My Son the Fanatic Questions and Answers
by Hanif Kureishi

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Why does the communication not function between Ali and Parvez in "My Son the Fanatic"?

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Although both would probably reject the idea, Parvez and Ali are too much alike temperamentally to be able to communicate well. At the same time, each is caught up in his own worldview and, because of the different ways they have experienced life, can't understand the choices of the other.

Parvez feels humiliated by the poverty he grew up with in Pakistan. He also found the way he was taught Islam oppressive and humiliating. A string was attached to his hair to wake him up if he drifted off while learning the Qu'ran. With such memories, he is glad to be in a country where he can earn a decent living, help his son get ahead, and enjoy the good things in life, even if they are forbidden by his religion. He has no sentimental attachment to Islam and is not a believer.

Ali, on the other hand, has grown up in England. The humiliation he experiences is not poverty or an oppressive religious climate, but the sense of being a second class citizen in the country he calls home. He also feels...

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