This study guide will help you analyze the short story “Weddings and Beheadings” by Hanif Kureishi. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it.
Presentation of the text
Title: “Weddings and Beheadings”, 2006
Author: Hanif Kureishi
Genre: Short story
Hanif Kureishi (1954-) was born in London and is of Pakistani and English descent. He is a successful writer and filmmaker, who has won multiple awards for his works. He deals with universal themes of contemporary importance, such as race, nationalism, and the harsh realities of parts of the Islamic world.
Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide:
The author’s message is not explicit, but we could interpret it as a way of drawing attention to the people caught inside a war zone, and how they are affected. In particular, the short story seems to draw attention to events in the Middle East. By presenting the story from the point of view of the character who films the beheadings, the readers are forced to face the perspective of normal people living inside active war zones, who are given no choices and have completely lost control over the situation.
Also, with this story, the author tries to show the readers their own reactions to the wars in the Middle East. The readers are implicitly Western, or, at least, leaving outside the war zones described in the short story. They encounter the events only through the news on television or on the internet, and they often attempt to distance themselves from the wars, unconsciously perceiving them as unreal, or at least as something that does not affect them.