"My Son the Fanatic" is a short story by Hanif Kureishi about a teenage boy, Ali and his father, Parvez who are immigrants of Pakistan now living in England. The underlying theme is the struggle they face in a new society. There is a sharp contrast in the way Parvez and his son Ali deal with the sense of belonging and being a part of society. With all the compromises and losses Parvez suffers in his migration; he appears to take them as a part of his experience and adventure of life; to him it seems to be worth the price. On the other hand, his son Ali seems to have considerable anger and is not happy with his new lifestyle. Ali focuses his thoughts on the Koran, a Muslim form of belief that denies him the pleasure of society in which he lives. His past life, being devoted to this pleasure, is now spent in abstinence. Kureishi shows how living in a new society can cause one to lose fundamental family values and disrupt family happiness.
Parvez is static and also the central character. His attitude throughout the story lead to his loss of control and also suggests he does not change. Parvez does not realize his son has been concentrating on the Koran is actually trying to become a better person. Instead, Parvez focuses on Ali's unhappiness and anger towards his him and assumes there is something wrong with Ali. Parvez becomes so focused on his son's actions he chooses to ignore his own. On one occasion, Parvez expresses a loss of interest in original values when Ali sarcastically asks his father how much he enjoys the "pork pies", even though pork is unaccepted in their religion (696). In addition, Parvez disrespects his wife by ordering her to cook the pork. "You're not in the village now, this is England. We have to fit in!" (697). This statement suggests how he attempts to persuade his family to change their values only because of his personal interests. Ali also mentions his father has broken many other rules of the Koran since they moved to England.
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