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Buddha Pf Suburbia

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How is the novel’s wryly comic and down-to-earth (sur)realism established? Start by looking closely at the first chapter, and then extend your analysis to content in the rest of the novel. You might look at ways in which voice, tone and irony are set up to create a running commentary and analysis of events as they are told (these specific techniques I mentioned are just some suggestions). Is Kureishi’s narrative style effective and does it suit the kind of protagonist that he has created for us? Or is the mature/shrewd and highly intelligent narrative voice at odds with the less mature and more impulsive character that it belongs to?

The 1970’s was a decade of great change in movements as diverse as fashion, music, and politics. Examine the role that cultural revolution plays in the novel, since this is the backdrop against which Karim sets out on a quest to find himself as an adult. Looking separately at different aspects of society that he involves himself with, how does he ultimately find himself in this turbulent and changing world? What are the implications of Kureishi’s ideas in the novel for better understanding contemporary British society and politics and the direction it will go in, in the future?

Kureishi defines, exposes and debunks suburbia in his novel, but there is a fond, nostalgic feeling for the London suburbs in the 70’s as well. Look at the juxtaposition of city and suburbs in the novel (since the book is organized around these two worlds). How does Karim negotiate his identity between them? How do these realties paint the bigger picture that represents British society at a particular historical moment—and the tensions within it?

Kureishi is interested in different types of families and demolishing the myth of the traditional nuclear family. How are issues of family and community played out in the novel? In what ways might there be similarities between love, friendship and family relationships that complicate our understanding of what ‘family’ is in the novel? And how does Karim learn about love from these kinds of unconventional family structures, vs the conventional ones that exist around him?

Karim is accused by different characters of evading responsibility and often acting without fully contemplating the consequences of his actions. Do you agree with such assertion? Is he just naïve or unreliable? And does his sense of responsibility change/evolve?

Why do you think that it takes Karim so long to acknowledge his Indian past/heritage and what lessons, if any, do you think he learns about his identity? You might want to compare him with Jamila, or his brother Allie, in working this out. Also, think about how the world of theater pushes him to confront these issues, which he might prefer to keep underground, if given the choice.

Reviewers seem to overlook Anwar and Jeeta. Are they apprehensive of confronting the representation of this family and its place in Britain? Or is there difficulty in discussing issues such as patriarchy in Asian families and arranged marriages? How successfully does Kureishi play such issues out? One thing that you might want to think about is Anwar’s motives/beliefs that lead him to take such extreme measures to ensure the marriage of his daughter. How do these motives arise from the life he has built for his family in England?

If you were a judge, why would you give the Whitbread award for the best new novel to Hanif Kureishi’s Buddha of Suburbia (note: he did, in fact, win this prize)? What literary devices does Kureishi masterfully craft and shape to make his first novel so compelling and memorable for readers, to the extent where it is today recognized as an important novel in the British cannon? For your thesis, you might try to work our an overarching and general thematic interpretation of the book—and then think about how the literary techniques bring this philosophical message to life, in their specific shaping by the author.

Karim’s relationships to the women around him clearly relate to his own personal struggle to form a sense of himself as a person. How do the characters that he considers weaker, like his mother, Helen or Eleanor, compare to the stronger

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