The Buddha of Suburbia

by

Hanif Kureishi

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The Great Dane Symbol Analysis

The Great Dane Symbol Icon

When Karim attempts to visit Helen, her father, Hairy Back, sends his Great Dane out into the yard after Karim. Rather than attack and bite Karim, the Great Dane corners Karim, mounts him, and ejaculates on Karim's jacket. Karim thinks of this as the ultimate indignity, and indicative of the rampant racism he experiences in the suburbs. He thinks of the Great Dane as representing white London and the way that those people want to exploit Karim for their own gain. Karim often refers to the Great Dane in relation to Hairy Back. Combined, these two figures represent two sides of the racism Karim experiences: Hairy Back is the violent National Front that wants to see him dead, while the Great Dane wants to see Karim alive, but only in a way that serves the Dane. In this respect, both Shadwell and Pyke are iterations of the Great Dane as they want to use Karim's Indian heritage to add marketable flavor to their theatre productions.

The Great Dane Quotes in The Buddha of Suburbia

The The Buddha of Suburbia quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Great Dane. 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 15 Quotes

And we pursued English roses as we pursued England; by possessing these prizes, this kindness and beauty, we stared defiantly into the eye of the Empire and all its self-regard—into the eye of Hairy Back, into the eye of the Great Fucking Dane. We became part of England and yet proudly stood outside it.

Related Characters: Karim (speaker), Matthew Pyke, Eleanor, Gene, Hairy Back
Related Symbols: The Great Dane
Page Number: 227
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Great Dane Symbol Timeline in The Buddha of Suburbia

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Great Dane appears in The Buddha of Suburbia. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 3
Hierarchy and Class Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
...Helen's father, a hairy, towering man whom Karim decides to call Hairy Back, lets a Great Dane go. He tells Karim that Helen doesn't date boys, especially boys of color. Hairy Back... (full context)
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
Karim turns away and decides to urinate on Hairy Back's car tires. He notices the Great Dane and hopes that Helen will call the dog back inside. As he tries to tiptoe... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...Jamila all about Dad and Eva, but he purposefully doesn't mention his experience with the Great Dane . When Karim asks Jamila what he should do, she laughs. Karim finally realizes how... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
...Helen a ride, but she refuses. After Charlie leaves, Helen apologizes to Karim for the Great Dane , but he cuts her off and rudely asks why she's at his school. He's... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 7
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
...her. As he walks to Jean and Ted's house, Karim sees Hairy Back and the Great Dane . Karim crosses the street and walks back to watch him, suddenly feeling nauseous, angry,... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 11
Hierarchy and Class Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
...with Eleanor, her stories are far more important. He thinks about telling her about the Great Dane , but somehow feels his past isn't important enough. Eleanor once commented on Karim's "cute"... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 15
Family, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Hierarchy and Class Theme Icon
Racism, Success, and Identity Theme Icon
Social and Political Discontent Theme Icon
...men like them stare daily into the eyes of men like Hairy Back and the Great Dane , but must free themselves of resentment--an impossible task given how the English treat them. (full context)