Analysis of "The Decline of the West"

1093 words 5 pages
The subject of capitalism is one very thoroughly discussed, and opinions are wide-spread. Some believe it to be the root of all evil, while others merely choose to see it as an inevitable part of progress, one we might as well enjoy. After all, has living not become much easier since, say, the beginning of the industrialised age? Everyone can afford materialistic goods and no one is forced to starve. The question is, however, whether it is too good to be true, and recently, with the deep financial crises, many have come to face the fact that everything, even capitalism itself, comes with a price. Mike, a hardworking father of two, and the main character of Hanif Kureishi’s short story “The Decline of the West” from 2010, is an example of …show more content…

Both Imogen and Tom appear to blame him the absence and harbour feelings of aversion towards him, which is seen i.e. when Imogen says ““It’s too late. You’ve spoiled and neglected him, you ridiculous, foolish man. And now you expect him to obey you!”” , while Billy is perhaps too young to register the father’s deficiencies that way. Mike is a man who, like many others in modern times, has found self-fulfilment through his job and career, neglecting or downgrading time with his family as a result of this. However this backfires when he loses his job, because it has been the foundation of his life for so long, and he ends up without anything because it is too late for him to correct the mistakes he made regarding his family. Due to this, when he for a brief moment thinks he might die, he even welcomes it: “How easy it was to fall, and how tempting it was – suddenly would be best – to die!”

The theme of this short story is modern day capitalism, focusing especially on the consequences of this when you suddenly come crashing down. The message is directly connected to this. It seems as though the author is trying to speak up against the way capitalism is eating up families and to warn against the consequences when a job suddenly isn’t there to lean on anymore. One needs family to fall back on, and Hanif Kureishi undoubtedly seeks to educate his


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