The Sun And My Son The Fanatic

1876 WordsMar 4, 20178 Pages
In “Men in the Sun” and “My Son the Fanatic”, both authors discuss the way in which a nostalgic relation to the past and the loss of one’s sense of self, as a result of being uprooted or displaced, lead to unsuccessful or poor assimilation to new communities. Ghassan Kanafani employs frequent flashbacks and shifts of narrative perspectives as formal mechanisms to reflect that people who either cling to or are troubled by their past always have great difficulty adjusting to a new way of life. Hanif Kureshi uses an extreme example with the reversal of roles played by father and son in an immigrant family. He argues that even when immigrants try to escape their past and start a new life, such attempts are often futile because of failure to…show more content…
When Abu Qais was seeking help from Ustaz Selim in his own imagination he asks, “would you have been willing to carry all your years on your shoulder and flee across the desert to Kuwait to find a crust of bread”? Since Ustaz Selim cannot possibly reply, this question actually demands Abu Qais’ own answer. Abu Qais certainly regards his yearning for old life as a responsibility that he feels obliged to maintain, to carry on his shoulder. He also thinks that fleeing to Kuwait is a gesture of betrayal from his past. And the sense of betrayal grows even more formidable as he realizes that the best outcome of his sacrifice is “a crust of bread”, which is barely an acceptable standard of living. Ruminating in the past makes it impossible for Abu Qais to construct a new identity and ultimately draws him to his old identity. When Abu Qais discusses with his wife, he says “(We’ll be able to) buy one or two olive shoots… build a shack somewhere… if I arrive”. At this time, Abu Qais realizes that moving forward is the only way to achieves his dream of returning to his shack and olive trees in his village. What’s more, Ghassan utilizes flashbacks not only to give the reader the backgrounds of the three main characters, but also to provide evidence for what traps them and motivates them to move forward. Among all of them, Abu Qais is the oldest character who clings to his past the most. It is clear how his obsessions to his past lead to his decision to move forward.
Open Document