Is the situation between the father and the son in "My Son, the Fanatic" by Hanif Kureishi a typical conflict in immigrant families?
There are a couple of elements at play here. On one hand, indeed, there is a generational antagonism at play here. Parvez and Ali are on opposite ends of the generational schism, but are also on the oppositional ends of the value spectrum. It is at this point where one can see that collision between both be a bit more than traditional "father/ son" dynamic. Consider the responses that Ali gives to Parvez. The assertion that Western studies is not as religious as Eastern studies as well as the dinner scene where Ali relates to Parvez that the father has sinned against the Koran in several ways. This might be generational, but given the spiritual dynamic of the critique, as well as the fact that the father's lifestyle and background have been ones that have devalued the role of religion and spirituality, it seems to indicate a collision of value sets at play. This helps to heighten the tension between them, to the point where the escalation goes beyond father and son. In the traditional generational gap situation, there is rejection on the basis of age and lack of insight into the other's condition. In the dynamic of Parvez and Ali, there is not only rejection, but repudiation on the basis of immorality and offense against God. That seems to move it to another level that goes beyond what would be typical "father/ son" dynamic. Finally, I would say that the fact that the son sells everything that is reminiscent of his past and, by extension, Parvez's present represents a level of opposition that makes this dynamic different than that of a traditional parent/ child configuration.
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