The book House of sand and Fog is a novel written by Andre Dubus III in 1999, it is about Colonel Massoud Amir Behrani who was a rich man in his country, Iran and now is a struggling immigrant who has many jobs and wants the best for himself and his family. Kathy Nicolo is an alcoholic, who lives in a house that is everything her father left. Colonel Behrani decides to invest in a property and plans to sell it for a higher price. Doing this, he will ensure the future of Esmail, his son. At the same time Kathy is evicted from her house by mistake and she finds shelter in a motel. During the moving process Kathy meets Sheriff Lester Burdon who falls in love with her. Colonel Behrani goes to see Mr. Walsh where she explains to him that Kathy didn’t owe her taxes and the San Mateo Country had made a mistake but he refuses to give the house. He decides to tell his son his affairs and Esmail says he feels sorrow for the woman who lost her house and the Colonel explains to him he had bought the property legally and if they could sell the house, if they were lucky enough, they would make a large amount of money that would be useful for his university but he needed to keep the secret because of his mother’s health. One day, Kathy goes to drink and being drunk parks her car in front of her house. Colonel sees the car and discovers Kathy is about to shoot herself. Colonel sees the car and discovered Kathy is about to shoot herself. Colonel Behrani and Nadi wait for Esmail who arrives and the Colonel explains him what had happened then Esmail sees the gun and his father explains to him what he can do with it. Lester realized that Kathy was in her house. He enters the house with his gun. Behrani’s family is scared and Lester leads them to the bathroom where they stay until Kathy wakes up. In the morning, Colonel Behrani tells Lester he will sell the house and they drive to the department to legalize the papers but before Lester takes out every bullet from his gun so Nadi could be calm. Behrani tells Lester he won’t do anything without his son and gets off the car. Suddenly, Esmail reaches the step of Lester and threatens Lester but surprisingly the police arrive and they shoot Esmail. At the hospital the Colonel is told his son is death and he drives back home. He offers tea to his wife and poisons it, after that she passes away and the colonel puts his uniform on and suicides by asphyxiating. Kathy feels resentment for having caused that damage.
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In these books, the lives of four boys are presented, Amir, Hassan, Sohrab and Esmail, all of them had different dreams like all children and teenagers do, but some of their dreams were spoil by factors as: raping, murder and social conflicts in their countries. Firstly I will analyze the familiar relationships as a determinant factor in the motivation of the children and the social conflict in their countries that spoil their dreams.
In House of Sand and Fog, Esmail of only sixteen was shy and taciturn but he had a dream; he wanted to attend the university and become someone important, someone who could fill his father’s expectations. Colonel Berani looked forward to buying a house and affording his son’s studies so, Behrani had to leave home very early and go back home almost at midnight.
Hassan, the son of Baba’s servant, also had dreams to accomplish. When Hassan was a little child he wanted to learn how to read and write, something not allowed for Hazaras who were just employed as servants. Hassan and Amir used to spend much time together and Amir used to read books for Hassan who attentively listened to him and always encouraged him to keep writing. Hassan admired Amir, because he considered him a friend and a noble child. Hassan was Baba’s son, but he was always considered as the son of Ali, a Hazara and a discriminated race. In that time, being a Hazara or a Patchi made a big difference, he didn’t have the right to go to school and nor to be educated. He was raped and nobody could defended him because he didn’t have the right to ask for justice. Hassan’s innocence lured him to be abused many times, his goodness and purity made him somebody unable to defend himself. However, Hassan was full of love and he had even been raped and accused of stealing but he never felt resentment.
Hassan learned to read and write and he also taught his son. Hassan wanted his son to never lived what he had lived when he was a boy but after his death, Sohrab suffered more than he, he suffered alone, without a mother or a father and with an immense fear.
Reading and writing stories, Amir found his real talent and he wished to be a great writer, but Baba never considered the writing a real profession. Baba always hesitated about his son’s skills. The lives of Amir and Hassan were almost similar, they grew up in the same house sharing everything, and genetically they were similar, Amir wanted to be a writer and Hassan wanted to learn how to read and write. I think, if Hassan had received the education Amir had, Hassan would have become an excellent writer too. It is important to state the maturity of Hassan, because he was more mature than Amir in many aspects. That’s why, when Amir accused Hassan for having stolen the watch he understood he didn’t want him to live in his house. Years later, when they got married, they wished for a baby. Amir and his wife couldn’t have a baby but Hassan and Hazara did.
In the case of Esmail, he had his mother but she was kind of immature, the same as the Colonel, they wanted to cover the appearances in order to keep their status. Colonel never told his wife and his son what was really happening with the house so, Esmail at the first opportunity took revenge and tried to shoot Lester, because he felt the responsibility of defending his family.
One of the important factors in the boys’ lives was their cultural background. In 1970 Iran and Afghanistan society began suffering countless abuses by the government and other political associations, so many people immigrated to other countries specially the United States. Baba had to flee from the Soviet invasion and Coronel Behrani because of the injustices of the SAVAC in Iran. Baba and the Colonel Benrani who once were important, wealthy and well-know men, knew, their lives were going to change totally and they were not going to be wealthy anymore. Living in United States, Colonel Behrani had the American dream and wanted Esmail to finish his studies, colonel knew they couldn’t go back to Iran for the political struggle and they needed to keep their status in a new country no matter how he had to work. Amir, as far as he was concerned, finished his studies and formed a family. He reached his dreams even though his father was not there to see his success. Meanwhile, when Hassan was alive he wondered about Amir’s life in the United States, so far from Kabul where everybody lived in danger. Hassan was murdered by the Talibans and they took his son to an orphanage where the story was repeated. Sohrab suffered multiple abuses in that horrible place.
I think, the relationship between father and son influenced on the boys’ personalities, In the case of Esmail, he was influenced by his father’s desires, Coronel Berani wanted to keep the house no matter if the house was auctioned by mistake. Esmail, kept very attentive to his father actions and he even felt shame for Kathy Nicolo, Esmail felt the necessity to protect his family and his house. Coronel Bernai, felt desperation after seeing his son’s body covered by blood and laying on the floor, he is fustrated for having involved his son onto his affairs.
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Even Hassan wanted the best for his son and did everything to change his son’s life but Sohrab was raped by Assef and by the Talibans. He was as innocent as his father but always abused by others and this is a cruel fact, a humble and good soul is always perturbed by evil beings. In this case we have the innocence of another child who after these hard experiences was taken to United States. He was alone there, only with an uncle that didn’t know him and who wanted to give him love, but how? he wasn’t able to receive love.
The loss of a relative is always hard and specially for a little child. Sohrab experienced that with the killing of his father and mother, Amir with the absence of his mother and the resentment for letting his friend get raped and Colonel Behrani’s fault for having involved his son in his affairs. If Coronel Berani’s had told his son about the auctioned house and the owner, his son wouldn’t have died. But, Children take the example of their parents even if they act in a wrong way.
Baba as a father never accepted Hassan as his son, because he had had an affair with a Hazara and this was not good for his social position. However he treated Hassan more as his son than Amir. He knew that, in deep in him, he had something of him, something that made him his son. Sometimes Amir realized and always thought it was unfair that Hassan had the admiration of his father and he was considered just a weird child for him. Someone important was Baba’s friend who always encouraged Amir to write and he used to explain to him why his father’s acts were like that. He gave him a notebook for his stories and it was him who took the role of his father and not Baba. With this reward Amir began writing and found his call.
Now, the question is why Amir could get everything in his life? He was a rich child in his country and even, his father, at the beginning never seemed to be interested on what he wanted to be and do. He became a writer and he was married with a beautiful and nice woman. In the case of Hassan, he could read and write but he never could be in peace because of the struggles in his country. If Hassan as Amir had escaped when the Soviets took Afghanistan, Hassan with his talent would have become as successful as Amir.
Nowadays children around the world suffer this kind of injustices and to be specific poor children suffer more, they are raped, they are exploited even by their parents and they are killed by stupid wars. Millions of children around the world dream, I have heard children saying they want to be professionals, like, doctors, ecologists, writers, singers, artists, singers, etc, they dream and hope this life will provide them everything to achieve what they want, but, some of them are disappointed, they have suffered a lot and they don’t have any dreams, they live as adults working without education and without love, they don’t dream because nobody has told them they can dream and they can change their lives. They don’t wait and they don’t hope for anything, they are like lights turned off. This is very sad because Children are the new generation, they will be the future of México, the United States and all the countries in the world. They have to dream and they have to achieve their dreams and as adults we need to encourage them. we need to motivate them to be great women and men. We need to avoid conflicts; we need to avoid wars that just spoil dreams. It is important to know that children come with innocence and the only thing children need is love. they need to be accepted, it doesn’ matter what race, it doesn’t matter what color their skin is, I doesn’t matter where they are, from a mountain, a big city, Oaxaca, Kabul or Vietnam. They have the right to be listened, the right to be loved. It is very selfish from our behalf that we just think about our own interests, it is absolutely selfish that powerful countries are just fighting and making wars for economical interests and they have to kill thousands of children. The innocence in the world is decreasing because the violence against children is increasing. Some children have lost their legs because of landmines in the Middle-East, many children don’t have anything to eat while big companies keep growing. But the sadest thing is that children are suffering because their parents don’t understand each other, it is sad that they, having their parents have to beg love. some of them don’t have way out, they are abandoned and they live in orphanages trying to find something that motivates them to dream and to change their lives. Children around the world need to achieve their dreams, they need to be happy and free.
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