The Decline of the West
- Hanif Kureishi
Financial collapses changes the way of living for millions of people all over the world. In the short story “The Decline of the West” written by Hanif Kureishi in 2010, Mike and his family are represented as victims of the 2008 financial crisis (also known as the Global Financial Crisis). Mike and his family lives in a materialistic world in the modern western capitalistic society, to which they have lost the regularly known family values as for example love, trust and presence. Thereby the short story questions, which values in life are the most important, and also it deals with the individual collapses during the loss of these values.
“The Decline of the West” is primarily about Mike. He is a 45-year-old father and husband. He is married to Imogen, and together they have two sons, Tom and Billy. They live in a big five-storey house outside London. Mike is employed in the financial world, which cause that he works very late every day, and therefor it has been necessary to hire an au pair. But one of Mikes following problematics by hiring an au pair is, that the au pair is a much more reliable person in the house and for the family, than he is. And blindly he admits, that he envies her of being with his family, when he cannot. Because of his almost non-existing appearance at home, he has a complicated relationship to his family, which causes a lot of conflicts.
The short story is written in 3rd person narrator limited to Mike. This means, that the reader is introduced to Mike’s thoughts and inner feelings. This of course contributes to a moderate insight in their family life, because the reader gets to know nothing about what Imogen, Tom and Billy thinks and feels. The personal perspective also affects the reader to empathize with Mike, because he clearly is portrayed as a neglected husband and father. Imogen, Tom and Billy are, according to Mike, filled with ungratefulness, greediness and vanity. They have...
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