My Son the Fanatic

This study guide will help you analyse the text “My Son the Fanatic” by Hanif Kureishi. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on the summary, structure, characters, setting, narrator and point of view, language, themes and message.

Presentation of the text

Title: “My Son the Fanatic”
Author: Hanif Kureishi
Published in: The New Yorker
Date of Publication: 28th of March, 1994
Genre: Short story

Hanif Kureishi (b. 1954) is a British novelist, filmmaker, playwright, and screen writer of Pakistani and English descent. In 2008, The Times included him in their list of “The greatest British writers since 1954”.

The short story “My Son the Fanatic” was reprinted in 1997 in Kureishi’s short stories collection Love in a Blue Time and was also adapted into a film. The short story explores a father-son relationship in the context of a culture clash between the two.

Excerpt

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Title

The title of the short story “My Son the Fanatic” is straightforward and indicates that the story explores a father-son relationship and revolves around a son who, supposedly, is a fanatic. However, the title also has a deeper symbolic meaning.

Throughout the story, the narrator suggests that Parvez sees Ali more as an extension of himself than as an individual. For example, Parvez avoids talking to his friends about the situation because he is ashamed and afraid that they will judge him for being a bad father. This shows that Parvez’s pride is initially stronger than the need to understand what has happened to his son.

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My Son the Fanatic

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