The desire for love and the need for acceptance can create more than a feeling of rejection. In East of Eden and The Kite Runner, many characters find the task of love daunting and insufficient to their expectations. Love presents itself in every aspect of both novels and therefore is a major theme. Whether it was love from family or lovers, both novels explore the idea of unrequited love and its consequences on the characters lifelong journeys. The theme of love is a major underlying cause of many problems within East of Eden for it creates a feeling of rejection by family and lovers. The idea that love is blind becomes the center of revolution for the feelings between Adam Trask and his wife, Cathy. Steinbeck “explores the
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Amir’s “past shame continue[d] to haunt him” and therefore Soraya’s mishap hardly affected him (Hower 1). Love brought shame to these two people, but in their own ways. Soraya confessed whereas Amir felt that love would be lost if his secret became known, “[he] envied her” and her “courage” (Hosseini 165). Both East of Eden and The Kite Runner use love as both a blessing and a curse. Adam, though love caused him great grief, became blessed with two children that would one day mean a lot to him. Amir’s love was real and pure, but his shame became a greater burden than before because of that love.
A second similarity between East of Eden and The Kite Runner is that the feeling of rejection from unrequited love can cause wicked actions from the spurned lovers. When Caleb feels his father loves him less than he loves his brother Aron, Caleb unintentionally causes the death of his brother. Steinbeck uses “the story of jealousy and strife between siblings” as a basis for all familial relationships throughout the novel (Aubrey 1). Caleb “did a thing in anger…because he thought [his father] had rejected him. The result of his anger is that his brother…is dead” (Steinbeck 600). Caleb’s belief that he was secondary to Aron caused him to reveal the hurtful truth of his mother’s prostitution to innocent