Ali

Here, you can find the characterisation of Ali, an important character in “My Son the Fanatic” by Hanif Kureish…

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Outer characterisation

At the beginning of the story, we learn that Parvez is looking for clues as to why Ali’s room is starting to become tidier. At first, he interprets this as a sign of Ali “outgrowing his teenage attitudes”. Also, Ali is studying to become an accountant and he is preparing for college exams. Through these details, the writer constructs Ali’s outer characterisation: Ali is a young man, probably in his late teens or early 20s who, as Parvez notices, has started gro…

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Inner characterisation

The detail about growing a beard, however, also contributes to Ali’s inner characterisation, as it alludes to his recent devotion to the Muslim faith. Although growing a beard is not obligatory under Islam, it is sometimes considered a sign of devotion, as it imitates the Prophet Muhammad, who is believed to have had a beard. Ali thinks it is important – this is shown when he asks his father why he does not have a beard or a moustache.

The nature of Ali’s change in behaviour is not immediately stated. However, he is shown giving up his material possessions and later praying five times a day. He also breaks up with his English girlfriend, and his friends stop calling him. This indicates that he is distancing himself from the material (implicitly Western) world and becoming focused on spirituality.

Note, however, that by giving up his items, his hobbies, his girlfriend, and even the pictures on his wall, he is also giving up his individuality. This is emphasised by Ali himself, who remarks that there are more important things than playing guitar…

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