The Theme Of Friendship In Sándor Márai's 'Embers'

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Sándor Márai, author of Embers, introduces a suspenseful and thought-provoking narrative of what happens when two friends who have not seen each other for forty-one years meet. Márai fills the audience with apprehension as he vaguely describes the feelings and back-story of the protagonist Henrik who has been abandoned by his closest friend Konrad, gradually leading the story to the climactic point where the two finally meet. From the information that Márai provides, the only knowledge the audience has is that Henrik and Konrad were closer than two peas in a pod and suddenly, Konrad disappears without a trace until forty-one years later. Because Henrik finally receives a letter from Konrad notifying him that he is returning, Henrik is more…show more content…
With Henrik being born into a wealthy family and Konrad being born into an impoverished family, there is a significant distinction between both characters’ social classes, meaning each character’s childhood into adulthood was shaped noticeably differently. As another feature of merit on Henrik’s idea of friendship, Henrik prevents the distinct social gap from negatively affecting their bond. Readers have the ability to distinguish Henrik and Konrad’s background as Márai includes, “The son of the Officer of the Guards sensed that their bond of friendship…must be protected from the influence of money and any slightest hint of envy or tactlessness. It was not easy.” (60). In addition, “…this friendship, despite the discrepancy in their wealth, must be protected for a lifetime” (60). Also, “And because of their friendship, each forgave the other’s original sin: wealth on one hand and poverty on the other” (61). Society frowns upon the mere thought of having an individual from a wealthy rank being acquainted with an individual of a destitute rank. This further enhances the merit of Henrik’s definition of friendship as he personally chooses to ignore the contrast between his wealth and Konrad’s, not allowing a petty component to control the quality of their friendship and signifying that Henrik values friendship over conformity and

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