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Essay - the Decline of the West

  • Submitted by: anonymous
  • on April 16, 2015
  • Category: English
  • Length: 1,485 words

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The Decline of the West

We live in a highly capitalistic society, and several western people have grown accustomed to money and consumerism. The desire for money and power fuels the world. Meanwhile the pursuit of money and the materialistic goods which money can buy may have a damaging effect. With the recent regression resulting in people losing their jobs and large debts, people have consequently been forced to realise the error of their ways and the fact that everything comes with a price – even money, which, if you make enough, occasionally appear to be able to buy you love and affection. In Hanif Kureishi’s short story “The Decline of the West” from 2010, the main Character, Mike, is a hardworking husband and father, who suddenly loses his job. Thus he also loses the substantial pay, which accompanied the job, and the true form of his family’s relationship is revealed.

Kureishi employs a limited third-person narrator, which is seen from the main character’s point of view. Mike is a 45-year old businessman working in corporate finance and therefore he makes a fair amount of money compared to the average citizen. His father claims that Mike has been “stalked by good fortune [his] whole life” (p. 3, l. 40), and yet, when becoming victim of the regression and Mike is dismissed from his job, it is evident that this was in fact not quite true as his family’s true colour reveals itself.
When returning home from being fired, Mike wishes to tell his wife but he is prevented from doing so due to her indifferent attitude and the fact that she does not even spare him a hello: “Imogen passed him in the hall carrying a gin and tonic, saying she was going upstairs for a bath” (p. 2, ll. 6-7). It is clear that the relationship between Mike and his wife, Imogen, is lacking the emotions and compassion, one would expect from a healthy marriage. Furthermore, when actually trying to seek comfort after being fired, Imogen seems uninterested in his begging to talk and she...

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