In the short stories “My Son the Fanatic” and “Free for All” we met two very different fathers, with two very different sons. Both of the fathers are immigrants from Pakistan, that now lives in a very different culture then they are used to, and both struggles to understand their sons when they starts to go into their teen years.
In “Free for All” the father is very successful, and has very strong opinions on how his teen son should be. When his son starts to speak up, and wants to do his own thing and follow his dreams, the father takes it as a sign of disrespect. The father strongly tries to shape his son to become the men he wants him to be, a son he can brag to his friends about. The son in this story is very well integrated into the society and wants to do his thing. The father on the other hand is more intertwined with people from his own culture still, so he feel strongly about the values from his own culture. He expects for his son to do what he is told.
In “My Son the Fanatic,” on the other hand, the father is more willing to try to understand his son when he starts to act different. The big difference in this story though is that the son here is starting to turn more muslim, and developed a hate for the western society. He faces an identity crisis, and probably, like the father in “Free for All,” feels like he does not belong where he is. The father in this story is well integrated and has friends from outside his own culture.
Both stories ends up with the fathers beating their sons because of the lack of respect from their sons, so maybe deep down the fathers are not that different? The story maybe shows that culture is well rooted into all of us, and some thing we are costume too are difficult to end. In “My Son the Fanatic” though, it seems almost like the son, even though he was beaten, won or it was an victory, and the opposite in “Free for All. ”