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Representation of Islamic Fundamentalism and Dilemma of Multiculturalism in Hanif Kureishi’s My Son the Fanatic

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2017, 30(2), pp.95-118
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

KIM, YOO 1

1성균관대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the 1990s has puzzled and challenged Hanif Kureishi(1954-) to examine the conditions heightening this sinister, destructive phenomenon in the West. The alien, threatening ideology has indeed complicated Kureishi’s view of British multiculturalism and Western liberalism buttressing it. Focusing on generational and cultural conflicts between a liberal father and a fundamentalist son, My Son the Fanatic(1997) moves away from the established representation of ‘second-generation Muslim children vs. their father’s conservative values.’ The screenplay was particularly well received in the post-9/11 and 7/7 context by the audience and the critics who argued that the play was prescient and very timely in tackling multicultural dilemmas plaguing Western democracies. However, Kureishi’s representation of Islamic fundamentalists in the screenplay is disputable in the sense that it reinforces Western prejudices against the second-generation muslim youth through the process of forming and presenting a ‘crisis of liberalism’ narrative. The binary opposition of liberalism and fundamentalism maintains throughout the work, failing to produce any constructive dialogue and only to be replaced by an human relationship between two liberal, cultural hybrids. Focusing on the process in which Kureishi dramatizes the conflict between fundamentalism and liberalism, this paper argues that the dilemma of multiculturalism in My Son the Fanatic is constructed only through the sacrifice of the objective, fully-fledged representation of muslims.

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