One of the most significant influences of the human race is the government’s impact on society. For example, when a war is declared, many civilians are called to leave their families behind and risk their lives in order to fight for their country. Since the dawn of civilization, many people all over the world have faced similar situations in their nation. Certain characters from Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus share parallel experiences because of the various political conflicts brought upon their countries. Political issues affect their personal lives through family displacement, death, and psychological trauma.
War often causes the destabilization of a government and this in itself can result in families being forced to emigrate. In The Kite Runner, when the Soviets invade Afghanistan and life becomes too difficult, the main character Amir and Baba flee the city of Kabul and move to America. For instance, Amir thinks to himself, “You couldn’t trust anyone in Kabul anymore – for a fee or under threat, people told on each other…” (Hosseini 118). He also says, “…it should be a matter of a couple of short days… then we’d be on our way… on to freedom. On to safety” (Hosseini 126). The Soviet invasion causes people to betray their fellow countrymen as they are threatened and reproached by Soviet soldiers and authorities.
As a result, this causes Amir and Baba and many others to flee the new and unsafe Afghanistan. Similarly to Baba and Amir’s migration in The Kite Runner, a single parent family in Purple Hibiscus has no choice but to move as well. Aunty Ifeoma and her three children are forced to immigrate to America after she gets fired from her job and has no money to support her family. “They have given me notice of termination…For what they call illegal activity. I have one month. I have applied for a visa at the American Embassy” (Adichie 261). Aunty Ifeoma is a university professor, and because the head officials believe she is involved with a student riot, they fire her. This causes her family to suffer more as her family is already in a dire state. Political stability therefore affects both Baba’s family and Aunty Ifeoma’s family, as both families must depart to another country so they can make an adequate living.
Another prevalent effect of political corruption is that many people lose their lives in both Afghanistan and Nigeria. In The Kite Runner, the innocent lives of Hassan and his wife are taken as a result of objecting to false government accusations. The Taliban instantly kill Hassan and his wife as they are shot for protesting against allegations stating that they are Hazara Muslims living in a house without a master (Hosseini 231). This false accusation and brutal solution portrays how cruel and discriminative the Taliban rulers are against Hazaras, a religious minority of Afghanistan. Citizens, especially ones who live under a totalitarian regime, unfortunately do not often get the chance to voice their opinions revolving around the decisions of their controlling government. Not unlike to the death of Hassan by tyrannical political rulings, death and political activity are interconnected in Purple Hibiscus. In Purple Hibiscus, the government delivers a parcel bomb to the Standard newspaper editor named Ade Coker for standing up to the corrupt government. The text states, “Ade Coker was blown up when he opened the package – a package everybody would have known was from the Head of State…” (Adichie 206). Ade Coker is one of the only people to have the courage to voice his disagreement with the fraudulence of the government. However, his bravery eventually costs him his life. As one can infer, one of the common themes of the two novels is the unfortunate reality that innocent lives are squashed by brutal leaders, who wish to destroy any and all opposition to their government.
Finally, psychological trauma is a major consequence of government decline as it affects the lives of all citizens. In The Kite Runner, Sohrab, the son of Hassan, has difficulty dealing with his parents’ death and erasing the memory of abuse, which causes him to feel distressed and become socially withdrawn. Sohrab is in the hospital when he tells Amir, “I want my old life back… I wish you had left me in the water” (Hosseini 373). Although Sohrab is a young boy, he evidently suffers much misfortune when he attempts suicide. The most blatant evidence of the cause of his deteriorated mental state is that the death of Sohrab’s parents and his abusers all come from the same source, specifically the Taliban officials. Just as Sohrab suffers psychological trauma in The Kite Runner, other characters also suffer mental distress in Purple Hibiscus.
The death of Ade Coker causes mental and physical deterioration to those who are close to him as well as the people who witness his death. Kambili’s father Eugene becomes slower in his movements and sometimes shouts senseless words amongst other concerns, whilst Ade Coker’s daughter stops talking for four months after her father’s death (Adichie 207, 259). The impact of Ade’s death caused by the government is so traumatic that people start to show signs of mental and physical trauma. As such, many people in both The Kite Runner and Purple Hibiscus suffer psychological trauma and react in different ways to the horrors they witness caused by political trials.
In conclusion, the result of forced family migration, the senseless death of innocent lives, and the mental derangement of others efficiently shows how government or political instabilities can forever alter the human conscience. The characters from The Kite Runner and Purple Hibiscus share many common trials because of government interjection. All around the world, there are many examples of human depravity because of the government’s reluctance to relinquish their power. Yesterday, today and tomorrow, the trials of innocent lives caused by their nation’s political dilemmas will continue to come, but perhaps there will be a day when all suffering will end.