Themes and message

The main themes explored in the story “My Son the Fanatic” by Hanif Kureishi are the conflict between generations, cultural differences, and identity. The writer’s message with the short story is not explicitly stated. However, the conflict between Parvez and Ali illustrates that cultural differences challenge relationships. Neither Parvez nor Ali has a clear identity – however, they are both convinced their perspective is the correct one. Moreover, Parvez’s radical beliefs ultimately turn into violence against his extremist son; this suggests that there are many ways of being fanatical.

Conflict between generations

This theme is explored throughout the story and is reflected in the relationship between Parvez and Ali. 

At first, we learn that Parvez is a father who worked very hard to provide his son with a good education and everything he might need to prepare for his profession as an accountant. Parvez wants his son to have this profession because it is well-paid and because he wants Ali to be able to start a family.

The story suggests that Ali followed his father’s plan for most of his life – he was a good student and excelled at various sports, making his father proud. However, something changes and Ali gives up on this plan completely. Instead, he focuses on his Muslim faith and becomes co...

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