Two short stories

In my English class, we have spent the last few classes reading and discussing two short stories. The stories are similar in the way that they are both shining a light on how growing up in an immigrant family can, with an emphasis on “can”, be like. The first one is “My son the fanatic”, and is about a man named Parvez, and his son Ali. Parvez notices how his son has started acting differently when he never talks to his English friends and dumps his girlfriend, who is also English. His room is tidy all the time, which it never used to be, and Parvez also sees his son throwing out clothes and other material things that he would normally have wanted to keep. He also tells his dad that it is wrong to drink and that others, along with himself, who are allegedly “pure”, would go to extreme lengths to make the world a more “pure” place. So Parvez becomes suspicious and wants to find out why his son all of a sudden has become so serious about religion.

In this short story, the son is more religious than the father and that the father has adapted to the British lifestyle, and his son has not. Or, actually it seems like the son, Ali, did adapt to the British culture since he had an English girlfriend and English friends, but that he later changed his mind about it and wanted to pursue his religion on a higher level than before. I think what could’ve happened is that Ali felt that there were still some differences between him and the English boys and that he would never be sort of “the best” at being British, as he seems like someone who is pretty stubborn and has a competitive spirit. That’s why I think that maybe he felt he could never be “British enough” but that he could really be enough only in his own religion and culture. This creates a frustration between the Parvez and Ali, as Parvez has no issue with breaking the “rules” of his own religion, and he seems to make compromises between his own culture and the British culture, to make life in Britain easier. And maybe he just doesn’t think that it is necessary to follow so many rules to be seen as “pure”. Here Ali and Pervez are not on the same page, which makes it difficult for them to understand each other’s perspectives, as expressing discontent on the way the other person lives his life would be the same as not approving of their way of life as supposed to your own.

In the novel “Free for all” we meet a father who is quote opposite from Parvez, and actually shows more resemblance to Ali from “My son the fanatic”. The father seems to have a harder time accepting the culture in the US, than his son. His son simply wants to play the guitar and be a typical American teenager, and his dad does not agree with his lifestyle. At the beginning of the novel, we are told that the father is very successful and therefore we make up this image of him as a strict man who has money and values education and proper manners. The father feels as if his son is rejecting or has forgotten the country he is from and its values. Therefore, he wants to teach him a lesson, as he hates his son’s attitude and lack of respect, compared to what would be acceptable in Pakistan. I think the father in this story has a lack of empathy and isn’t willing to see that there are different perceptions on what being successful means and that culture sometimes has to be put aside for some time in certain aspects of life in order to see that others may have different ways of doing things.


Girl Rising (2013)

Girl Rising, directed by Oscar nominee Richard E. Robbins is shining a well needed light on the issues that girls, especially girls in developing or poor countries, face. These problems are related to poverty, slavery, child labor, oppression, sexual abuse, no access to education, forced marriages and endless handfuls of other issues that impact their everyday life. The movie contains pills that are hard to swallow. It has hard facts you don’t want to know. Because being ignorant is more comfortable than being enlightened and knowing the truth, because the truth requires change. In the movie, we meet 9 girls from 9 different countries. Each girl with her own story, which has been written with the help of a notable author from her home country. The movie emphasizes the number of girls around the world who are missing from classrooms, and how education more girls would have life-changing effects and benefit the world as a whole.

The scenes in the movie make greater impact on you than other movies might, because it is all real. It has all happened to these girls, in real life. The movie also contains partly animated interludes, and in between the stories of the different girls, signs bearing statistics that will make the hair on your neck rise are held up by a group of multiracial girls from different countries and cultures, standing in a meadow. One of the facts being that 50 percent of sexual assaults in the world are on females under 15; there are 33 million fewer girls than boys attending primary schools.The movie includes stories like the one of a 7-year-old girl named Wadley. Wadley lives in Haiti with her mother, and loves going to school. Until one day, her life is turned upside down. Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake ruins her school and her home. Now, school is too expensive for her to attend, and she is turned away from the schoolhouse day after day.

Another one of the stories is about Xena, a Peruvian girl named after the Xena the Warrior Princess. Xena lives high up in the mountains of Peru. And her dad worked as a miner, digging for gold. One day he got sick and quickly after he died. This made her start writing poetry, to help take away some of the sadness she was experiencing. Xena’s dad always encouraged her to stay in school, because she had the potential to become something big, something extraordinary. So, she did.

There are narrators throughout the whole movie, some of them quite famous and recognizable, including Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett and Salma Hayek.Although the movie is characterized as a documentary, it is way more exciting than most people would normally expect when they hear the word “documentary”.




The movie “Girl Rising”