My Son the Fanatic

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In Hanif Kureishi's "My Son the Fanatic", Parvez loses his relationship with his son to a religious cult, but is then faced with a bigger problem of alcoholism. It begins as a father-son-brother relationship but then ends as a stranger-to-stranger relationship. Parvez no longer knows who his son is and feels as if he has lost him, which begins to drive him mad and turn to whiskey as an escape. In the attempt to understand Ali's, the son, new philosophy of life Parvez instead pushes Ali even farther away from a father-son relationship. Their cultural and religious differences cause Parvez to get drunken one day and beat Ali. All Ali says to his father is "so who is the fanatic now?" (700). Kureishi projects through this story the idea that parents focus so much on their children's problems that they start to lose sight of their own problems, which prevents them from fixing any problem to begin with. The main character of this story is Parvez. He is a man who has adapted to the British culture, and is happy with his free-will life. His life consisted of working at night, sleeping in the day, and providing a decent living for his family. Parvez then finds a glitch in his family, "everything is going from his room [Ali]. And I can't talk to him any more. We were not father and son- we were brothers! Where has he gone?" (694). At this point Parvez accepts that there is something going on in Ali's life and knows he is no longer included in it. He views this as a problem and wishes to fix it. When Parvez realizes that Ali has found a liking to the Islamic religion he tries to understand Ali's new infatuation, but fails miserably because of their points of view in life, and what is wrong and right. Although Parvez is determined to tie relations with his son again, " he was now willing to pray, if that was what the boy wanted" (697). At the same time he notices he has another problem, "he went more to the whisky bottle…he realized it was imperative to...
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