My Son the Fanatic

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My son the fanatic

Growing up with teenage attitudes and not having a role model around can make it difficult to be loved. The short story “My son the fanatic”, by Hanif Kureishi is set in 1997 in England. Ali has no one to look up to – He starts as an attentive scholar who got straight A’s, but turns into a dedicated Muslim, which gives Ali the opportunity to find it in his religion.

We get to know Parvez, who is a Pakistani immigrant in England. He had an indignant experience with Islam back in the days when he lived in Pakistan, but is no longer convinced about it and believes it’s bad – “This is England, we have to fit in… p. 197.” He has been a taxi-driver for twenty years and been working for the same firm. He lives with his wife and son Ali, who’s been acting strange lately. Parvez wants to know what he is doing wrong, and why Ali had given up sports. In the beginning Parvez thinks Ali is doing drugs, without finding any evidence. He wants his son to get a good education, marry the right girl and start a family. He doesn’t tell his wife about the drugs, but instead goes to Bettina the prostitute he had known for three years. She’s a prostitute who Parvez talks to about his life at nights while he is at work. He trusts her and confesses things he’d never been able to discuss with his own wife. He also seems to like her more than a friend and gives her a drive home when she needs it. Ali tells his father he is breaking the rules of the Koran, because he is drinking whisky, which he does very often, even when he’s at work. Parvez got very surprised that Ali is sticking to the Koran. He can no longer recognize his own son and wants to know what got him into this way. Parvez also likes crispy bacon, which is also forbidden – “Parvez couldn’t deny that he loved crispy bacon…p. 197.”

As a matter of fact, Ali is very religious and prays five times a day “When he was at home, he prayed five times a day… p.196.” He sticks to the Koran, which is...
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