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Hanif Kureishi: My son the Fanatic

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Andre H

on 3 March 2015

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Transcript of Hanif Kureishi: My son the Fanatic

reLationship between Parvez and ali
They had a good Father-son relation
Like brothers
Relation gets worse
Ali convert to a Muslim, is growing a beard and is praying five time the day
Parvez doesn´t recognize his son´s Islamic religion but he want to find out what´s the reason for Ali´s changing behavior
Ali does not accept his father´s way of life
Parvez doesn´t stick to the Koran

How to summarize a text?
Extremism and muslim Extramism
when people are disposed to go to the extreme, or hold extreme opinions
behaviour beyond the bound of what is considerd normal
word with negativ connotation
people are attracted to extramism because of certain characteristics; they feel powerless, insecure,they want a feeling of belonging and pride or tak part in a largr group identity

Diferent types of religious muslims
- It`s important to keep in maind that there are many types of islamic groups -

islamitc fundamentalism means:
the thought that the past is better than the present
the feeling, that that way of life is under attack by the modern world
the imitation of the prophet Mohammad and his life
less interest in politics

Hanif Kureishi: My son the Fanatic
How to write a characterization
A characterization is a description of all the features that make up a personality and its development. One can distinguish between two main methods:
direct (explicit) characterization: the reader is told about a character’s personality directly by the author, by another character or by the character him/herself
indirect (implicit) characterization: the reader is expected to draw conclusions about a character by studying his/her behaviour, opinions, choice of words and/or way of talking
Then collect the facts from the text and draw your conclusions about the person’s character! Look for…
name, age, figure, clothes, height, sex
language, nationality, general impression
social background, family, kind of friends, profession
what he/she does and says
his/her behaviour (e.g. toward other characters) and actions
thoughts, dreams, emotions, attitudes
what other people say/think about him/her

Move from the outward features to the inward features/nature when writing your characterization. Do not forget to work with the text by using text reference and give examples for your findings, especially when you are working on the last four categories mentioned above.

Basically present tense is used in characterizations.
Before you start working on your characterization find out how the character’s personality is revealed in the text. Possibilities:
through the narrator’s description of his/her outward appearance
through direct comments on his/her character
by what he/she does, says or thinks
by showing what other people think or say about him/her
Parvez is a Pakistani immigrant in England
He grew up in Lahore (p.1, l.121) and he has been a taxi-driver for twenty years (p.6, l.29)
Although Parvez was taught the Koran in Lahore (p.153 ll.21-22), his relationship to the Koran is very bad
He lives with his wife and his son Ali in Britain + he has assimilated into western society
A person Parvez likes very much is Bettina (p.8, l.76)
He used to have a close relationship to his son
When Parvez gets frustrated and when he has a problem he turns to alcohol, even when he is at work
The relationship between Parvez and his son breaks apart
Ali is the son of Parvez
Before he changes he was determined to finish his education and to become an accountant
He had an english girlfriend, got straight A´s, played the guitar and was a very good cricket player
He was born in England
In the past, Ali was on very good terms with Parvez, but Ali´s behaviour has changed
Ali started to become very rude and arrogant towards other people
He is going to give up his studies in accounting to work in prison
He has giving up sports , is getting tidier and is outgrowing his teenage attitudes
Furthermore he parts from his English girlfriend and throws his possessions out
His islamic religion lets him become arrogant which becomes clear in his behaviour to Bettina
Ali has a very close relationship to Islam (p.11, l.204)

Bettina is a prostitute and often a passenger in Parvez´s taxi. But Bettina and Parvez have also become good friends. She is the main support person in the story and tries to help Parvez.
She gives him a lot of good advice about how to reach Ali, but none of it seems to work.
After Bettina is offended by Ali and runs away, Parvez´s most important person (maybe after Ali) has been expelled.
Now Parvez listens no longer to the voice of reason and so he tries to communicate with Ali in the only language that a fanatic understands: Violence.
main Characters
On the Author
Hanif Kureishi was born on December 5th, 1954 in London as a son of an Englishwoman + a Pakistani
Since he grew up experiencing racial and cultural conflicts, most of his works are marked by this
His decision to become a writer was already made at a young age at which he began writing novels that were intended for publication
At 1972 Hanif Kureishi studied philosophy at the University of London
After a humble beginning as an usher for the Royal Theatre, Kureishi later became a writer in residence of the theatre
His first play, "Soaking Up the Heat", was produced in 1976 at London's Theatre Upstairs
He had a first great success with his second play, "The mother Country", for which he received the Thomas Television Playwright Award in 1980
But his breakthrough was his first play for the Royal Court Theatre,"Borderline".
But also with his first efforts in the film business, Kureishi was very successful + gained him a larger audience. "My Beautiful Launderette" for example, written in 1985, won several awards.
The story "My Son the Fanatic“ was turned into a film. It was first published in the magazine The New Yorker (1995)
His work is often set in London and is about social problems, especially those of immigrants and their families

Task 2: Summarize the biography

3. Start to write the summary:
The article “Writing a summary“, written by James Smith and published in 2013, deals with the most important aspects of composing a summary and gives several tips.
The poem “No longer winter” by James Smith was written in 1942 and covers the different facets of spring and the decline of winter.
The text “Never Ending” is part of a utopian novella, written by an unknown author. It was published in 1987and broaches the issue of a life without death.
write in your own words, quote only incredibly important sentences
write in prensent tense
no personal opinions,ideas, comments etc.
do not write more than ¼ of the original text

1. While you`re reading focus on the questions:
Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?

2. Take notes an highlight as you read. Try to structure the text for example with subheadings
Defining Islamism
Islamists want a theocratic state to resolve the social and economic problems by...
...influencing public opinion
...democratic means

About Jihadism
presents itself as the purest form of islam
an ideology of violence
global war without bounds
Task 3: Discuss which of these types ali matches
2nd generation conflict
Racism/discrimination because of different ethnic background
Isolation in certain housing areas, no integration due to lack of contact
Differences/difficulties between parents +children due to conflict between traditional and western lifestyle
-short story is a brief work of literature, usually written in narrative prose
-At its most prototypical the short story features a small cast of named characters, and focuses on a self-contained incident with the intent of evoking a "single effect" or mood.
-As a concentrated form of narrative prose fiction, the short story has been theorised through the traditional elements of dramatic structure:
exposition (the introduction of setting, situation and main characters)

complication (the event that introduces the conflict)
rising action, crisis (the decisive moment for the protagonist and his commitment to a course of action)
climax (the point of highest interest in terms of the conflict and the point with the most action)
resolution (the point when the conflict is resolved)
Because of their length, short stories may not follow this pattern
-Usually a short story focuses on one incident; has a single plot, a single setting, and a small number of characters; and covers a short period of time
-The modern short story form emerged from oral story-telling traditions, the brief moralistic narratives of parables and fables, and the prose anecdote, all of these being forms of a swiftly sketched situation that quickly comes to its point
Elements of a short story
The short story "My son the Fanatic", by Hanif Kureishi is about problems between Parvez, who is a Pakistani immigrant in England and his son Ali
The story deals with a father-son relationship + shows the problems of second generation immigrants in Great Britain
Parvez is a Pakistani immigrant who lives in England. He works as a taxi driver and has assimilated to Western ways of life.
Since Ali's behaviour has changed Parvez supposes that something is going wrong with his son
One night he talks with two freinds about his problems with his son + they come to the conclusion that Ali is taking drugs
taxi driver talks about his worries to Bettina, a prostitute who has become Parvez' friend
She advises him to watch his son more critically + to search for clues for his addiction
But although Parvez observes his son very strictly he cannot find any kind of hint about his son's addiction
But what Parvez finds out is that his son is growing a beard +that he gives his belongings away to charity shops
Furthermore Parvez notices that his son prays five times a day
So Parvez decides to go out with his son to talk with Ali about these things
But when they are in a restaurant, Parvez drinks too much alcohol so they begin to quarrel
Ali criticises his father because of breaking to many rules of the Koran and wants him to change his life
Later he also tells his father that he wants to give up his studies in accounting
Because Parvez thinks that he has lost his son + he cannot endure his son's criticism any longer he wants his son to get out of his house
But Bettina can convince him of trying to identify with his son + that he is even growing a beard to please his son
Furthermore he tries to talk to his son to tell him his attitudes of life
But Ali still despises his father because he does not stick to the Koran
When Parvez drives around Bettina with his taxi ->they meet Ali on the street + they stop and take him with them because Bettina wants to talk with him
But when she tells him that his father loves him, Ali only gets angry and begins to insult Bettina so that she leaves the car
Because Parvez now is very angry about his son he begins to drink when they arrive at home so that he finally goes into his son´s room to hit his son
The son reacts with only a question: "So who's the fanatic now?"
My Son the fanatic
Historical Background
British Pakistanis are citizens of the United Kingdom whose ancestral roots lie in Pakistan

-With a population of 1.26 million, British Pakistanis are the second largest ethnic minority population in the United Kingdom and also make up the second largest subgroup of British Asians. They are the second largest overseas Pakistani community, behind the Pakistani diaspora in Saudi Arabia.
-During the mid-nineteenth century, parts of what is now Pakistan came under the British Raj and people from those regions served as soldiers in the British Indian Army, and some were deployed in other parts of the British Empire

-it was following the Second World War, the break-up of the British Empire and the independence of Pakistan
-Pakistani immigration to the United Kingdom increased, especially during the 1950s and 1960s
- UK experienced deindustrialisation in the 1970s, many British Pakistanis became unemployed
-As a result, increasing numbers of British Pakistanis have resorted to self-employment.
- National statistics from 2004 show that one in seven British Pakistani men work as taxi drivers, cab drivers or chauffeurs
- The majority of British Pakistanis are Muslim;
-around 90 per cent of those living in England and Wales at the time of the 2011 UK Census stated their religion was Islam,
with the remainder belonging to other beliefs.
-The majority are Sunni Muslims, with a significant minority of Shia Muslims. The UK also has one of the largest overseas Christian Pakistani communities; the 2011 census recorded around 17,000 Christian Pakistanis living in England and Wales.

- According to research, certain sections of the British Pakistani community are the most highly educated and economically successful of all ethnic minorities in Britain, constituting an affluent middle class.

Problems of second generation immigrants in Great Britain
"Identity crisis" because they cannot decide between family values that might be influenced by Islam and urge to live a modern (western lifestyle)
face often problems with integration and adoption
they are torn between the modern western culture and the traditional native way of life
Thank you for your attention!
Task 1: My Son the Fanatic is a short story, isn't it? What is characteristic for a short story in My Son the Fanatic?
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