This sample paper on Buddha Of Suburbia offers a framework of relevant facts based on recent research in the field. Read the introductory part, body, and conclusion of the paper below.
Her identity is understood by religion; the church and bible, Jayne Ayre, school life and of course her mother. Presented by Winterson as an almost tyrannical figure due to her viewpoints, and that of Winterson’s with society. Her problems with identity and the seeking of acceptance have been manipulated into her narrative of ‘Oranges’ letting us see in medias res through the eyes of Jeanette and her world.
“In Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia, Karim, the protagonist, defines himself as “having emerged from two old histories” (6). Thus Kureishi immediately presents Karim’s Identity as a hybrid of two dominant cultures, that of India and Britain. Like Winterson, Kureishi loosely bases the novel around personal experiences exploring both his cultural as well as sexual identity, in a struggle to ind and build his own.
Racially hybrid himself, Kureishi is rapt by figures who destabilise supposedly pure categories. Since gay men and lesbians traditionally have been despised by conservatives precisely because they are seen to blur prescribed boundaries of gender difference, Kureishi sets out to further blur these boundaries with ambiguous apolitical Karim, who enjoys having sex with both men and women, but he does not identify himself as a bisexual any more than he does as an Englishman or a “Paki. ”
Karim, and Haroon, his Indian father, seek purpose and meaning centrality in their move from the suburbs to central London, from the geographical but also social periphery to the centre.
Regardless of their zealousness , their ethnicity is a literal reminder of difference and that they will have to work unjustly hard to ‘belong’ in their new city center surroundings . Kureishi depicts both father and son’s feelings of alienation, longing ‘to belong’ and feeling it not only would enhance but is essential for their identity in Britain.
“trying to be more of an Englishman” (7), resulted in vein for Karim and his father until Haroon discovers that by playing up to his Indian origin, becoming a caricature of himself and stereotyping himself to English people’s preconceived ideas concerning his Indian identity becomes much more rapid route to success. Karim hopes the city centre will enable him to shape and improve on his identity, thus giving meaning to his life; moreover, the discovery of constant reminders of his hybridism and difference show that a pure English identity is not something he is at liberty to have, it is not who he is.
Karim’s history depicts that he is neither purely Indian nor purely British and instead of trying to be one or the other he must embrace being hybrid and form his personal identity as an individual around that. “they never let him forget they thought him a nigger, a slave, a lower being. And we pursued English roses as we pursued England; by possessing these prizes, this kindness and beauty, we stared defiantly into the eye of the Empire and all its self-regard [… ]. We became part of England and yet proudly stood outside it.
“(8) Like his father Karim can only become part of the centre by caricaturing himself, and promoting his ‘indian-ness’ while he believes the success of Charlie is due to his “selling Englishness” . Whilst acting, he is requested to play “ethnic” roles, and put on a broad Indian accent, “to be authentically Indian even if he has never been to India; Shadwell reminds him that he has “been cast for authenticity and not for experience”(9). ” It is roles such as these that aid Karim to embrace both parts of his cultures.
As John Clement Ball states, “Father and son both become faux-Indians, successfully marketing back to the English warmed-over versions of their own popular appropriations of Indian culture” (10). Haroon and Karim are identified by a constant representation of their culture and conform to these pre conceived ideas in order to achieve success. Furthermore as the English had a pre conceived idea of Karim and his father, Haroon was surprised that English reality was not how he had envisioned it.
His impression of the British national identity was much more glorified than its reality “He’d never seen the English in poverty, as road sweepers, dustmen, shopkeepers and barmen. He’d never seen an Englishman stuffing bread into his mouth with his fingers, and no one has told him that the English didn’t wash regularly because the water was cold –if they had water at all. And when Dad tried to discuss Byron in local pubs no one warned him that no every Englishman could read … “(11)
Much of Karim’s story is about identification, specifically being an “Englishman born and bred, almost” (12). Caught between “belonging and not,” between his Indian heritage and desire to assimilate into British society, Karim invariably negotiates his hybrid identity (13); but his character seems to posit that there is a space for both identities as did Jeanette in Winterson’s ‘Oranges’. He accepts much of his Indianness but also appropriates the qualities of British teenagers, revelling in dominant London fashions.
Like his ethnic identification, Karim’s sexual identity is also ambigious. Karim claims that he has no preference to gender and will sleep with anyone, male or female. His first really defining sexual experience is with Charlie. Karim’s fluid sexuality positions him in a luminal role namely because he does not claim a homosexual/heterosexual identity nor an Indian/British identity exclusively; thus, he is consistently forced to negotiate between such binaries.
Karim becomes involved in an increasingly accelerating social circle, associating with the arts community and participating in theatre, he begins a sexual relationship with Eleanor, an actor whom Karim truly loves describing their relationship, saying, “I’d never had such a strong emotional and physical feeling before” (14). For the first time, sex gains an emotional component, a marked difference from his prior sexual relationships. Success begins to appear on Karim’s horizon, treating his family to dinner and stating “I began to enjoy my own generosity. . .
I felt the pleasure of pleasing others” (15). Although, this pleasure is fuelled by materialism and money, Karim begins his transmogrification from a totally self-involved space to a place of awareness and caring for others. Thus his former identity is shown evolving into yet another hybrid, the old and the new. Witerson and Kureishi present us with narratives of bildungsroman adolescents struggling to keep up with their “renewing identity through interaction with one another” and their surroundings. Both deal with the deviance of sexual identity and difference.Through both arise issues of religious conflict and struggle.
References 1. Winterson, Jeanette, Oranges are not the only fruit, Pandora 1985 2. Winterson, Jeanette, Oranges are not the only fruit, Pandora 1985 pg 165 3. Winterson, Jeanette, Oranges are not the only fruit, Pandora 1985 4. As above 5. Woolf, Viginia, Mrs Dalloway, Wordsworth Editions Ltd; New Ed edition (Aug 1996) 6. Kureishi, Hanif, Buddah of suburbia, Penguin Books 1991, p3 7. Kureishi, Hanif, Buddah of suburbia, Penguin Books 1991,p21 8. As above p227 9. As Above p147.
10. Ball, John Clement, The semi-detached metropolis: Hanif Kureishi’s London, ariel 1996 p20 11. Kureishi, Hanif, Buddah of suburbia, Penguin Books 1991 p24-25 12 & 13 Kureishi, Hanif, Buddah of suburbia, Penguin Books 1991 p3 14. As above p187 15. As above p283.