After reading the short story by Hanif Kureishi, “My Son the Fanatic”
we were asked to answer the following questions.
1. What prevents Parvez from communicating directly with his son?
He is afraid of confronting him, and finds it easier to find the answers on his friends, who speculate on possible situations that the son might be going through, which results in the worst. They prejudge him.
2. What is Parvez’s dream for Ali’s future?
He wishes his son to become an accountant to fulfill his bigger dream that is to fit in the English society.
3. How would you describe the personality of the following characterize:
self-centered, cares a lot of image or reputation, idealistic, doesn’t have a paternal image, etc.
fundamentalist, able to do anything in order to transmit his religious beliefs, even sacrificing his life and other innocent ones.
She is a prostitute, who tries to help and give advice although she doesn’t have children.
She interferes in Parvez and Ali relationship which might not be the best option, as it weakened their relations.
4. How would you describe the following relationships?
a. Parvez and Ali at the beginning of the story
They are strangers. They live under the same roof but barely know each other. Parvez had an idealistic son but Ali showed him that he was not who he thought.
b. Parvez and Ali at the end of the story
They finally revealed their true self at each other and derived in a serious conflict, which even involved violence.
c. Parvez and Bettina
They support each other and provide company and advice. They also were involved in a sexual relationship.
d. Parvez and his coworkers
They do not have enough confidence to show themselves as they really are, and have a superficial relationship.
e. Parvez and his wife
We don’t know anything about their relationships. They don’t share anything more than a son, to whom they didn’t have a relationship either.
5. What advice does Bettina give Parvez?
To talk to him, listen and find the true side of him. Understand his teenage mind, who is going through a temporary face in his life that with time will go away.
6. What memory from Pakistan haunts Parvez?
It is a memory about his childhood when he went to school where they forced to learn the Koran, even when tiredness conquered them. This strict and insistent measures made him walk away of any type of religion.
7. What rules does Ali criticize Parvez for breaking?
Drinking alcohol & eating meat
8. Why does Parvez like England?
Because they have access to anything they want there, and doesn’t have to follow any religious beliefs that condition their lives.
9. Why does Ali hate London?
Because he believes that western education cultivates an anti-religious attitude.
10. What was the “last straw” that led Parvez to violence?
When, after having excessively drunk, goes to Ali’s room and finds him praying, after all that have happened.
11. What does Ali mean in the last line of the story?
By saying that, he intends to say that he is no longer the only fanatic. His father has shown that he is so caught up in his ideology of adapting that his son.