The theme of growing up in The Great expectation is presented differently compared to The Kite Runner. In the beginning chapters of ‘Great Expectations’, we learn that Pip is an orphan with no friends and no caring family. We also see how poorly educated he is as he is unable to pronounce his own name “pirrip”. We also learn how Pip’s imagination and childhood naivety affect his take on life; although most of his family died, Pip does not treat this as a major catastrophe but instead this secludes him and makes him use his imagination even more. Through these opening accounts of Pip, we can instantly see that Dickens treats childhood as an isolated and formative period. Not only does this reflects Dickens’ own personal childhood, but this also shows how this experience of childhood only affects lower class people as they faced more difficulties in life.
Meanwhile during the beginning chapters of ‘Kite runner’ Khaled Hosseini introduces us to the Rich and selfish Amir who teases his servant Hassan. Although seen as best friends, the reason why Hassan is treated with undeserving respect by Amir is to show superiority due to their social classes. We learn that from a young age, Amir’s main goal in his life is to impress his father who is his greatest role model. However, his talent was only writing stories that his father could never read, instead he was criticized by his father for not being “Manly” enough, as machismo is a highly regarded trait. This may represent the fact that in Afghanistan it’s a social norm for the son to follow in their father’s footsteps as Amir’s father wants his son to carry on his name and business.
On the other hand The theme of growing up with ‘pip’ can be seen similar in the way Hassan was brought up as a poor servant who was loyal, forgiving, and good-natured. As a servant to Baba and Amir, Hassan grows up with a very particular role in life. While Amir prepares for school in the morning, Hassan readies Amir’s books and his breakfast. In addition to this we can also see how similar he is to Pip as we also discover how poorly educated he is. Hassan couldn’t read and Amir could. When Hassan asked what imbecile meant Amir replied, “Let’s see. imbecile.’ It means smart, intelligent, I’ll use it in a sentence for you. ‘When it comes to words, Hassan is an imbecile.’ The fact that Hassan believed him proves his naivety and poor education, this also symbolises the class difference between them as it shows that only Amir is educated because he can afford it.
Furthermore, we see the setting in which ‘The Great Expectation’ was set in is similar to Afghanistan in the way that both were going through a progressive state at the time. We see how social class is a major theme in both novels as it is clearly shown how both ‘Pip’ and ‘Hassan’ are lower class. Evidently, we see how Pip is treated by Estella as she makes fun of his appearance, his stature (social status) and how he speaks. She mentions his clothing and his thick-soled shoes. She repeats the phrase “common boy” when referring to him or even speaking directly to him. This is also very similar to how Hassan was treated by upper class boys around him such as Assef who calls refers to him as “Hazara boy” and a “ugly pet /flat nosed” He was not only lower in class and status, but also very different to them in physical appearance. This shows how both characters were bullied while growing up due to their difference in social class.