The theme of friendship and loyalty is central to
both novels to portray the significance of friendship and loyalty in a war
environment. The importance of this theme is shown throughout the ‘kite runner’
through the way it is experienced and demonstrated due to social and religious
inequality when Baba’s father adopts Ali they still grow up as friends, which
is followed by their children, Hasan and Amir. Whereas the portrayal of
friendship in ‘Empire of the sun’ is portrayed differently as the friendships
developed due to the war. The first friendship is between Jim and Bessie, the
friendship is developed through the willingness of surviving the war, however
this friendship is seen as weak as it is based on material possessions such as
food and clothing and are only together to look out for one another.

Both novels use symbols to highlight the theme
‘friendship’ and ‘loyalty’ as in kite runner, Khalid Hosseini, users kites as a
symbol to portray both the happiness and innocence of Amir’s Childhood and his disloyalty
towards Hasan, The importance of this symbol is used at the very start of the
novel as Hasan is referred to as at the start as “the hare lipped kite runner”
this eponymous reference to Hasan as the “kite runner” signifies the importance
that Hasan will play on the novel. The adjective “harelipped” exemplifies Hasan’s low status in
society and is shown as one the ways how he is inferior to Amir, as Hasan’s
father does not have the money to fix this deformity. The two kite fights Amir
wins symbolises the juxtaposition of roles, as at the start Amir is flying the
kite for his happiness and Hasan is the kite runner however this symbol of the
kite changes as Amir becomes the kite runner with Hasan’s son Sohrab flying the
kite in hope for Sohrab’s happiness and vindication of Amir and Afghanistan’s

Ballard in ‘Empire of the sun’ uses the symbol of planes to build the
friendship between Jim and the Japanese boy as it shows the innocence of the
children even though they are at war with each other. Jim sees the Jap planes
as something that brings stability to his life because as long as they are
there the war will continue and once the planes are destroyed the friendships
and family he has made in the camps would also be destroyed. “I sat in the
cockpit of a Japanese fighter.” This shows that despite being English he
prefers the Japanese showing that his loyalty to his country is also tested
however the reason why Jim relates to the Jap Air force more is because they
have has such a strong authoritative role in his life, despite nearly killing
him he doesn’t have compelling loyalties is because the British prisoners he is
living with are lazy and less willing to contribute and work. 

Loyalty in friendship is pivotal in both novels;
this is because it can be shown that in both novels due to a lack of loyalty
friendships are broken, this is because in the ‘Kite Runner’ loyalty is key to
Amir’s and Hasan’s friendship are broken, due to the fact that in the novel,
Amir and Hasan are portrayed as more as brothers than friends; “then he (Ali)
would remind us that there was a brotherhood between people who had been fed
from the same breast, a kinship not even time could break.” Even though both
boys knew this, loyalty was still unequal on both sides. This is shown through
the quote “For you a thousand times over” this quote by Hasan indicates his
loyalty towards Amir as he had said this before he had run off after the kite
and had said it again years later in a faded polaroid paragraph even though
Hasan was continuously faithful to Amir however Amir never stood up for Hasan,
he even accused him of stealing which goes to show his lack of faith and
loyalty to their friendship. However in ‘Empire of the sun’ the theme loyalty
is portrayed through many different ways throughout the novel, the main seen
that broke loyalty between Jim and Bessie was when Jim was with his Japanese
friend and Bessie came back to the came and killed the Jap boy and came back to
loot the camp and move on, this shows that he never came back for Jim and only
came back for his personal gain, whereas even though the Japanese boy is from
the enemy side he still game Jim a mango which shows that compared to Bessie,
the Japanese boy does not have any ulterior motives for his friendship he is
only with him for his company and the mutual desire they both have for planes.

In the ‘Kite Runner’ the symbol used to portray the
theme ‘loyalty’ is the symbol of the sacrifice, this symbol portrays Hasan this
is because in Islam an animal is immolated to show the loyalty a man has with
God, in ‘Kite runner’ Hasan is being raped by Assef as he refused to give up
the Kite that he had won for Amir. Hasan is being shown as a sacrifice as had immolated
his own dignity for the sake of Amir getting his Kite back, this shows the
level of loyalty Hasan has for their friendship whereas Hosseini shows in the text
that Amir had closed his eyes like he is trying to shut off what is happening
to Hasan without actually doing anything. As when he did see what Hassan was
going through he could only see “the innocent stare of the lamb.” This extended
metaphor shows Hasan is being immolated and sacrificed, this is because like
the “lamb” who had been immolated, likewise Hasan had done the same thing as he
had sacrificed his dignity and self-respect for the loyalty he had for Amir and
their brotherhood, this once again shows the lack of loyalty Amir has towards
their friendship this is because he stood there and had done nothing to stop Assef
from raping his only friend and brother. This is an extended metaphor because
throughout the book Hassan is the lamb and is always has to sacrifice himself
for the sake of Amir and shows that throughout the book, Hosseini portrays
Amir’s behaviour towards their friendship and brotherhood as cowardice and a
lack of respect for Hasan.

Overall in both books
the theme of friendship and loyalty is central to the texts to a great extent.
This is because in the ‘Kite runner’ without the theme of ‘friendship’ and
‘loyalty’ Hasan and his father would never have left Baba’s house this is
because they left due to Amir accusing Hasan of stealing due to his guilt of
watching Assef rape him and do nothing about it. Hasan had still accepted the
stealing accusations for the sake of loyalty towards their friendship and shows
that even after Amir had put him through he was still loyal towards him in the
end. The reason this theme is central to a great extent is because it the
reason why he had saved Sohrab for the reason that Amir was feeling guilty and
saving Sohrab was a way he could have a feeling of redemption towards his and
Hasan’s friendship. The theme is also central to ‘Empire of the sun’ this is
because one of the main reasons how Jim survived the war was due to his
friendship with Bessie, reason for this because that if he had not found Bessie
he would not have been able to go the camp with him and otherwise he would’ve
been killed by the Japanese. Throughout their stay at the camp Bessie is seen
as a father figure towards Jim, this is because the two times Bessie was beaten
by the Japs Jim stood there watching and therefore shows the similarities
between Bessie from ‘Empire and the Sun’ and Hasan from the ‘Kite runner’ this
is because both of them sacrificed themselves for the sake of their friend, If
Bessie wasn’t Jim would’ve been beaten by the soldiers likewise Amir would’ve
been attacked by Assef if Hasan wasn’t there to protect him. . Whereas throughout
the book Hasan shows the upmost respect for both Amir and their friendship as
earlier in the book he also says he would “eat mud” for Amir and now is doing
something equally as dire


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