The Buddha of Suburbia

by

Hanif Kureishi

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Terry Character Analysis

Terry is a Welshman who plays the snake Kaa in Shadwell's production of The Jungle Book. He's about 40, an ardent Trotskyite, and possibly attracted to men. Karim attempts to seduce him throughout the novel, though Terry resists. Terry's Trotskyism insists that the upper classes will be taken down through constant revolution, which would be incited by the working classes. Karim finds this ridiculous, as his experience with the working class suggests that they really only hate those lower on the social ladder, not those higher up. Terry also struggles to support his theories when Karim asks questions about Trotskyism, which is one of the reasons why Karim never truly joins the Party. Despite their political differences, Terry is generally kind to Karim and guides him through his first few acting jobs. Terry is incensed when Matthew Pyke casts Karim instead of him, and later forces Karim to ask Pyke for money for the Party. Karim teases Terry mercilessly about his acting job in a TV show on which he plays a policeman named Sergeant Monty, as the character represents the exact opposite of Terry's political beliefs.

Terry Quotes in The Buddha of Suburbia

The The Buddha of Suburbia quotes below are all either spoken by Terry or refer to Terry. 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 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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Terry Character Timeline in The Buddha of Suburbia

The timeline below shows where the character Terry appears in The Buddha of Suburbia. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2, Chapter 10
Hierarchy and Class Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
...Shadwell wants a very physical, mime-heavy version of The Jungle Book. Karim becomes friends with Terry, a handsome Welshman who plays Kaa, the snake. Karim decides to seduce Terry. (full context)
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
...a political thing for him. None of the other actors stand up for Karim, even Terry who's an active Trotskyite. Shadwell reprimands Karim for holding back the cast, and Karim agrees... (full context)
Hierarchy and Class Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
Karim explains that he likes Terry, but finds his views on the working class ridiculous. Terry doesn't understand that the working... (full context)
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
...the eyes of the masses. Shadwell offers Karim a part in his next play, and Terry encourages Karim to accept. Terry cryptically tells Karim that he has work lined up too,... (full context)
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
...the room reaches a fever pitch. Karim has no idea who Pyke is and asks Terry to explain. Terry says that Pyke has taught and directed all over the western world,... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
...is the best ever that night, and the actors rush off to the pub afterwards. Terry impatiently waits for Karim to wash his makeup off, and Karim tries to convince Terry... (full context)
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
Terry tells Karim that critics call Pyke's work puritanical because he likes bare stages and no... (full context)
Hierarchy and Class Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
...only available subject. Pyke and Karim part ways, and Karim hurries out of the pub. Terry chases Karim into the parking lot and interrogates him about his conversation with Pyke. Terry... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 13
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Hierarchy and Class Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
...and take the train to Pyke's house. Karim studies the house and thinks of what Terry had told him about Pyke. Terry recently landed a gig playing a policeman in a... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
...pretends to be a "class detective" and looks around the living room. He thinks that Terry must have underestimated Pyke's wealth, as the furnishings are extremely expensive. Eleanor returns as Pyke... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 15
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Karim finds Terry at the bar. Terry is still incensed that he wasn't a part of Pyke's play.... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 16
Hierarchy and Class Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
...a shower. Karim wanders through the room and tries to choose something to steal for Terry and the Party, but he doesn't know what anything is worth. Marlene comes in, dressed... (full context)
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
On his day off, Karim goes to see Terry. Terry is living in the neighborhood where Ted destroyed the train car years ago, which... (full context)
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
...liberal ideas come from America—the women's movement, gay militancy, and the black rebellion—and he calls Terry ignorant. Terry insists that he just finds it strange that Karim would go after what... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
Karim thinks that people who only understand things halfway, like Terry, drive him crazy. He thinks of one of Dad's meditation students who only spoke about... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 18
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
...office, the South African dentist asks the nurse if Karim speaks English. Later, Karim meets Terry for a drink. All Terry can talk about is the upcoming election, which he says... (full context)