The Decline of The West
Short story by: Hanif Kureishi
The Decline of the West is a short story written by the English, half Pakistani writer Hanif Kureishi in 2010. The main theme in the short story is the capitalism and how material we have become in the West in the year of 2010 and how we strive to gain material comfort ahead of true happiness and greater meaning in life.
The short story’s main character is a forty-five year old man named Mike who is on his way home to his family. It takes place in the upper class of the outskirts of London. Mike thinks that his family will appreciate that he is home early from work, which is not something that occurs since he is not working less ...view middle of the document...
Without ambition and dreams or goals in life it can become meaningless, specially the capitalism in the West.
It has begun with the industrialism. Where people changed from living together and when the family was the most important thing. Make it though living by working just to put food on the table. There was no opportunity to move in the social hierarchy.
With the industrialism every one started making more money and buy more stuff. It became a common thing for women to work and that took time away from the traditional family life. People began being a little conformed.
The family life the main character lives in has caused that he is in an existential crisis.
The fact that he just lost his job means that he has lost a big part of his identity, since that is what he spent most of his time doing. It could give him more opportunities, more time and a greater freedom but the catch is that he have to be the hard working husband and father for his family. He has a responsibility to his family. They demand even though they are also in big debt.
The materialism has taken over and values and happiness is totally out of the picture. Material good might enhance their lives to a certain degree but in the end it is really not important.
The way we get to meet the family through Mike’s descriptions is that there is a lot of greed, vanity and shallowness.
Mike had the intention to start reading about and collecting wine to but he has not done it yet. His wife encourages him to get a hobby. Mike thinks he is good at giving up things and starting new things it is like they have to have some sort of things to keep them occupied or as an compensation for not to have some greater goal or other achievements than wealth. Mike is thinking about his home and their lives and thinks to himself; “ I have paid for this with my time, intelligence and education the state provided me with.” This says a lot about how the common life is to most people. They invest years on an education...