Compare and Contrasting Books Essay

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In the following essay I will compare and contrast the aspects of theme, character and symbolism from The Breadwinner, which is written by Deborah Ellis and The Refugee boy, which is written by Benjamin Zephaniah. Both novels are non-fiction and deal with war. Both themes are shown clearly, in The Refugee boy it is that life is hard but one should remain brave. For The Breadwinner the theme is that something bad can always happen, but one should not give up hope. In both novels the theme? s relate, since they both inform that life can become difficult but one should not give up hope and be brave.

Likewise they are similar since in both novels life changes very rapidly to the bad, but in both cases neither of them gives up hope. The only reason why they differ is because in The Refugee boy the theme is also there to inform about how people cope with being in a new country and new culture. While in The Breadwinner the story takes place in there home country, and there is no new culture to discover for Parvana. For example Alem was used to eat with the hand while in England this behavior was considered impolite. Another element of fiction supporting the theme would be Characterization.

Therefore the characters play a big role of supporting the theme. In The Refugee boy one can link the protagonist (Alem) and the theme, since Alem is a refugee and has to cope with it. A quote to support this would be when he talks to the refugee council, “My name is Alem Kelo. My age is 14. I am from Africa. I was born in the area called Badme. Some say this area is part of Eritrea and some people think that this area is part of Ethiopia… my country is in war” This shows Alem has no real home, has no parents and is a refugee in London, his life is hard but he remains brave.

The main character in the novel The Breadwinner supports the theme as well, since her life turns upside down but her hope dies last. A quote to support this would be after her father was taken by the Taliban, “Light the lamp, if they let father go he’ll need a light to guide him home. ” This clearly shows the hopefulness that Parvana has, and her not giving up. In both novels the protagonists remain calm, hope for the best and are caring. Both characters experience or experienced war and try to cope with it. The only reason why the novels differ is because Alem escaped war but Parvana did not, she experiences many onsequences of it while Alem experiences the consequences of fleeing war. Another element of fiction supporting the theme would be symbolism.

In much the same way symbolism is connected well to the theme. In The Refugee boy symbolism helps the theme, since it shows that Alem will have to stay for a long time in England. “Yes of course, Miriam said as she stood up, and when you’ve finished designing their new buildings, do you think you could design new offices for us? ” The setting of the story is symbolized as well, since there is no place where Alem stays for very long.

He was in the refugee council, from the he went to the orphanage and from there he went to a foster family. This symbolizes refugees have no home, but also links to the theme that life is hard but be brave. In The Breadwinner symbolism is shown through a falcon in the sky, which Parvana admires. Probably her deepest wish is to be free as the falcon but she cannot due to war. This links to the theme since due to war her life is hard but she does not give up that it will end, and that she will be free like the falcon. One can compare this since both symbolisms relate to war.

In The Refugee boy Alem will have to stay in England because of the effects of war and Parvana can’t be free like a falcon because war is keeping her like she was incarcerated. They differ from each other since Alem is practically free since he escaped war while Parvana is in the middle of it. Both novels have attention-grabbing and thrilling plots, however in both novels there is no resolution which lets ones imagination create an end. After comparing and contrasting the aspects of theme, character and symbolism in both novels, I have come to the conclusion that there are more similarities than differences.

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