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Marc Arenas Ruiz

English Literature


CA 2: Unit 2 Contemporary English fiction: the literary novel today

passage 1: (page 147)
But Mr. Shadwell, I feel wrong in it (for the loin-cloth). I feel that together were making the
world uglier
Youll survive
He was right. But just when I was feeling at home in the loin-cloth and boot polish, and when
I learned my lines before anyone else (...), I saw that our conflicts hadnt ended. Shadwell
took me aside and said a word about the accent, Karim. I think it should be an authentic
What do you mean authentic?
where was our Mowgli born? India yes, not Orpington. What accent do they have in India?
?Indian accents Ten out of ten No Jeremy. Please, no
Karim, you have cast for authenticity and not for experience.
Its generally accepted that one of the central axis Kuireshis novel is the construction
of the identity of the immigrant people, especially for second generation ones. Karim, the
main character of the story, is a mixed race boy borned in England, with an Indian father and
an English mother, whereby his troubles are bigger because he has more difficulties to
identify himself, and along the novel he shows the readers many situations where he doesnt
know what is the role he should play because of his identity conflict. In one hand, he feels
that he is an Englishman because he was brought up in England and behave like English,
but in the other hand, he cant repudiate his roots due his relations with his Indians family
and because he continually realizes a lot of unpleasant situations due his Indian origin, and
his brown skin, induced by prejudices and discrimination based on racial stereotypes. To
sum up, he doesnt feel different, however others make him feel it. Although he is in a
struggle, he is able to change his identities several times1. This is noticed in the passage
Ive chosen: Karim doesnt want to be different than the rest of the company due his ethnic
identity but he is able to change his behaviour and accept the rules the director sets to feel
fulfilled and accepted.

passage 2: (page 63)


Ellingsen L. H. (2012:45)

Marc Arenas Ruiz

English Literature


And school was another thing Id had enough of. (...) I was sick too being affectionately
called Shitface and Curryface, and of coming home covered in spit and snot and chalk and
wood-shavings. (...) We did a lot of woodwork at the school because they didnt think we
could deal with books.(...) One kid tried to brand my arm with a red-hot lump o f metal.
Someone else pissed over my shoes, and all my Dad thought about was me becoming a
doctor. What world was he living? Everyday I considered myself lucky to get home from
school without serious injury.
Throughout the novel, stereotypical representations, especially negative ones, about
South London suburbia are constant. These negative attitudes Kureishi presents are still in
force in the British culture and, in my humble opinion, are similar in other countries and
cities. Here I am referring to the outskirts of the major Spain cities such as Madrid or
Barcelona. Some of these attitudes, often degrading, take place in suburban schools. The
most common one may be the racism. In the Buddha, it is notorious when white English
students resort to continuous harassments against the different ones, normally immigrants,
by acting towards them with a degrading treatment. I think these acts are a true reflection of
the low professional expectations that exist in suburban schools. In that frame of mind, the
students show their disappointment against the weakest, the other. Ive been outskirts
school teacher and I have cheeked these situations. Im agree with N. O'Reilly when she
quotes that Karim equates the suburbs with materialism, conformity, racism, dullness and
low expectations2. Particularly in the passage, we can denote that Karim schooling
experience is bored and oppressive, due the abuses and by a low acquisition of academic
contents. At this point, Karim believes the city will give him opportunities for happiness and
excitement that suburbia cannot.

Kureishi, H. (1990) The Buddha of Suburbia. London: Faber and Faber

O'Really N. (2009)

Marc Arenas Ruiz

English Literature


Ellingsen L.H (2012)[thesi on line] `An Englishman born and bred, almostIdentity and Belonging in Hanif
Kureishi`s The Buddha ofSuburbia. Thesis presented to Univesity of Oslo.

https://www.duo.uio.no/bitstream/handle/10852/34757/AnxEnglishmanxbornxandxbredMA1.pdf?sequence=1 [accessed on 01/04/16 ]

Lindgren Edmonds A.L. (2007) [article on line]Mixed Messages within The Buddha of Suburbia. Vxj

[Accessed on

O'Reilly N. (2009) [article on line]Embracing Suburbia: Breaking Tradition and Accepting the Self in
Hanif Kureishis The Buddha of Suburbia.

Literary London: Interdisciplinary Studies in the

Representation of London, Volume 7 Number 2.




Yu- Cheng L. (1996) [article on line]Expropiating the authentic: cultural politics in Hanif Kuireshi's The
Buddha of Suburbia. Taiwan: Euroamerica. Vol 26 num 3. p.1-19

http://www.ea.sinica.edu.tw/eu_file/12015784084.pdf [Accessed on 01/04/16]

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