The Depiction of Class and Self-Created Identity in The Buddha of Suburbia


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The Search for Identity in "The Buddha of Suburbia" by Hanif Kureishi

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The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Hueshi

Haroon and Eva are both avid readers and amateur writers. Charlie becomes an international rock star and cultural icon. Even as a suburban schoolboy, Charlie possesses a confidence and sophistication usually falsely associated with the city.


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I wanted to live always this intensely: mysticism, alcohol, sexual promise, clever people and drugs. Ironically, Karim mistakenly believes that he has to escape suburbia to obtain the kind of life he has glimpsed there.

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It is not until late in the novel that he realizes that the city does not have a monopoly on culture and excitement and that they have always been present in suburbia. Haroon is obviously a spiritual leader of sorts, and his followers attempt to add a spiritual dimension to their suburban lives.


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Much of the music referred to in the novel, such as that produced by Bob Dylan, The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and David Bowie, is considered to be groundbreaking art of the highest order. The suburban youth in The Buddha of Suburbia are active participants in various forms of culture.

Although most of the aforementioned artists are not usually associated with suburbia, they are certainly not associated exclusively with the city either.

The Depiction of Class and Self-Created Identity in "The Buddha of Suburbia"

Clearly, the notion that suburbia lacks culture, or that culture can be contained in a geographic space such as the city, is absurd. Karim goes on to describe some of the inhabitants of his suburb in detail:. They were socialists in exile from Czechoslovakia Opposite them were another retired couple, a teacher and his wife, the Gothards.

An East End family of birdseed dealers, the Lovelaces, were next to them Further up the street lived a Fleet Street reporter, Mr Nokes, his wife and their overweight kids, with the Scoffields — Mrs Scoffield was an architect, next door to them. At least five different occupations are present, as are three distinct age groups and a family from Czechoslovakia; such a community is hardly homogenous or boring. Indeed, Karim has long fantasized about travelling into the city and making his home there.

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However, he soon finds that the reality of the city is less appealing than the fantasy. Not only is the flat run-down, there is no bed for Karim and he must sleep on the sofa. However, before leaving Bromley, Karim led a carefree life with few responsibilities, and soon finds that life in the city is more difficult. Although London does prove to be different from the suburbs in many ways and provides exciting experiences, it certainly does not provide Karim with fulfilment or a strong sense of belonging. 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.

We could have been from Bombay. However, such an interpretation is simplistic and ignores the racist treatment that Karim is subjected to by the theatre directors Shadwell and Pyke.

Colonialism and Metropolitanism in The Buddha of Suburbia: [Essay Example], words GradesFixer

In fact, one could argue that the presence in London of many educated upper class people, usually white, creates an environment that is more homogenous and less culturally diverse than suburbia. By playing a number of roles, both literally and figuratively, Karim distances himself from his suburban roots, and, for a time, loses himself. If in London Karim finds the centre of English culture, he also finds that, according to traditional notions of Englishness, he is an alien from the margins.

http://staging.ascensiondental.com/bunes-conocer-gente-espanola.php Ultimately, for Karim, London does not prove to be a more satisfactory location than suburbia. Thus, both the audience and the narrator are aware that a journey has been completed before the narration begins. As the narrative progresses, Karim gradually becomes more aware of his suburban identity.

Hanif Kureishi reads the Buddha of Suburbia at the To Hell with Publishing event at Mutate Britain

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. I am often considered to be a funny kind of Englishman, a new breed as it were, having emerged from two old histories

The Depiction of Class and Self-Created Identity in The Buddha of Suburbia The Depiction of Class and Self-Created Identity in The Buddha of Suburbia
The Depiction of Class and Self-Created Identity in The Buddha of Suburbia The Depiction of Class and Self-Created Identity in The Buddha of Suburbia
The Depiction of Class and Self-Created Identity in The Buddha of Suburbia The Depiction of Class and Self-Created Identity in The Buddha of Suburbia
The Depiction of Class and Self-Created Identity in The Buddha of Suburbia The Depiction of Class and Self-Created Identity in The Buddha of Suburbia
The Depiction of Class and Self-Created Identity in The Buddha of Suburbia The Depiction of Class and Self-Created Identity in The Buddha of Suburbia
The Depiction of Class and Self-Created Identity in The Buddha of Suburbia The Depiction of Class and Self-Created Identity in The Buddha of Suburbia
The Depiction of Class and Self-Created Identity in The Buddha of Suburbia The Depiction of Class and Self-Created Identity in The Buddha of Suburbia
The Depiction of Class and Self-Created Identity in The Buddha of Suburbia The Depiction of Class and Self-Created Identity in The Buddha of Suburbia
The Depiction of Class and Self-Created Identity in The Buddha of Suburbia

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