Who is Rahim Khan's equivalent in A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Thorn Birds?

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Rahim Khan in The Kite Runner is most like Hakim in A Thousand Splendid Suns and Cardinal Vittorio di Contini-Verchese in The Thorn Birds. Rahim Khan is a kindly, modest father figure to Amir, a man of moral courage and hidden strength.

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Rahim Khan is a kindly, thoughtful character whose mild demeanor hides considerable strength of character. He is one of the few people who can stand up to Baba and is more of a father to Amir than Baba is himself. He acts as Amir's mentor, encouraging his writing, fostering his moral development, and showing him "a way to be good again."

In A Thousand Splendid Suns, the closest character to Rahim Khan is Hakim, a mild-mannered scholar who encourages his daughter, Laila, as Rahim Khan does Amir. In a society which does not regard the education of girls as an important matter, Hakim ensures that his daughter is well-educated and understands the power of knowledge. He tells her that she has an important part to play in her country's future. Like Rahim Khan, Hakim is self-effacing and mainly notable for the effect he has on others.

In The Thorn Birds, the closest character to Rahim Khan is Archbishop (later Cardinal) Vittorio di Contini-Verchese. Where Rahim Khan is a father figure and Hakim is Laila's biological father, Vittorio is a Father in the sense of being a Roman Catholic priest. He is a kindly and selfless mentor to Ralph de Bricassart, encouraging Ralph to do what is best for him and only following his religious vocation if he is certain that it is the right thing to do.

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Who is similar to and who is the polar opposite of Baba in The Kite Runner in The Thorn Birds and A Thousand Splendid Suns?

It is difficult to find characters who correspond to Baba in other works of fiction, since he has a larger-than-life, legendary quality which makes him unique. It is said in The Kite Runner that he once won a wrestling match with a bear, and his physical size and strength, as well as his heroic status, make this easy to believe.

Paddy Cleary in The Thorn Birds does not have Baba's forceful personality, but he is an indomitable character in a quieter way. Like Baba, he is the honest, hardworking patriarch of his family. Ironically, while both are strong father figures, their relationships with their own children are strained and somewhat distant. They are also similar in the story of their lives as immigrants, and their tragic deaths. Baba's polar opposite is Ralph de Bricassart, who seems initially as though he might have strong, heroic qualities, but proves to be weak and irresponsible.

In A Thousand Splendid Suns, Baba's heroic qualities are best paralleled in Tariq, who endures great hardship, including the loss of a leg at an early age. Tariq shows that he has the same force of character that Baba has, and the same sense of responsibility, though, like Paddy, he is less of an extrovert than Baba. The polar opposite of Baba is Nana, who becomes embittered and weakened by the trials of her life instead of facing and overcoming them.

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Who is Baba in The Kite Runner most like in A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Thorn Birds?

In a previous answer, I argued that Baba was most like Fiona (Fee Cleary) in The Thorn Birds.

In this answer, I would like to present some evidence that Baba also shares some important similarities with Mary Carson in The Thorn Birds. First, both have a rather irreverent view of religion. They are also stubbornly independent, self-assured, and dominant. In her youth, Mary left Ireland and leveraged her beautiful face and figure to snag a wealthy husband in Australia. It is a point of pride for her that Michael Carson doted on her until the day he died. It's clear that Mary has always had an iron will and an indefatigable focus on her priorities.

In terms of religious preferences, Mary is Roman Catholic, while Baba is Muslim. Neither, however, has any illusions about priests or religious leaders. Here's what Mary Carson says about them:

"I must confess, Father, that this past year has been very pleasant," she said. "You're a far more satisfactory shepherd than old Father Kelly was, God rot his soul."

"I, too, think that there are more important things than lovers, but being a receptacle for God isn't one of them."

"Stuff and nonsense! You're here because of human failings—your own and the bishop's."

Mary is predominantly obsessed with preserving her power and influence in the society in which she lives. After her husband dies, she remains a widow, refusing to let either new suitors or priests decide her destiny in life. Baba is similarly independent in nature. Like Mary, he stubbornly refuses to bow to the spiritual authority of priests or holy men.

"Do you want to know what your father thinks about sin?"

"Then, I'll tell you," Baba said, "but first understand this, and understand it now, Amir: You'll never learn anything of value from those bearded idiots."

"You mean Mullah Fatiullah Khan?"

"I mean all of them. Piss on the beards of all those self-righteous monkeys."

Both Baba and Mary are pragmatic, shrewd individuals. They choose not to deny the lusts that beguile them, and they freely acknowledge the baser instincts of their nature. Mary openly lusts after Father de Bricassart, privately comparing him to an Adonis. Meanwhile, Baba has an affair with Sanaubar (his servant's wife). Both Baba and Mary are accustomed to getting what they want.

So, when Mary's overtures are consistently rebuffed by Father Ralph, she becomes bitter. Her bitterness grows into malice when she realizes that her beloved priest is drawn to Meggie Cleary. In the end, Mary uses her expansive wealth as a vehicle to torment Father Ralph for the rest of his life. She essentially betrays the man she claims to have loved and lusted after.

For his part, Baba also betrays those he claims to have loved: Sanaubar, Ali, and Hassan. After his affair with Sanaubar (which results in Hassan's birth), he neglects to recognize his illlegitimate son. Later, out of pride and social pressure, Baba lets Ali and Hassan leave his employ.

Similar to Baba and Mary, Jalil in A Thousand Splendid Suns also betrays the one who loves him. Sure, there are plenty of similarities between Baba (in The Kite Runner) and Nana in A Thousand Splendid Suns. Both have affairs that result in great suffering in their lives. However, Baba doesn't die in bitterness; Nana does. In that vein, Nana is similar to Mary Carson, who also dies with bitter malice in her heart. Before her death, she promises Father Ralph that she will make him sell himself like any "painted whore."

Back to Jalil. For his part, Jalil is one of Herat's wealthiest men. Despite his wealth, however, he succumbs to societal pressure and chooses not to recognize Mariam as his daughter. After Nana's death, Jalil gives in to his wives and chooses not to welcome Mariam into his household. Jalil's decision results in great suffering for Mariam, who ends up being married to the despicable Rasheed.

Having said the above, it is evident that Baba shares as many important similarities with Mary Carson and Jalil as he does with Fiona Cleary and Nana.

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