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About the short story "My Son the Fanatic" by Hanif Kureishi. Characterization, Relationship, Religion, Alternative Ending

by Jonas H. (Author)

Essay 2017 8 Pages

English - Literature, Works

Excerpt

Inhalt

1. Characterization of „Parvez“

2. Relationship between Parvez and Ali

3. Role of religion for Ali, Parvez and the story

4. Meaning of the last sentence

5. Alternative ending of the story

6. Example paragraph about Ali

7. Own opinion and „Tug for Truth“

My Son the Fanatic – Characterization of „Parvez“

In the short story “My Son the Fanatic“, written by Hanif Kureishi in 1994, Parvez is one of the two main characters. The centre is a conflict between Parvez and his son Ali caused by changes in Ali's behaviour. This characterization will focus on Parvez.

Parvez is a Punjab immigrant (l. 34) and life’s with his son (Ali) and his wife in London (England). He grew up in Lahore (l. 136), avoided religion and is now a taxi driver for twenty years, ten years he worked for the same firm. The other taxi drivers are Punjabis too and “preferred to work at night” when the roads are clearer and the money better (ll. 31-35). He work’s more than ten hours per day and never went on holiday (ll. 181-182) to spent “a lot of money (…) for his (Ali’s) education and accountant” (l. 23).

Parvez is confused and concerned about Ali, because of his changes. He does not sleep well and dinks more whisky than usual (l. 29-31). Ali give up old things and changed his way of life drastic. Therefore, Parvez begins to observe Ali and his environment (l. 1-6, 9). He fears hostility of the other taxi drivers when they know about his problem with Ali because boast with the success of his son (ll. 40-50). One night he ceases this silence. “I cannot understand it! He burst out.” (l.54) and “I can’t talk to him anymore. We were not father and son – we were brothers” (l.55-56) shows the problematic situation in this relationship. Parvez seems so be very tired about this. He doesn’t speak to his son but to the other drivers. At the end, he thinks that Ali is buying drugs and sells his stuff to pay for them (l. 63-69). That shows how much he doesn’t know about his son, because he is drinking so much and sleeps during the day. He talks with everybody about this problem, but not with his son himself, after he observed him for days (l. 82) especially with the prostitute Bettina who he knows for three years (l. 79). Parvez finds out that Ali is praying and relies to the Koran. He does not drink alcohol and does not eat pork. This is expressed in a conversation in the restaurant. Parvez is getting drunk and have a conflict with Ali.

Though he is drunk, he is driving home with Ali (ll. 168-260). The relationship seems to be destroyed, because Parvez don’t know the problem with this son. “But what I object to is being told by my own son that I am going to hell!” (l. 266-267) shows this very good.

Parvez would do everything to win Ali back, he is willing to pray (l. 264), is growing a beard (l. 306) and dispensed alcohol (l. 304). At the end of the story, Parvez is drunk (l. 382) (caused by a conflict between Bettina and Ali (ll. 350-378)) and beat Ali until his face is bloody (ll. 388-390). The story finally ends with the words: “So who’s the fanatic now?” (l. 392) from Ali.

All in all, it is said that Parvez loves his son very much. He tries to keep Ali on the right side of life but he fails to do it right. He changes from a good father to one who beat his son when he is drunk. Instead of talking to him, he relies on advice from people who do not know his son. That's why he seems to lose his son.

My Son the Fanatic – Relationship between Parvez and Ali

In the short story “My Son the Fanatic“, written by Hanif Kureishi in 1994, Parvez and Ali are the two main characters. The centre is a conflict between them, caused by changes in Ali's behaviour. This text will focus on their relationship.

Parvez observed his son for many days (l. 82), because his son changed his behaviour very fast and drastic. He throws old toys, computer disks, video tapes and books away and parted from his English girlfriend (l. 8-13). He is also getting tidier (l. 3). Parvez is very desperate and starts drinking more whisky (l. 28-30). That shows how much Parvez loves his sun but equally that he has no courage or don’t know how to speak to Ali. This is the beginning of a big break between Ali’s and Parvez’ relationship. He doesn’t speak to his son but to the other drivers and Bettina, the prostitute (l. 63-69). This underlines the “break”. “I can’t talk to him anymore. We were not father and son – we were brothers” (l.55-56), Parvez compares the relationship with brother’s relationship. Brother’s argue more often and talk unshakably. Besides, many cannot suffer and avoid one another.

He thinks that Ali is buying drugs and sells his stuff to pay for them (l. 63-69). The relationship is thereby further shaken. We only learn something about Ali's relationship in the conversations with his father which will be performed later. We learn there that Ali turned to religion and the Koran. He thinks that “the Western materialists hate [them]” (l. 222) and Ali cannot understand why his dad loves London and the Western civilization (l. 223). Ali would give his life for the jihad and he thinks that we “will be [rewarded] in Paradise” (l. 234-240). Parvez tries to win his son back by stop drinking alcohol and growing a beard. But Ali didn’t notice that (l. 304-307). The conflict escalates through an argument between Ali and Bettina (l. 350-378). At the end of the story, Parvez is drunk (l. 382) (caused by a conflict between Bettina and Ali (l. 350-378)) and beat Ali until his face is bloody (ll. 388-390). The story finally ends with the words:

“So who’s the fanatic now?” (l. 392) from Ali.

The relationship is here finally broken. Parvez beat his son and doesn’t win anything.

He lost his son and destroyed the family with this.

My Son the Fanatic – Religion

In the short story “My Son the Fanatic“, written by Hanif Kureishi in 1994, Parvez and Ali are the two main characters. The centre is a conflict between them, caused by changes in Ali's behaviour. Ali turned to religion and the Koran. This text will focus on which role religion plays for Parvez and Ali.

Parvez grew “up in Lahore where all the boys had been taught the Koran (l. 136). He is now a taxi driver for twenty years, ten years he worked for the same firm (ll. 31-35).

He is integrated and loves his new home, London (l. 253). He drinks alcohol and eats pork (l. 212, 29). This fact shows that religion doesn’t plays a big role in Parvez life. He avoids religion because a Maulvi humiliated him when he studied the Koran. The Maulvi “had attached a piece of string to the ceiling and tied it to Pervez’s hair, so that if his head fell forward, he would instantly awake” (l.138-140). He has not only averted himself from religion, he also made fun of it (ll. 141). His son is quite different.

Ali turned to religion and the Koran, don’t drink alcohol or eat pork and parted from his English girlfriend. The prays five times a day and study the Koran. He thinks that his father will go to hell with his lifestyle (l. 266). Ali cannot understand why his dad loves London and the Western civilization, he thinks that they hate him and his father (l. 223).

He would give his life for the jihad and thinks that he would be rewarded in Paradise.

It is clear that Parvez and Ali have different a point of view. But religion is quite important for the whole story. That topic a current one and many families.

My Son the Fanatic – Last sentence

In the short story “My Son the Fanatic“, written by Hanif Kureishi in 1994, Parvez and Ali are the two main characters. The centre is a conflict between them, caused by changes in Ali's behaviour. Ali turned to religion and the Koran. This text will focus on the last sentence: “So who is the fanatic now?” (l. 392).

Parvez thinks that his son Ali is fanatic because he would give his life for the jihad and he thinks that the jihad will reward him in Paradise (ll. 234). He turned to religion and the Koran, don’t drink alcohol or eat pork and parted from his English girlfriend.

This fanatical thinking can also be found in our modern times; example: “ISIS”.

But Ali means something else. His father did not speak directly to him and he has increased himself in conjectures. This led to extreme mistrust and dispute between Parvez and Ali.

[...]

Details

Pages
8
Year
2017
ISBN (eBook)
9783668444430
File size
489 KB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v364547
Grade
2,0
Tags
about fanatic hanif kureishi characterization relationship religion alternative ending

Author

  • Jonas H. (Author)

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Title: About the short story "My Son the Fanatic" by Hanif Kureishi. Characterization, Relationship, Religion, Alternative Ending