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Tsotsi vs The Kite Runner Essay

In the novel, The Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini and the film Tsotsi written by Athol Furgard, many similarities can be found. Both stories include the inner battle that people face throughout their life, the meaning of bravery and what brotherhood truly represents. In today’s society, people find it difficult to perceive their values and what they believe in. The inner battle isn’t the only concept that the novel and the movie share, but many more parallel ideas will be revealed through themes. Very few would believe that the pureness of flying kites and the criminality associated with gangs could somehow be so similar. Although these stories were written nearly a decade ago, they are still able to accurately depict what life in Afghanistan and South Africa are like today.

Bravery, Brotherhood, and Redemption are all themes in which one or more characters from The Kite Runner and Tsotsi undergo at least once throughout their stories. Redemption is the act of sacrifice and getting rid of sins. “Redemption just means you just make a change in your life and you try to do right, versus what you were doing, which was wrong.” – Ice T. Bravery is courageous behavior or character. “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela. Finally, Brotherhood is the relationship between brothers or a close group of friends. “I believe in the brotherhood of all men, but I don’t believe in wasting brotherhood on anyone who doesn’t want to practice it with me. Brotherhood is a two-way street.”

Some might ask, what is the true meaning of bravery? There is no correct answer to this question as everyone has their own interpretations on bravery. Bravery can take many forms, and not just in situations where there is combat. Any time that someone has to overcome fear and take action can be classified as bravery. An example of bravery in The Kite Runner would be when the main character, Amir returns to Afghanistan to save his brother’s son, Sohrab.

After discovering that Sohrab is in an orphanage in Afghanistan, Amir decides to bring him back to America, as a way of ridding himself of his past sins. While searching Afghanistan for Sohrab, Amir discovers that his childhood enemy, Assef is the Taliban leader who has Sohrab captive. He must overcome his fears and face the bully of his past, to redeem himself and free Sohrab. Amir defeats Assef in a fight, and successfully takes Sohrab back to America. This is a true act of bravery as Amir was willing to sacrifice his life to insure Sohrab’s safety. If he had lost or been caught, Assef, being a member of the Taliban, would’ve had Amir killed instantly.

In the movie Tsotsi, there are two specific examples of bravery. While returning to the house for the second time, Tsotsi and his gang hold John hostage while searching for valuable items. The real reason for Tsotsi’s return was to find things that would help him take care of the baby such as baby formula and a bottle. John sets off the house alarm while no one is watching him and Tsotsi and his friends begin to panic. Butcher proceeds to aim his gun at John, for setting off the alarm. As he is about to pull the trigger, Tsotsi shoots Butcher in the back of the head. This requires true bravery as Butcher was his good friend, but he had to sacrifice his friend to ensure that the baby’s father stayed alive and out of harm.

Redemption, the act of sacrifice in order to forgive one’s self. His father had once said to Rahim Khan “A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything” (Page 23). Amir’s guilt lies in the fact that his mother had died giving birth to him and he feels that he is responsible for his mother’s death. At one point in the story, Amir begins to believe that his father blames him for her death, due to an unhealthy father-son relationship.

It is at this point where we realize that Amir has been trying to redeem himself in his father’s eyes and meet his father’s standards for his entire life. But his guilt does not end there. Amir has a strong desire to win Baba’s love and for that he believes that he must win the kite flying competition and ultimately sacrifice anything, including Hassan. Although he does not say it, he shows it in the rape scene that occurs later on, when he watches his best friend getting raped and does absolutely nothing about it. It is ironic because Amir thinks he can redeem himself in the eyes of his father by bringing him the losing kite and make him proud.

In the movie Tsotsi, there is one prime example of redemption that occurs. Throughout the entire movie, the main character, Tsotsi can be seen wearing black clothing at all times. It represents his impurity and his evil intentions. While wearing black, he kills a man, threatens a woman with a gun, and bullies an old man. In the last scene of the movie, Tsotsi wears white, symbolizing his purity and his good intentions. He accepts his mistakes, goes to return the baby and to seek forgiveness for his sins. This change in clothing may not seem big, but it shows the audience the change that Tsotsi has gone through, the purity in his heart, and also shows that he wants to be a better person.

Brotherhood, the relationship between brothers or close group of friends. In The Kite Runner, the major example of brotherhood is the relationship between Hassan and Amir. Throughout the book, there are events that show off this brotherhood. When Ali and Hassan decide to leave, Baba, a man who is seen as the toughest man in Kabul, starts to break down in tears due to the fact that his best friend is leaving him. Hassan and Amir share a special bond as they have known each other since childhood and have been each other’s best friend. One example of their brotherhood would be, “Amir and Hassan, The Sultans of Kabul.”, which was engraved onto the tree. This symbolizes that they will always be friends and ‘Rulers of Kabul’. Another example of their brotherhood would be that Amir returns to Afghanistan to help Hassan’s son and bring him back to America.

In the movie Tsotsi, a key example of brotherhood is between Tsotsi and Boston. Tsotsi first finds Boston on the street, outside of the bar, throwing up and lying in his own vomit. Tsotsi takes him in, cleans him up, and accepts him as part of the gang. They are together for a total of six months before getting into an argument which leads to Tsotsi punching Boston in the face multiple times. Once Boston becomes conscious again, Tsotsi brings him back to his home, apologizes and they start over again. Tsotsi tells Boston that he is going to get him money, so that he can continue his education and fulfill his dreams of becoming a teacher.

Although these stories seemed to be complete opposites at first, upon further analysis we can conclude that they are actually very similar. They share multiple themes with one another including redemption, brotherhood and bravery.


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