Discuss with relation to the Kite Runner, Tsotsi and one other related text. Changing self is part and parcel of life. However it must be acknowledged that change to doesn’t come easily. The texts that I have studied have been instrumental in developing my understanding of the concept of changing self been a complex process. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Housseini is a story of Amir’s journey to redemption. This requires him to confront his past and demons and in the process he becomes his own barrier to resist his change.
Similarly in Tsotsi, a film directed by Gavin Hood explores the journey of redemption of a thug names Tsotsi where he too in the process becomes his own barrier, resisting change. Tsotsi also feels disconnected with his past in the process of change. The newspaper article “With a song in his hear”, by Terry Smith (Sun Herald) is a story of a man who achieved his dream of singing because he was willing to change.
It shows us the barriers people need to face in order to change and also explores that how sometimes changing self requires a complete change in a person.
All these make the process of change complex and have definitely shaped my understanding of the complexities that comes with change or in its process. The process of changing self can be difficult because one could make oneself the barrier resisting change. In the Kite Runner, when Soraya opens up to Amir on her past life, Amir chooses not to admit his haunting secrets. The line where Soraya states “You need to know I don’t want to start with secrets. And I’d rather you hear it from me” is ironical as Amir is keeping a secret too.
The short sentences reflect of confronting tone is depictive of the confrontation Amir needs to make with his own haunting secrets. Even though Soraya is opening up to him, Amir chooses not to open up about his past. The quote” I envied her. Her secrets were out. Spoken. Dealt with. I opened my mouth and almost told her how I had betrayed Hassan, lied, driven him out and destroyed a forty year old friendship between Baba and Ali. But I didn’t. The short sentences couples with the language of resolution mirrors Amir’s jealousy of Soraya who has just opened up about her past as he envies he has the courage to do so.
The high modality in “I didn’t” reinforces that Amir was given an opportunity to change, and instead of embracing it he choose not to make effective use of the opportunity This makes change difficult as he his own enemy on his journey to inner redemption Similarly in Tsotsi like Amir we see Tsotsi rejecting the opportunity to change when Boston confronts him. as he is his own barrier resisting his change. When Boston interrogates him after the crime on the Train, eventhough we see Tsotsi pausing contemplating, he responds to Butcher with Violence.
The line “ Decency.. you know the word? Tsotsi, Thug? That’s not your real name.. and when she left you… may be it hurt”. The confronting language and the series of questions aims to confront Tsotsi and make him re evaluate his actions. Boston’s tone is firm and interrogating. The juxtaposition if the dancing in the background of the bar with the stillness of Tsotsi’s face when the dialogue is spoken makes us realise that Tsotsi is contemplating. However he chooses to respond with violence and beats up Boston severely.
Immediately, we see Tsotsi running into the darkness of the night from the bar which is reflects the darkness Tsotsi chooses to remain in rather than reforming. On the same night Tsotsi shoots a woman and steels her car. This shows us that Tsotsi hasn’t changed. Even though Boston interrogation should have served a catalyst for Tsotsi to change, he chooses not to, making his process of change a complex one, as he rejects the opportunity like Amir. Studying “With a song in his heart” I realized that changing self a complex process because it requires a lot of effort and sacrifice.
For Smith enrolling in a music program and meeting the demands of it wasn’t easy. The line “It was a steep learning curve, but determination kept him going” reinforces this idea. The use of the adjective “Steep” describes the depth of difficulty of changing self and the metaphor steep learning curve mirrors the idea of change been a complex process. In order for him to pay for his music tuition, which was an outlet for him to change from his wild lifestyle to a better one, it was imperative that he had to fund for his music lessons, which wan’t easily accessible.
The quote “To pay the bills and the rent, and to pay for singing lessons I was working 50-60 hours a week. This makes us understand that money was a barrier and to overcome it he had to work hard. The very straightforward and factual sentences devoid of superfluous language adds to the ongoing list of effort that he needed to put in, in order to have the opportunity to change and makes the process seem daunting. However unlike Amir and Tsotsi, Smith doesn’t create barriers for his process of change but rather overcomes the barriers, even though the process s demanding and complex. The Kite Runner further endorses the idea that changing self is one that is a difficult process as it requires people to go back and confront their past in order to seek redemption. In the Kite Runner, Amir is guilty of not interrupting the rape of Hassan. He bears this guilt for the rest of his life, and realizes that he needs to access his past to seek redemption. Going back to the past and atoning his sins, involves a heavy process of confrontation. This makes it an arduous task and requires a lot of effort.
The quote “My body was broken –just how badly I wouldn’t find out until later-but I felt healed. Healed at last. I laughed” reflects the idea that for Amir in order to redeem himself and save Shohrab, it required him to have a confrontation with Asseff. We see that he indulges and accepts to face Asseff, in order to redeem himself. The repetitive use of the word healed emphasizes and mirrors the psychological healing he endures after the beating. The use of the word “broken” to describe his body is suggestive of the price he had to pay in order to seek redemption and save Shohrab.
This makes changing self a difficult process for him. As a result for in order for Amir to change he was forced to confront one his biggest fears. Studying Tsotsi made me realise that changing self may result in a sense of disconnection with people once familiar to them. In Tsotsi, we see realise that Tsotsi feels disconnected with Aap as he changes himself. The dialogue between Aap and Tsotsi when Tsotsi says “ Come on brother” Aap replies “You’re right, we are finished, It’s over like Butcher. It’s finished and done boy” reflects the rejection Tsotsi receives as he chose to kill Butcher instead of Mr.
John. The truncated sentences mirror the disconnection Tsotsi feels with his past and add to the finality of their friendship. Since Tsotsi is in the process of changing himself and chooses to do the right thing he is rejected by his childhood best friend. Tsotsi’s silence during the scene reflects Tsotsi pondering is symbolic of the friendship he will lose where Aap would be an eternal silence in his life. As the camera takes a close up of Tsotsi’s face we see a face of determination embedded with sorrow.
This makes us realise that he feels disconnected with the Aap at this moment and he is sorry about it, but he knows that letting go of Aap is best for him. Nonetheless he seems disconnected with his past and it made me realise that changing self is not easy but a journey filled with complexities. In with a song I was made to understand that changing self requires a complete shift in personality and life style. In “with a song in his heart” before Smith took the decision to change himself, he is presented to us as a person who didn’t have control of his own life.
The quote: “There was no discipline, no boundaries and by the time I was 14 I was in trouble with the law and constantly running away for weeks at a time”, demonstrates his life status before the change. The repetitive use of the word “no” adds negative tone and at the same time mirrors the negativity that pervaded in his life at that time. The repetition also serves to imply the lack of limitations and the high modality of the word “no” emphasizes very clearly, what he lacked in life. When he responded to the change he needed to change completely as a person.
The quote “I went through a period of huge personal growth and you come out at the end as a different person with different ideas on life, different values” The repetitive use of the word “different” implies the different facets that were changed in his life, which were values, ideas and on the whole a completely different person than to what you started as. This shift and change in personality is not easy and makes changing challenging. In conclusion it is true to say that changing self is a complex process. It is a process filled with barriers and obstacles.
In the Kite Runner, change wasn’t an easy process for Amir. It required him to confront one of his greatest fears Asseff and also standing up for something on his own. He also was his own barrier resisting change, when he didn’t embrace the opportunities to change. Overall these made his process of change complex. In Tsotsi, we see, Tsotsi having to face a phase of discontinuation with his past life and friends when he was rejected by his friends and he chose to make the difficult decision of changing and alienating his friends rather than continuing to be a part of the underworld activities.
Tsotsi was also at a point his own barrier resisting his change. These two reason were a few that made Tsotsi journey to change and redemption complex. In with a song in his heart Smith had to do undergo a complete shift in personality and at the same time had to look for ways to overcome his lack of money in order to pay for music which was the reason for his change. These made the process of changing self complex for him. Inevitably changing self is arduous, complex and difficult but if its rewards are to be positive the struggle in incontestably worth all of it.