Literary Analysis of My Son the Fanatic

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Literary Analysis of My Son the Fanatic

By | December 2011
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Literary Analysis of My Son the Fanatic

Written by Hanif Kureishi, the short story My Son the Fanatic develops through the conflict between a father and his son. In the story, the father Parvez who works as a taxi driver immigrated from Pakistan to England with his family twenty years ago. His son Ali is a college student in England. When Ali was behaving abnormally, Parvez’s suspicion led him to discover that Ali had turned into a religious Muslim. Parvez, although born as a Muslim, does not strictly abide by Islam rules. The father and son are holding different beliefs; hence they could hardly accept each other’s moral values anymore. Because the author told the story in Parvez’s point of view, it might be controversial that between Parvez and Ali, which character is on the right side. However, as the title of the story suggested, Kureishi, the author, clearly wanted to convince the readers that the son Ali is the fanatic, urging the readers to take Parvez’s side.

The author Kureishi, by no means, has depicted Parvez a perfect man. Parvez as a character has a lot of shortcomings: as a Muslim, he gambles; he drinks; he eats pork; he makes fun of religion representative--the local mullahs and as a husband, he tries to avoid his wife by driving the night taxi (Kureishi 61, 63). Some may argue that he has not been depicted as a good man or as a good father because those shortcomings, on the contrary, those shortcomings draw him closer to the readers. Parvez as a character had become so similar to somebody whom the readers might have known from their real life--a good man but with imperfections. Therefore, it is imaginable how easily could the readers relate to the character or even his problems in the story. Under Kureishi’s depiction, Parvez might not be a good Muslim, yet his morals were not totally compromised. For example, he saved Bettina, a prostitute from a violent client, he obviously has a clear standard on what’s right or wrong besides what is being...
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