Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini follows the tales of the hardships of immigrants and minorities in a landscape that aims to diminish their ability to autonomy. As such, both works share thematic components of which family and dehumanization are the most prevalent and integral. In this response, the approaches to the themes between the two works will be observed and compared.
Both works share thematic elements that emphasize the influence of family, children, and parenthood. Enrique’s Journey follows the narrative of abandonment as the titular character searches for his mother (Nazario, 2006). The mother had to choose between leaving her home in Honduras to provide for her family financially, in a sense abandoning them in the process. In the Kite Runner, the central relationships are also familiar with Amir and Baba being the focal points of the narrative (Hosseini, 2003). Amir, the son, aims to capture the approval and affection of his father while Baba, the father, learns to love a son despite their total differences.
The themes of dehumanization through violence, abuse, or other forms of mistreatment also occur throughout the works. Enrique’s Journey portrays both the compassionate individuals and groups that aim to assist immigrants and the darker and unjust systemic challenges that minorities must often overcome. These events often make immigrant characters the subject of dehumanization, as much of the mistreatment that occurs aims to do so. In the Kite Runner, dehumanization is revealed more brutally, with rape being a repeated act of violence and a tool of repression. As such, both works can recount the acts of violence and mistreatment as components of larger dehumanization.
Both works reflect the hardships faced by individuals of immigrant and minority backgrounds ranging from cultural to systemic. The theme of family is relevant to both works, with abandonment and the striving for gaining approval dominating the narratives. Similarly, the processes of dehumanization are explored and the effects of violence and mistreatment are displayed. As a result, while the works vary in tone and structure, their thematic similarities are prevalent.
Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. Riverhead Books, 2003.
Nazario, Sonia. Enrique’s Journey. Random House, 2006.