Hideous Kinky

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"Hideous Kinky" by Esther Freud
An analysis of the relationships between the protagonist and her family

The novel "Hideous Kinky" by Esther Freud was written in 1992. It is a story about a mother who travels to Marrakech, Morocco with her two daughters. The three of them live in several places around Morocco, meet various people and experience ups and downs. In this essay I will analyse the relationships between the protagonist and her sister, mother and father.

The protagonist has a close relationship with her older sister Bea. They keep each other company in the new environment they are forced to live in. They tell each other stories, play games they invent themselves, wonder around and sing songs. Since Bea is older than the protagonist, she is a role model for her younger sister. She does everything before her sister and thus shows the younger one that it is safe and encourages her to do the same. But at the same time Bea takes advantage of being older. For example she gets to choose presents first or she makes the games they play unfair so that she will always win. Thus the protagonist feels she is not as fast, flexible or smart as her sister. But despite the tinge of inequality, their friendship is crucial to survival in Marrakech.

The mother and the protagonist love each other very much, yet their relationship is not very close. It is questionable, whether she is a good mother to her children. She has brought them to an unfamiliar place and does not think of their education or wellbeing. They live in sordid places and sometimes have no money for food or rent. She ignores that the protagonist is lonely and misses England. The mother does not pay much attention to her children and instead hooks up with various men and pursues spirituality. She does not take into account that her children are ashamed of her praying in the middle of the street and that the protagonist pleads her not to be a Sufi. She even occasionally forgets that she is a grownup...
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