Perhaps he has not appreciated the gift of life in the past. He could have been of the view that it was handed to him on a plate like everything else and he may not have seen the need to be thankful or to give anything back to the world. Many people believe that the one thing we can leave behind is to leave the world a better place than we found it but this young man was brought up to be cavalier about the precious gift of lfe. In ‘The Kite Runner’ Amir sees the precious gift of life ebbing away too - but in his case it is the cancer that he has to witness and in a way this could be said to be Nature too in the end - not extremist belief - which has the last word as it is a disease of the body which eventually and inevitably kills. But at least,through his journey, Amir finds inner peace.

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