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My Son the Fanatic - notes

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by

Helle Bergstein

on 24 September 2013

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Transcript of My Son the Fanatic - notes

Characters
- The prostitute

My Son the Fanatic - notes
Narration and point of view
Setting
Composition/ laguage and style
Themes and message
Identity
father-son-relationship
religion
Perspectives
Quotations
- The son (Ali)
From Pakistan.
He gets through a personal transformation
Before: English girlfriend, college, privileged.
After: Religious, wants to live by the Pakistani culture, does not want to drink, pray a lot.
My son the fanatic

The short story starts in medias res, because there isn’t any introduction - it starts with the father going into his son’s bedroom.

The ending is open, because you don’t know what’ going to happen - is the son going back to being English, or is he being kicked out and being a Muslim.

The short story is mostly chronological, but there is a flashback in middle/end of the story - Parvez is at the restaurant talking with Ali, and then he has a flashback, about a conversation he and Bettina were having. (p. 67)


The language is very simple - easy to understand
There are a lot of conversations between Parvez and Ali, and Parvez and Bettina.
The sentences are standard length - some are short, some are long
The language is informal - we get our information indirectly.

Humour: “Parvez was so annoyed and perplexed by this attack that he called for more drink”

In London. Two more detailed settings -1. At home 2. In the taxi.

“At home” – a regular working class environment. The frame of mind is depressed, since the relation between the family members isn’t that good.

“In the taxi” – more of a loose mood. Parvez opens up and shares his thoughts.

We can compare the text to our social studies class, where we have talked about identity. in the text we see that the son has a pure identity and the father has a creole identity. The text can also be in perspective to the text from English class "This is my England" because both stories are seen from a personal view and you get to hear personal stories, about identity...

The universal theme of the text is Islamism and what is right and wrong.
The film “Precious” where she’s get beaten and does not have any help from her parents.
In social studies we have heard about identity formation and secondary and primary socialization.

Just wants to fit in.
Wants the son to get a good education.
He is an alcoholic.
he is in denial -> feels guilty when the son confront him with him not being so religious anymore (friends with at prostitute, drinking a lot)
Works as a Taxi-driver

Characters:
Sympathy:
- we have sympathy for the father, because he tries to understand his son, but the son is not open-minded to his father’s religious choices. The son is judgmental, but the father accepts his son’s choice.

What motivates the father’s action:
- the son changes himself, all his stuff from his room is gone, he has become very religious, and the father misses the close relationship that they used to have and he wants to find out, why the son has changed.

What do the characters represent:
- The son represents the religious life, the father represents the free-spirit (he drinks and he eats bacon - he lives against the religion) - the father lives with a mix of two cultures. Bettina represents the tolerant.

Relationships:
- the father is married
- the father and the son

- The characters are described indirectly through their actions.

The father (Parvez)
The story has a 3rd person narrator, which is restricted. The narrator follows the Father Parvez. It is also his point of view we see in the story. The narrator does not tell about any of the characters' thoughts.
The narrator looks at the father in the same way as the father looks at himself. The narrators attitude to the son is seen through the fathers eyes and is the same as the fathers attitude too his son.
Full transcript