This section highlights the main elements of our analysis of the story “The Decline of the West” by Hanif Kureishi.

The story follows a linear plot structure and features narrative techniques such as foreshadowing and backstory. It tells the story of Mike and how he deals with having lost his job.

The main character of the story is Mike, and his family members, Imogen, Tom, and Billy, are secondary characters.

The events take place in London at the beginning of the twenty-first century, during the 2008 financial crisis. The social setting explores Western society, the capitalist system, and the life of the upper class.

The events are described by a limited third-person narrator.

The story is told in a descriptive style, which includes imagery and symbolism. The language is easy to understand, mixing narration with dialogue, which helps the reader understand more about the characters and the events.

You can find a full analysis of the story in the following pages.

Further help

Short story analysis

For more advice about analysing short stories, you can read our general guide to short story analysis.