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The issues of identity in the novel buddha of suburbia by hanif kureishi

The issues of identity in the novel buddha of suburbia by hanif kureishi

Author[ edit ] The Buddha of Suburbia is about initiationblack, Asian British youth, pop culture, the condition of England, and London. Style[ edit ] Due to the orality in The Buddha, the historical events, and the many dialogues full of colloquialism, the reader gets the impression of realism. The novel is highly episodic; Kureishi uses juxtaposition and collage. The suburbs are "a leaving place" from which Kureishi's characters must move away.

To Karim, London—even though it is geographically not far away from his home—seems like a completely different world.

Therefore, his expectations of the city are great. In The Buddha the move into and later through the city is like an odyssey or pilgrimage. On the first page Karim introduces himself as follows: This motif is reinforced throughout the novel. Pop music is an important theme in Kureishi's novels. One could even say that his novels have a soundtrack. London itself is associated by Karim to a sound.

There were kids in velvet cloaks who lived free lives". Within the problems of prejudice and racism lies one of the themes of initiation novels: Furthermore, London seems to be the perfect setting for the protagonists' "often painful growth towards maturity through a range of conflicts and dilemmas, social, sexual and political. Even though The Buddha is set in the 1970s and ends just before the Thatcher era begins, Kureishi was writing it under the direct influence of the outcome of Thatcherism.

  1. Indeed, Karim has long fantasized about travelling into the city and making his home there.
  2. However, he soon finds that the reality of the city is less appealing than the fantasy.
  3. Dream, Speculation and Nightmare'.
  4. As the narrative progresses, Karim gradually becomes more aware of his suburban identity.
  5. Thus, suburbia, which may seem uniform and boring, reveals much beneath the surface.

It is not surprising then, looking back, that he can see the roots of conservatism already in the '70s. Plot[ edit ] The Buddha of Suburbia is said to be very autobiographical.

It is about Karim, a mixed-race teenager, who is desperate to escape suburban South London and to have new experiences in London in the 1970s. He eagerly seizes an unlikely opportunity when a life in the theatre presents itself as a possibility. When there is nothing left for him to do in London, he goes to New York for ten months. Returning to London, he takes on a part in a TV soap opera and the book leaves its reader on the brink of the 1979 general election the defeat of Jim Callaghan's government on a motion of no confidence is specifically mentioned later in the novel.

Through his work with two theatre companies, Karim gets to know new people from completely different backgrounds, like the working-class Welshman Terry, who is an active Trotskyist and wants him to join the party, or Karim's lover Eleanor who is upper middle-class but pretends to be working-class. Mixing with the people surrounding Eleanor and Pyke a strange theatre directorhe realises that they are speaking a different language, because they received a good education, which was not valued in the suburbs.

In The Buddha other characters and their struggles to make it in London are described, too.

  • It is appropriate that Karim, representative of the new hybrid British identity, should have the opportunity to become a household name though a suburban medium;
  • However, what the situation really reveals is that Karim recognizes his suburban identity and his relationship to other social groups, and acknowledges the privilege and comfort of a suburban upbringing;
  • Throughout the book, Karim longs to assimilate into his cultural environment whether it be the suburbs of London, London, or New York;
  • Coming Up for Air.

Kureishi portrays Eva as a social climber at war with the city: She was climbing ever higher, day by day. Later in the novel the main character's father an Indian immigrant, a boring bureaucrat living with his family in a grey London suburb is suddenly discovered by London's high society, which is hungry for exotic distractions, and so he becomes their Buddha -like guruthough he himself does not believe in this role.

  1. Towards a Dialectic of Suburban Desire. However, before leaving Bromley, Karim led a carefree life with few responsibilities, and soon finds that life in the city is more difficult.
  2. The traditional notions of Englishness represented by London contrast with the emerging hybrid British identity represented by Karim, who finds that he is an outsider due to his suburban upbringing and race. Author[ edit ] The Buddha of Suburbia is about initiation , black, Asian British youth, pop culture, the condition of England, and London.
  3. Haroon is obviously a spiritual leader of sorts, and his followers attempt to add a spiritual dimension to their suburban lives.
  4. The Buddha of Suburbia. From the first page of the novel, the suburbs of South London are frequently depicted as boring, conformist and consumerist.
  5. Interdisciplinary Studies in the Representation of London 7. The Buddha of Suburbia.

His son does not believe in him either and, at the same time, has his first erotic experiences.