The Constitution of Pakistanness in the Two Central Characters in Kureishi’s My Son the Fanatic

Agnes Setyowati Hariningsih, Erol Kurniawan


One’s cultural identity has constantly been a critically never-ending question, particularly in the context of immigration. To put it simply as an ‘essential’ entity can also be problematically uneasy. This research will analyze how the central characters (Parvez and Ali) in Kuresihi’s My Son The Fanatic construct their subjectivity by conducting a descriptive analysis and applying Stuart Hall’s concept of cultural identity. Parvez, a Punjabi immigrant father, spends his adult life assimilating into English culture and intentionally desires to leave his Pakistanness due to his bad past experience when living in Lahore. Meanwhile, Ali, born and raised in England, is obsessed to construct and reclaim his Pakistanness by devoting himself to radicalized Islam because of his negative experience being a Muslim in England. The research finding posits that in constituting their cultural identities, there are some complexities which cannot be separated from their personal experience. Besides, this also suggests a critical discussion about cultural identity that is mostly deemed ‘essential’ as well as eternally ‘fixed’. 


Cultural Identity; Subjectivity; Diaspora; Immigration; Pakistanness

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