Hanif Kureishi’s “My Son the Fanatic” is the story of two competing beliefs between a father and his son: Ali’s passion for anti western Islam, and his father Parvez’s dream of providing for his family. Both father and son have different views on how to live life, and the idea of religion. Kureishi explores the themes of, religion, fanaticism, and a father’s love for his son. The protagonist Parvez, an English Punjabi taxi driver, has adapted to a new way of life so much so that he eats pork, a forbidden food in Muslim religion. Parvez was very proud of his son, and his academic accomplishments and often talked about him to his colleagues. One day, Parvez was going through Ali’s things and ...view middle of the document...
Parvez seems to just want to fit in with other people in Britain, and tried to create a happy, loving environment for Ali.
Parvez was very close with his son, and even considered their relationship like one between brothers. He seemed to live through his son, and in turn had a lot of dreams for his son to achieve. Ali, most likely trying to satisfy his father, got straight A’s, played cricket, football, and swam. He also had a lot of friends and a girlfriend; he was living his father’s English dream. Parvez started to notice a change in his son and begun digging for more information.
What bewildered him was that Ali was getting tidier. Instead of the usual tangle of clothes, books, cricket bats, video games, the room was becoming neat and ordered; spaces began appearing where before there had been only mess. Initially Parvez had been pleased: his son was outgrowing his teenage attitudes. (2-7)
It was discovered that Ali became interested in becoming an Orthodox Muslim, and gave all of his possessions away. He gives away his books, toys, and clothes trying to neglect material items and western culture. Ali changes his personality, and separated from his friends and girlfriend. Parvez did not understand why Ali made such a change from the way he grew up. It was clear that Parvez was not an orthodox Muslim and it makes the reader wonder why Ali would be come one. Although Parvez did not understand his son, and felt like he no longer knew him he still loved him. Parvez decided to try to revive their relationship since he desired “more than anything” to know why Ali’s behavior changed. It was clear that Parvez wanted to try to rekindle the relationship with his son; however, “to Parvez’s surprise, the boy refused to accompany him. He claimed he had an appointment.” (154-155)
The father and sons relationship has a huge impact on the reader. Parvez moved his family to Britain most likely for a better life. Throughout the story it becomes clear that the relationship between Parvez and Ali is no longer a good one since they do not understand each other. He thought that his son would excel in school, play cricket, get an accounting degree, “a good job,” and marry the right girl. The conflict arises when Ali completely abandons his father’s wishes. Ali broke up with his English girlfriend, and completely threw away school and any chance of being an accountant. Parvez starts to look deeper into his son’s secret life and notices that Ali was giving his belongings to charity, and that Ali was praying five times a day.
Parvez decides to go out to dinner with his son and talk about things. At the restaurant Parvez drinks a lot of alcohol, Ali criticizes his father “Parvez knew he was getting drunk, but he couldn’t stop himself. Ali had a horrible look, full of disgust and censure. It was as if he hated his father.” (192-194) Throughout dinner Ali continues to condemn his father for not following the Koran. This seems to be the point when Parvez finally gave...