Essay about The Spectrum of Sacrifice in The Kite Runner and the Last Unicorn

Essay about The Spectrum of Sacrifice in The Kite Runner and the Last Unicorn

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In the fantasy novel, The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle wrote that “Real magic can never be made by offering someone else's liver. You must tear out your own, and not expect to get it back” (Beagle). While this quote is a bizarre non sequitur, its core holds true. It states that the only sacrifice that is truly worth anything is the sacrifice of one’s self. Too often in this age, people step on others to help themselves succeed, gain prestige and positions for themselves while leaving those stepped on in the dust. In 2003, Khaled Hosseini wrote The Kite Runner, which explores the same theme of self-sacrifice and love. It follows the life of Amir, a rich Pashtu boy, who spends his childhood in Afghanistan with his father, Baba and his ever-faithful servant and friend, Hassan. Eventually, Amir and Baba are driven from their home due to rising political and military tensions and flee to America, where Amir tries to bury memories of wrongs he had done in his old life. The climax of the novel sees Amir making a great and dangerous sacrifice to atone for those wrongs. In The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini makes evident the idea of love and self-sacrifice while simultaneously deriding the concept of sacrificing another person, especially exploring both with the character of Amir. Most of the characters make sacrifices for another person, and are portrayed afterwards as brave and noble, but the few characters that sacrifice another character are malevolent and dishonourable.
In regards to characters that sacrifice themselves for the good of others, an easy example is Amir’s father, Baba. Baba is considered a very admirable man in the setting and he does much to prove his legendary reputation within the time frame of the novel. An outright e...


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...and not self-sacrifice, giving a wide array of consequences. Amir serves as a way to show that it is possible to move from one end of the spectrum to the other. Jesus said in the bible, “There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends” (John 15:13), and an easy contrast to that made by the novel is “There is no greater sin than to lay down one's friends for one's life.” Whether as small as Wahid giving up some food to treat Amir like a guest, or as significant as Amir abandoning Hassan in his time of need, in The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini teaches that self-sacrifice brings wholeness while sacrificing another brings only guilt.



Works Cited

Beagle, Peter S. The Last Unicorn. New York: Viking Press, 1968. Print.
Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. Toronto: Anchor Canada, 2004. Print.
New Living Translation. Bible Gateway. Web. 15 May 2014.

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