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We're not Jews

This study guide will help you analyse the text “We’re not Jews” 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: “We’re not Jews”
Author: Hanif Kureishi
Published in: London Review of Books
Date of Publication: 1995
Genre: Short story

Hanif Kureishi (b. 1954) is a British author of Pakistani and English descent. He is mostly known as a playwright and screen writer, but he is also a novelist and author of short stories. He is considered one of the greatest contemporary British writers. He belongs to the literary movement we call postcolonial literature.

Excerpt

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Ending

In the falling action, Yvonne takes Azhar to a deserted field where is a public toilet. The woman stays there for a while, sitting on the toilet and trying to calm down before going home: “Then she sat there with her eyes closed, as if she was saying a prayer. His teeth were clicking; ghosts whispered in his ears; outside there were footsteps; dead fingers seemed to be clutching at him.”

At home, she tries to act normally and Azhar joins his father, uncles, and grandfather who are listening to a cricket match.

The resolution does not come to a clear conclusion but instead conveys Azhar's confusion regarding his identity. At school, he is rejected for being half-Pakistani. Yet, at home, he struggles with understanding his father’s culture:

Azhar was accustomed to being with his family while grasping only fragments of what they said. He endeavoured to make out the gist of it, laughing, as he always did, when the men laughed, and silently moving his lips without knowing what the words meant, whirling, all the while, in incomprehension. 

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We're not Jews

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