Writing Assignent:
List the main characters. For each character write a short, informative text describing his/her role in the story, qualities (personality traits), values, and relationships to other characters. Provide examples which illustrate the points you make by citing events or quoting text from the story. Be sure to include page numbers for each quote.


Parvez is the protagonist of the story "My son the fanatic" by Hanif Kureishi. He is a Pakistani immigrant and lives with his wife and his son Ali in Britain. He was born in Lahore, the son of Pakistani parents. Parvez is very open-minded and has assimilated into Western society. As a taxi-driver, drunkard, pork-eater and friend of prostitutes, he´s totally disinterested in the Koran or in any Islamic beliefs. His attitude to Islam is also affected by negative experiences as a child ("...all young boys had been taught the Koran and, to stop Parvez from falling asleep while studying, the maulvi had attached a piece of string to the ceiling and tied it to Parvez´s hair, so if his head fell forward, he would instantly jerk awake" P.192 L.13-16). In the past, Ali was Parvez´s best friend, and they talked about everything. So it's all the more tragic how their relationship breaks apart. After becoming anxious about his son, Parvez seeks Bettina's advice, because she is his main support person in the story. After Ali offends Bettina very harshly (and after many desperate attempts by Parvez to reach Ali), Parvez´s patience snaps. Parvez realizes that his son has become unreachable and so he hits him.


Ali, Parvez's son, was born in England and is studying there. In the past, Ali was on very good terms with Parvez. They were not only father and son, they were friends. But as Ali´s behaviour has changed, their relationship has fallen apart. We don't know just why Ali has changed, but it must have been a very big reason that would cause him to change so much. Ali´s statement, that he changed just through "living in this country" (P.196 L.3) is surely not the only reason. So we cant necessarily assume that Ali has always been as he is in the story (intolerant, blinkered, chauvinistic, ....fanatic). How much Ali´s beliefs are different from his father's is particularly well shown in the restaurant scene (P. 193 - 196). Here Parvez realizes, that it was premature to be"relieved" about his religious son.

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.