Thomas Foster’s How to Read like a Professor includes deep analysis of many different topics throughout the text. Specifically, Foster’s chapter 14 includes insight on Christian influence in today’s literature. This influence dates fairly back, particularly to European settlers attempting to engrave Christian views on different societies. The chapter also goes into how many characters in modern literature are shrouded ‘Christ figures’, also meaning similar to the biblical figure Jesus Christ, who in Christianity is a very generous, giving, and sacrificial for the benefit of others. Two texts that is found to include Christian influence are the novels The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. The Kite Runner is a novel about a boy Amir, and his closest friend Hassan and their journey of self discovery throughout their lives. Early in the novel we see a lot of sacrifices made by the character Hassan for Amir, and he does it without thought, meaning the christ figure in The Kite Runner is Hassan, as he is extremely generous, and gives a lot of his own identity for his friend Amir, and overall has very ‘christ-like’ qualities. The novel Brave New World is about a future where everyone is happy, no one has any worries in the world, and there is no need for relationships and in fact it is looked at as disgusting. Except for a character named John, John doesn’t see it as disgusting, in fact he sees it as normal. John tries to save these people from this over protective government, and shows many christ qualities as well. Largely, the texts Brave New World and The Kite Runner include hidden influences of biblical figures, that actually aren’t hidden at all, and the authors Khaled Hosseini and Aldous Huxley do a great job of giving these characters very generous, or sacrificial qualities to show a deeper analysis of what they are doing.
The novel The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is a very clear example of a author giving characters biblical qualities. When thinking about biblical figures in text, the character Hassan comes to mind. Hassan is a very generous, sacrificial, and helpful person. He does a lot for Amir, though that is easily dismissed from the fact that he is poor, and he almost a servant to Amir and his father. Although that only further shows that Hassan is a christ figure. Jesus wasn’t rich, he was actually very poor, he didn’t want anything for himself. The only thing that he wanted was to help others, this is shown with Hassan. Hassan doesn’t complain about his stance in society, he doesn’t ask for anything more in the household that he lives in, he does what he is told, and sacrifices what he wants for others. An example of sacrificing is shown early in the novel, Amir and Hassan are confronted by their “bullies” after winning a tournament of kite running. Amir is able to leave, and Hassan stays, he stays and is raped so Amir wouldn’t even be touched. Amir never talked about it with Hassan, possibly out of guilt, but to Hassan, he didn’t need too. Because Hassan felt he had done his part by helping Amir, and it didn’t need to be talked about. Thomas Foster speaks a lot about how to find a christ figure in a text, and even gives a list on what a christ figure may look like. Some that go hand and hand with Hassan are “Very forgiving”, “in agony”, ”self sacrificing”, “wounds in the hands, feet, side, or head” (Foster 14) Hassan of course is very forgiving, is self sacrificing, in many cases in physical and or emotional pain for others, and even has a cleft lip. Foster drives home the idea that christ figures are where you find them, and as you find them. And that the parallels are done to give us a new, deeper understanding of the sacrifices made by a character. Hassan is eventually killed in the novel later on over political warfare. Similar to Jesus who was killed because others didn’t have the same beliefs as him. Though Hassan didn’t rise from any grave, there is very substantial evidence that Hassan is a christ figure.
The text Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is based in the year 2540 in London, England. The novel is about a dystopia. Everyone is finally happy, there is no conflict in basic society, and you are accepted no matter what. Though it sounds perfect, it is all artificial. The government controls almost everything. Everyone is joyful because of a drug called ‘Soma’, Soma gives people euphoria, and an overall happy state. The character John is brought into London from a reservation in New Mexico, where London’s society may seem them as savage, or primitive, as they engage in relationships, and more old societal norms. John is an interesting character because he is into literature, which is banned in the dystopia, along with history and religion. John has christ like qualities as he tries to save the people of London by attempting to get rid of their soma supply. He eventually causes a riot and is kicked out of London, and chooses to go to a lighthouse in solitude, where he eventually dies. John’s christ qualities are not as fluid and visible as Hassan’s. John isn’t as innocent, or passive as Hassan. John angrily tries to get rid of the soma, but it is still trying to save the people of London from their government. Some qualities that John exhibits from Foster’s christ qualities list is “Known to have spent time alone in the wilderness”, “unmarried, preferably celibate”, “sacrificing yourself in some way for others (your life is best, and your sacrifice doesn’t have to be willing)”, and “in agony” (Foster 14) John is unmarried, is in emotional agony from not fitting in with this society, as well as his mother dying while he was in London, as well as sacrificing yourself in some way for others, as John was even kicked out of London for trying to get rid of soma supply and eventually starting a riot. When kicked off the island, John chose to be in solitude alone on an island with a lighthouse, which is his “Known to have spent time alone in the wilderness” (Foster 14) John is interesting because though he is not a direct parallel to Jesus, he still includes enough qualities of sacrificing and thought of others to be very similar, and in Foster’s book, a christ figure.
Thomas Foster gives us a lot of examples of how to find a christ figure, when a christ figure is present, and what a christ figure is. With this information we can find that the authors Khaled Hosseini and Aldous Huxley both include very direct parallels between their characters Hassan and John to Christ. This is done to give a further understanding of the characters sacrifices made, and to give us a more emotional understanding of what they are doing, whether that be good or bad in the readers eyes. Overall we can find that christ figures are where you find them, and how they are related to christ in the readers eyes, as not all actions may be seen as good or sacrificial for the better. And that Khaled Hosseini and Aldous Huxley do a great job of representing their characters with biblical influence to give readers a deeper understanding of the sacrifices made by the characters for their view of he better good.
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