Identity Crisis

Topics: Fiction, Sociology, Culture Pages: 3 (823 words) Published: February 18, 2014
Identity Crisis
Hanif Kureishi’s short story “My Son the Fanatic” is an exquisite piece about a Pakistani father-son relationship and their conflicting ideas regarding their identity. Set in London, the story follows Parvez, a hardworking taxi driver that emigrated from his native country to London, England twenty years prior in hopes of providing a better life for him and his family. Parvez finds it easy to assimilate to western culture by drinking alcohol and eating “pork pies”. His son Ali, however, soon traces his roots back to fundamental Islam and refuses to adapt this new culture. In this story, Kureishi examines the contradictory opinions of British culture between father and son. Through the actions and dialogue of the main characters, Kureishi delivers his message regarding the struggle of adapting to a new society and uses his writing style to provide his opinion on the situation.

Most of the story revolves around the conflicting views of father and son. Parvez idolizes the British lifestyle and culture and wants his son to become a part of it. He wants Ali to “get a good job now, marry the right girl and start a family” (120). Making it big in London would please Parvez, “His dreams of doing well in England would have come true” (120). The father-son struggle soon starts when Ali starts to fray from his father’s dreams. Parvez goes through many hardships to assimilate into Western culture. He left his native country into a new land where he works day and night driving around a taxi in order to provide for his family. His lifestyle changes completely. However, Parvez does not mind this at all. He is somewhat blinded by his concept “Western Culture”. Ali, on the other hand, is sickened by his father’s love for his new way of life. He traces his roots back to Islam, a religion that does not allow him to enjoy the social and cultural aspects of British cultures, such as drinking or eating pork. Kureishi uses this central conflict to explain how...
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