Structure

The structure of the short story “My Son the Fanatic” by Hanif Kureishi includes literary techniques like foreshadowing and backstory. The characters portrayed are relatable, especially at the beginning of the short story, when the narrator focuses more on their father and son rol…

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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 n…

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Beginning

“My Son the Fanatic” begins in medias res because the narration starts in the middle of the events. The story begins with Parvez being worried about the changes in his son Ali’s behaviour, a process which had been going on for some time.

The narration begins with a backstory: “Surreptitiously the father began going into his son’s bedroom (…) rousing himself to seek clues.” . This suggests that the father began doing this at an unspecified point in time, progressively witnessing how “the room was becoming neat and ordered.”. Because the father is looking for clues, this is also a foreshadowing element which suggests that there is a mysterious reason for all the changes in the room.

As the exposition continues, the narrator explains that Parvez was initially pleased…

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Middle

The middle of the short story develops the rising action as Parvez confesses to his friends and looks for answers. Here, we encounter another backstory which tells readers that Parvez perceived the relationship with his son as very close: “And I can’t talk to him anymore. We were not father and son – we were brothers!” .

The men seem to understand Parvez, so he demands a clear answer: “ ‘Tell me what is happening!’ ” . This also marks a tension point in the story, as it creates anticipation for the men’s answer.

Parvez’s friends believe that Ali is taking drugs and is selling his possessions to pay for them. They advise Parvez to become vigilant and severe before the boy goes mad, kills himself with an overdose or kills someone else, an idea which terrifies Parvez and increases tension.

He leaves the office and finds Bettina, a local prostitute, sitting in his taxi. We encounter another backstory as the …

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Ending

The falling action begins as the narrator describes the aftermath of this event. Parvez and Ali remain silent on the way home. At home, Ali goes to his room, and Parvez is shown as unable to distract himself. He goes upstairs and starts walking up and down outside Ali’s room.

The ending of the story shows Parvez entering Ali’s room and attacking him: “Parvez kicked him ove…

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