Essay On Literary Depiction of Totalitarian Regimes

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Literary depiction of totalitarian regimes

Afghanistan was in the 1970s seen as an “unripe” country for any form of a revolution. This is something that then Prime Minister Mohamed Daoud tried, and it backfired badly on him in the long run. Afghanistan was a backward pre-capitalist society, which was non-aligned to any of its neighbors. There was always that sense of political statement in the country’s major organs, and the country also had tense relations with its neighbors such as Pakistan. The support that Mohamed Daoud had gathered stemmed largely from the left-wing in the country’s army. The centrist policy that he was trying to introduce is one that would ensure that dependence on the U.S and USSR is very minimal. However, Daoud failed to realize that he was drifting backward towards ancient royalist ways in his attempt to please the Pakistan government.

The situation was not made any easier by his move in 1977 to alter the constitution so he could get more power to reward his cronies. At this point, it was becoming evident that Afghan’s economy was failing drastically. The influence that Mohamed Daoud had on Afghan politics cannot be underscored. From a tender age, he was instrumental in shaping Afghan politics, and his authority was virtually unrestricted. He was notorious for following failed political reforms with major shake-ups, and it has been suggested that such moves considerably destabilized the government. Afghanistan is a country that has been ruled almost entirely by the royal family. This is a tradition that was maintained by Mohamed Daoud. He made it his leadership style to incorporate hostile propaganda in his sentiments. The failing leadership halted critical trade relations with its neighbors, and this jeopardized almost all economic developments. There was also rising ethnic tension, and this was jeopardizing any efforts to ensure peace. There was a need for reform and reaction, and this was also causing unprecedented tension the country.

More afghan citizens were increasingly becoming worried that a political future that is more stable is a luxury that they might never be witnessed. Consequently, mass migrations were witnessed from the country. The much-needed stability was taking longer than anticipated to be restored, and citizens were increasingly losing confidence in the ability of the government’s institutions to turn things around. Khaled Hosseini’s book, “And the Mountains Echoed” is set during this time. Particular focus has been placed on one family who has to struggle through all these hardship, as well as the uncertain life choices that await them. Despite all their tribulations, it is their strong family bond that keeps them together.

The tone of a passage can take on many different expressions. In these novels, the theme of family and the impact of war bring about passionate attitudes among characters. To effectively convey to the reader such significant topics, the tone is a good way for the reader to feel the mood of the passage. Because the main characters in these novels have suffered from emotional pain, nostalgia is what reminds them of happier times with family. The many years of war torn Afghanistan makes nostalgia a harder effective literary device.
Although in these novels, the characters still hold a love of their country as seen when Laila and Pari return for a visit. The novel is rich with moral ambiguity. Beneath the family ties lie deep ambivalence, resentments and disappointments, especially in the way the siblings relate. At one point, for the family to be saved, one child had to be sacrificed, and this further raises the question of whether the action was one of cowardice, courage or greater good. The story revolves around the tumultuous lives that the characters lived. Parwana, the children’s stepmother, releases herself of any familial duties in order to lead a life that she had always admired. Nabi, her older brother, has desires that only lead to the never-ending chain of betrayals. Pari, on the other hand, has a mother who is emotionally unstable, and her life doesn’t seem to make any sense. She is struggling to distance herself from Afghanistan’s disturbing memories.

The novel has a series of dislocations and abandonments with the family, and the complex relationships that exist between their homeland and the exile have been explored. There is an impressive analysis on children and parent’s relationships, as well as how the present can be shaped by the past. The limits of love in the family have also been explored commendably. The story seems to suggest that it is only through good family relationships that identity, class and language barriers can be cut through. In the gripping novel, there is no character that is immune to the impact that family relations have. There is, therefore, no doubt that a lot of emotional ground has been covered by the novel, and it becomes evident that the choices that individuals make can resonate through coming generations. This is obviously something that totalitarian regimes should pay attention to.

There are various aspects of totalitarian regimes as can be attested to by the novel. Before the family was forced to flee, there was ruling through fear in Afghanistan, dictatorship was employed, state criticism was prohibited, and there was also the development of a party that is nationalist. Within such regimes, all state aspects, ranging from cultural, economical, social and political are controlled by the state. The government, such as that of Afghanistan, had a limitless reach because all the power was placed in a single source. This power, it must be noted, is often political, and if misused could have untold consequences on future generations. Under totalitarian regimes, even rights that are meant to be unalienable are denied because the word of the state is final. Other negative aspects of such regimes include extreme idealism, intolerance, as well as scapegoating. This is something that the novel addresses conclusively through numerous examples that made life unbearable in Afghanistan for the family.

The novel not only covers children and parents; it also covers caretakers and cousins, as well as sisters and brothers. There is an exploration of the numerous ways in which family relationships can nature, sacrifice, wound, honor or betray individuals. It is at the hour of need, such as during clashes that these actions come to light. With every turn of events, the story becomes more powerful and emotionally complex. Human emotions across cultures that are diverse have also been depicted impressively. Just like in “ a thousand Splendid Suns”, the novel suggests that the ties that individuals have with their home countries cannot be broken completely. In all of the character’s minds, Afghanistan keeps resonating like a nostalgic yearning. The destruction of Afghanistan and the fractured relationships are all critical components of the novel. This compelling novel talks of how a single event, occasioned by poor leadership in totalitarian regimes, can change lives irreparably. Totalitarian regimes often engage in barbaric acts that can easily waste and compromise people’s existence.

Thalia and Roshi are the two characters who suffer most, especially given their emotional vulnerability. They are victims of terrible and senseless acts of violence that have directly been inflicted upon them. The books heart, however, is the separation of Pari and Abdulla, who are siblings. Other themes that also feature prominently include those of dependence, gratitude and guilt, although even these revolve around familial relationships.

Complex moral equations have been captured in a story that is devastatingly simple. One of the questions that stands out is the lengths that parents should go guard their children against the sufferings of life. The family saga that has been presented in the novel is one that is bittersweet, and it spans for more than six decades, and this further shows just how different generations are affected by it. It goes from Afghanistan, U.S, Greece and France. There is a gorgeous tapestry that is weaved by the novel where all the characters are either joined by threads of fate or blood. The family relationships not only show forgiveness and acceptance, they also show selflessness and selfishness. The complex iterations of love within family members have also been shown impressively. The sacrifices that family members undertake can have various ramifications in different generations.

A question that has often been asked is if literature can undo what has been done by war. This is the central question that the novel tries to answer. Afghanistan lies bruised and blistered by war. There is international meddling and local destruction, and this is riven by enslavements on micro economies that are foreign aid-fuelled. The story is emotionally gripping, especially in that it gives a poignant account of loss, love as well as how several families recover across several generations. The question that has been posed is what exactly connects individuals to their families. There are various factors that come to mind with regards to this. There is blood, proximity, home, the past as well as family. However, there is also the intrinsic need to know where we are headed to and where we come from. If the history of a population is taken away, therefore, that population might never be whole again.

It also becomes evident that as far as family dynamics is concerned, certain choices are easier to make compared to others. For instance, Saboor has to make a sacrifice by letting Pari be adopted. Numerous deep questions have been asked about the line that exists between wrong and right. From the interaction of the family members, it becomes evident that not all intentions create deeds that are good. It also becomes evident that all of life’s grand themes rotate around the family. Issues of sacrifice, love, duty, grief and conflict have all been depicted in depth. These issues, it must be noted, play out differently in different families. The story shows that different families have unique makeup, volatile antagonisms and dynamics. Families are the puzzles that might take up to a lifetime for them to work smoothly.

Brown, Helen. "And The Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini, review." The Telegraph (2013). Print.
Corner, Paul. Popular Opinion in Totalitarian Regimes: Fascism, Nazism, Communism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.
Hosseini, Khaled. A Thousand Splendid Suns. Toronto: Penguin Group , 2008. Print. And the Mountains Echoed. New York: Penguin Group US, 2013. Print.
Kakutani, Michiko. "Siblings Haunted by the Past, and by Afghanistan’s Cycle of Misery." New York Times (2013). Print.
Tasnim. "Book Review: And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini." Patheos (2013). Print.