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The Buddha of Suburbia and the Bildungsroman To begin with, The Buddha of Suburbia belongs to Hanif Kureishi, and I’m going to explain the literary genre of this book, by introducing the key elements of the Classical Bildungsroman such as identity and the self, journey or love and how these elements are represented in this novel.
To beggin with, as it is known, the Bildungsroman is a novelistic genre. The word comes German, meaning ‘’novel of education’’. Tis type of novel deals with the development of the mind and character of the protagonist, as he moves from childhood to adulthood, discovering his identity and his role in the world through various experiences and spiritual crises. In ‘’The Buddha of Suburbia’’, this character is Karim. We must take into account that the novel is set in the seventies and eighties, which were hard time for inmigrants as racism and xenophobia were rife,and every character in the novel in the novel from other ethnic backgrounds experiences hardships.
Identity and the Self is one of the most important themes in the novel, where, Karim, the main character, has a unique talent. Part of the maturation process requires discovering this talent and figuring out how to use it and usually there is a person in the novel who helps the protagonist to help himself. In this case, this person is Eva, because she introduces him to a whole life, she introduces him to the world of theatre and parts of the society he had never imagined. As a part of the self´discovery, the hero gets a new perspective on his reelationships through the bisexuality. The classical Bindungsroman has a somewhat happy ending as it coincides with the protagonist achieving his goal and finding a meaning for his existance. In the novel, Karim, experiences this, because he started as nobody and finally he finds the meaning for his existence, that is to be an actor.
Journey is anothe important theme where the hero leaves home on a journey or quest. Usually, the protagonist leaves a rural setting to travel into the wider world of the city. In this way, the character encounters a larger society that tests hi mor her metlle. The physical journey initiates change, and change brings growth. In this case, Karim leaves his home and the suburbs behind in order to realice himself as an actor in the city. London is described as a place where everything can happen and where dreams come true. A place filled with opportunities. In this encounter with the city, Karimis often involved in love and sexual adventure. Karim’s relationship with Eleanor is significant because he falls in love with her, he experiences a ssexual revelation and end up experimenting an orgy.
Family is also important in this literary genre. Haroon, his father, is one of the central characters of the stoy and his relationship with Karim is one of the central themes, but their relationship changes, and the transformation of Karim towards Independence begins. The family break up is the catalyst for Karim to leave his home and move to London.
To sum up with, the Bildungsroman is a psychological novel in whic the main character, Karim, evolves toward mature self-awareness.