My Son the Fanatic

In this study guide we will help you analyse the short story "My Son the Fanatic" by Hanif Kureishi. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective.

Presentation of the text

Title: “My Son the Fanatic” (1994)
Author: Hanif Kureishi
Genre: Short story

Hanif Kureishi is a British author and producer. His mother was British and his father was from Pakistan, but Kureishi was born in London. In 2008 he was included in The Times' list of best British authors since 1945.

The short story "My Son the Fanatic" was first published in The New Yorker in 1994. It was republished in the short story collection Love in a Blue Time, and it has also been adapted into a movie. The short story focuses on a cultural clash between a father and a son, who are both immigrants in England.

Excerpt

You can find a short excerpt from our study guide to the text below:

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 (p. 193, ll. 40-41). This shows that Parvez’s pride is initially stronger than the need to understand what has happened to his son. 

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My Son the Fanatic

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