The Buddha of Suburbia

by

Hanif Kureishi

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Shadwell Character Analysis

Shadwell is a regular guest at Eva's parties from the beginning; Karim meets him at his first party and refers to him as the man in corduroy. Karim finds Shadwell boring beyond all belief, though Eva disagrees. She's attracted to him because he's successful, and she conducts a sexual relationship with him for at least part of the novel. Eva bullies Karim into auditioning for Shadwell's production of The Jungle Book, and Shadwell casts Karim as Mowgli. Though Karim is thrilled to get the part, he's less thrilled when Shadwell reveals how racist he is: he insists that Karim wear dark makeup all over his body and speak in an exaggerated Indian accent. Though the cast outwardly respects him, they consistently refer to him as "Shitwell" and other rude nicknames. When Matthew Pyke takes an interest in Karim, Shadwell warns Karim that Pyke will destroy him.

Shadwell Quotes in The Buddha of Suburbia

The The Buddha of Suburbia quotes below are all either spoken by Shadwell or refer to Shadwell. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Coming of Age Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of The Buddha of Suburbia published in 1991.
Part 2, Chapter 9 Quotes

"What a breed of people two hundred years of imperialism has given birth to. If the pioneers from the East India Company could see you. What puzzlement there'd be. Everyone looks at you, I'm sure, and thinks: an Indian boy, how exotic, how interesting, what stories of aunties and elephants we'll hear now from him. And you're from Orpington."

Related Characters: Shadwell (speaker), Karim
Page Number: 141
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2, Chapter 10 Quotes

I wanted to tell him that the proletariat of the suburbs did have strong class feeling. It was virulent and hate-filled and directed entirely at the people beneath them.

Related Characters: Karim (speaker), Shadwell, Terry
Page Number: 149
Explanation and Analysis:
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Shadwell Character Timeline in The Buddha of Suburbia

The timeline below shows where the character Shadwell appears in The Buddha of Suburbia. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1
Hierarchy and Class Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
...and on it sit four middle-aged couples drinking wine. One man in a corduroy suit (Shadwell) sits against the wall, nervously smoking. Charlie suggests to Karim that they go upstairs and... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
...Scotch. The man in the corduroy suit is in the kitchen and introduces himself as Shadwell, but Karim avoids him and returns to Charlie upstairs. (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Dad confides that Eva is seeing other men, specifically Shadwell, whom she believes is going to be a wildly successful theatre director. Karim insists that... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 8
Hierarchy and Class Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
...the romance as Dad and Eva tend to go out at night to see plays. Shadwell, Eva's old friend, is beginning to make it big, and he invites Eva and Dad... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 9
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Hierarchy and Class Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
...list and only allows Dad to invite two people from his meditation group. She invites Shadwell and all of his contacts, and the whole thing bothers Karim. At the party, Dad... (full context)
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
Eva butts into Karim's conversation, yanks him off the sofa, and steers him towards Shadwell. Karim tries to resist, but he can't escape. Shadwell drones on about theatre as Karim... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
...few weeks with Eva's help. On the day of his audition, he performs brilliantly, but Shadwell doesn't seem particularly impressed. Shadwell asks Karim to perform it again, but to act as... (full context)
Hierarchy and Class Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
After the audition, Shadwell takes Karim for coffee and offers him "the part." It comes to light that Eva... (full context)
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Shadwell asks Karim if being "a half-caste in England" is difficult. Karim is beyond embarrassed and... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 10
Hierarchy and Class Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
...in with Dad and Eva. He loves the hard work of acting, and explains that Shadwell wants a very physical, mime-heavy version of The Jungle Book. Karim becomes friends with Terry,... (full context)
Hierarchy and Class Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
Karim and Shadwell begin arguing during the second week when Karim has his costume fitting. His costume turns... (full context)
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
Shadwell brings the accent up again in front of the entire cast, and Karim pleads that... (full context)
Hierarchy and Class Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
...For this reason alone, Karim loves being Mowgli. He begins to make ridiculous demands of Shadwell to test his power. (full context)
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
...mixed reactions from family, The Jungle Book does well in the eyes of the masses. Shadwell offers Karim a part in his next play, and Terry encourages Karim to accept. Terry... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Karim waits several days to tell Shadwell about the job. Finally, right before one of the final performances of The Jungle Book... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 15
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
...Karim and praises the play, but she seems distraught that Dad is talking to Mum. Shadwell approaches Eva and Karim, but Karim leaves before Shadwell can speak. (full context)