One can perceive change within themselves in various ways and through various mediums. Today I stand before you, ladies and gentleman to discuss with you three significant Changing Self texts I believe, strongly connect in their own ways with the Representations of Changing Self expo. Change can be an immediate process or it can be a series of events over a prolonged period of time like it is in Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner, published in 2003. However, using different texts The Kite Runner and perhaps a poem, like The Door, by Miroslar Holub for example, can represent change of self not only in a different format, but also connecting ideas that change can be triggered by a certain event or experience in history which can leave a lasting impact on the present and future. At times we need to be coached or pushed into change, however in other instances we are called to embrace the opportunity as it arises.
Sometimes we come across change unknowingly, by innocence or fear of circumstances as of a true story of an Indian boy named Saroo who unknowingly was driven through the process of change. Changing Self can be a very difficult process to acknowledge and to accept. This idea is significant in The Kite Runner; a ‘deeply moving’ novel demonstrates how a horrific experience of one unforeseen event can change the present and future of a young life. Amir slowly develops realisation with age that another change is required to bring about a new beginning or ‘a way to be good again’, as Rahim Khan said presented as a ‘one time’ opportunity . As discussed in the beginning of the novel we are revealed with a component of the past which reflects the choice of future Amir is faced with.
The result of Amir’s dreadful experience of watching his servant friend, or not-so-much friend, Hassan being raped and the fact that he didn’t do anything about it, or step in and fight Asef before any commotion began fills Amir with unsound guilt and remorse which he proved unable to hide away from, ‘it was my past of untatoned sins” as quoted. This guilt is too powerful for him to acknowledge, so much so that he takes the course of trying to change the way things ran around his home, by getting rid of Hassan from his life. Amir runs away, metaphorically and literally from the environment and surrounds in hope to seek a better mind and reality. Using the literal ‘running’ from Afghanistan to America to seek safety, he does this metaphorically as he tries to run away from the guilt he cannot let go of.
The symbolic use of the cleft lip is a significant detail in the novel used to classify that a person can be identified through specific events and choices, positive or negative. By this whereas Hassan had a cleft lip as a child, this same scenario is changed around as Amir embraces the opportunity to ‘become good again’ and save Sohrab, Hassan’s son, and Amir’s own nephew, from Asef. Amir changes his old cowardice to courage, stepping fourth to fight a losing battle with Asef, a noted, ‘cathartic’ experience, relieving himself from pain, with pain from the blows of Asef, leaving Amir with a cleft lip also. Only to be saved by Sohrab with the repeated symbolic use of the slingshot, this was also used to save Amir from Asef by Hassan years before. Amir feels as though he has positively changed for the better by embracing opportunity and new attribute of courage, filling in the gaps of his stained past. Changing self may be presented as a door of opportunity or experience we may be called to open.
The Door, an influential, yet daring poem by Miroslar Holub emphasises in an imperative tone of urgency and pushiness that any change is better than no change at all. Therefore, one must embrace any change as the opportunity presents itself. The symbol of the door is an indicator of opportunities, and the need for them to be open, just as Rahim Khan was a door of opportunity for Amir to open and experience the ‘drought’ or movement of change willing to take place, good or bad. The words, ‘if there is a fog, it will clear’ demonstrates how this presented opportunity for Amir to relieve his life of guilt with be finally removed with action of ‘opening the door.’
The repetition of ‘go and open the door’ is not only encouraging but coaching and emphasising that if all doors are opened and even if so many are negative, there will still be a positive movement because the door was opened and ‘at least there will be a draught,’ or rather, at least you will have tried to do something about an awful event or experience with an unseen future and not remain in the same position, dealing with the guilt and regret, which cannot escape. As long as the door remains shut, the air will remain stuffy and uncomfortable to breathe in, so coming fourth and opening the door will let fresh air and new opportunities to evolve.
The writer explains the positives of change which is used to entice or urge the reader to want to experience a new change of air. Changing circumstances in one’s life can erratically change and impact one’s life within a series of events contained by a short span of time. This concept is represented in the deeply touching true story of an Indian boy, named Saroo which was published in the Sydney Morning Herald back in March this year. Throughout 25 years, young Saroo went through an array of unforseen events which lead him away from lifelong poverty and his mother to where he is today, amongst the rich living in Australia. Just as the Herald Sun writes, ‘Australia’s very own, slum dog millionaire!’ Why was this so? Many say it occurred because of fate. When Saroo, whom at the time was only five years old- awoke alone and very frightened at one of India’s very many train stations very late in the evening after he had fallen asleep waiting for his brother to return.
At this part of Saroo’s life, he had very little and was uneducated. Was it fear or was it God or a mixture of the both who persuaded young Saroo to pursue looking for his brother in the closest train simply because, ‘he might be in there.’ This simple child’s thought shunted and altered his life away from anything he ever knew… one unforseen event, encouraged by fear, taking the opportunity to open the doors which lead to a train, almost leaving to go to Australia. The Sydney Morning Herald describes this event as ‘the night his young life’s course was altered forever.’ This change of self is represented by the innocence of a young boy. This concept is characterised by Saroo explaining how the reality of trying to get home became a dead end, just like, all the trains he road, to try and reach home, only to meet with another dead end.
Various aspects of Saroo’s life were in fact ‘dead ends’ but when it came to his life depending on it, just as Amir depended on the opportunity from Rahim Khan, as unforseen at the time as it was both boys embraced their opportunities to find something, whether a brother or second chance. They opened the door. Saroo’s door opened eventually to a family from Australia whom adopted him, suddenly and strangely out of his life course, he landed himself in Hobart. In conclusion, we can gather that changing self can be a difficult process, yet also an unforseen process which may take place over a series of events.
These three researched texts have shown connecting and similar views that we must make use of experience and opportunity of change as it arises. Through these views, we are challenged that ultimately it is up to ourselves via thoughts or actions or a mixture of both to decide the course of change we are willing to take. In the Kite Runner, it is up to Amir to choose to put himself in danger to make up for his guilty past, The Door commands us to take opportunities, and yet in the Sydney Morning Herald’s feature Story illustrates that with physical experience change is forever impacting. Each of these demonstrates in their own way how change can somewhat be forced upon a person and ultimately deliver them into a new direction.
Courtney from Study Moose
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