Who is the polar opposite of Luke O'Neill in The Thorn Birds in The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns?

Characters who may be considered the polar opposite of Luke O'Neill in The Thorn Birds are Sohrab in The Kite Runner and Mariam in A Thousand Splendid Suns. Luke is a ruthless, self-centered man who disregards other people’s feelings. Despite being a father, family life matters little to him. Sohrab, as an innocent child, is clearly the opposite of an uncaring parent. Mariam, though not a biological mother, risks her life for another woman and her children.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Luke O'Neill in The Thorn Birds has so many negative characteristics that most of the characters in the other two novels could be considered his opposite in numerous ways. In The Kite Runner, the young boy Sohrab is clearly the opposite of Luke. Through showing courage and generosity, Mariam in A Thousand Splendid Suns can be seen as Luke’s opposite.

Luke is portrayed as a self-centered man who is ambitious to the point of greed. His reason for marrying Meggie is to gain access to her family’s property. The cold, harsh man does not value Meggie or their children as people but only for how they can help him accomplish his goals. He is so driven to succeed that he cannot form empathy for others, and Meggie finally takes the children and leaves.

Sorhab, the son of Hassan, becomes orphaned and is later adopted by his uncle, Amir. As a young boy, Sohrab is innocent and blameless. His role as a temporarily parentless child shows a clear contrast to that of a father who emotionally abandons his children.

Mariam can be seen as an opposite character because she is not the biological mother of any children. More importantly, as she overcomes her initial jealousy, Mariam shows true generosity of spirit on behalf of Laila and her children—even risking her life to save them.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team