My Son the Fanatic

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My son the fanatic

The generation gap is a dilemma which frequently occurs among immigrants, and in his short story My son the fanatic, Hanif Kureishi brings up the issue concerned. Kureishi introduces us to a father, who’s alarmed and puzzled by his sons’ strange behavior, which proves out to be against his own values. During this, Kureishi touches on the topics fanaticism and religion, and how these can change ones behavior towards ones family. Kureishi also focuses on how people relate to their roots.

The main character in the story is Parvez, who’s a good example of an immigrant being well-integrated. He emigrated from Pakistan, where he was taught the Koran. He underwent indignity during this, and subsequently he avoided all religion; he even prefers jokes to rules. Even though he has a wife and a son, he spends most of his time “living a boy’s life” with his fellow taxi drivers; playing card and avoiding their wives. The narration of the story is 3rd person narrative and is therefore limited, but we see the conflict from Parvez’s point of view, which engenders surprises. “Parvez sprang across the hall and set his ear at Ali’s door. A muttering sound came from within (…) The boy was praying.”(l. 130-134) Besides eating bacon and playing cards, another example of Parvez not being very Muslim is that he knows a prostitute, Bettina. Together they have deep talks; something Parvez wasn’t able to have with his own wife. It is also Bettina who helps Parvez figuring out what’s going on with his son, f. ex. “He knew what to look for: Bettina had drawn pictures”(l.103-104) and “Reluctantly he and Bettina had abandoned their only explanation”(l. 118-119)

“Surreptitiously, the father began going into his son’s bedroom”(l. 1). As early as the first line, the story pictures a father (Parvez) who struggles with something. Ali, the son of Parvez, acts differently and queerly, and his new tidy conduct scares Parvez who “was aware that he had become slightly...
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