THEY by Sarfraz Manzoor

This study guide will help you analyze Sarfraz Manzoor introduction to the book “THEY”, which was used for a written exam in STX English B on May 17th, 2023. 

In addition to help for your analysis, you can find a summary of the text and ideas for discussing it.

Here is an excerpt from the study guide:

The main focus of your analytical essay is how Sarfraz Manzoor uses his personal experience in the introduction to the book THEY. Throughout the text, Manzoor uses his personal experience to make his message more appealing to his receivers. Manzoor says that he wants to write a story in which “my father, my family and I are all characters” (l.100) in order to humanize Muslims in the eyes of British society.

Manzoor focuses mainly on his memories of his father. Manzoor describes how his father left Pakistan before Manzoor was born and moved to England, only visiting three times in eleven years. His father worked on the production line at the Vauxhall car factory. When Manzoor was 3 years old, his father brought the entire family to England with him. Manzoor has photographs of his father from the time he spent in England. He looks at those photographs hoping to learn more about his father as a “fully-fleshed” (l.46) individual.

By sharing this personal information, Manzoor hopes to awaken the receivers’ curiosity about his father as a human being, and about others like him. This is part of his attempt to make non-Muslims view Muslims as individuals with their own feelings, thoughts and dreams. Manzoor believes that this is an important step in making them more relatable to non-Muslims and bridging the gap between them. 

Manzoor’s use of language also highlights his wish to connect these two cultures. For instance, at the gravesite he greets his father in both Arabic and English. Here, Manzoor uses his personal experience to make a point about multiculturalism and how diverse cultures can coexist in British society. 

Another relevant use of personal experience is when Manzoor tells the receivers about the Muslim taxi drivers. He does not engage with them when they try to establish a connection of “us” vs. “them”, on the basis of their shared ethnicity and faith. This shows that he identifies with both the British and the Pakistani side of himself, and he does not want to exclude either. Even though it is difficult for him to navigate two different worlds, he wants to be faithful to both, hoping that one day he will not have to make a choice between one or the other. 

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THEY by Sarfraz Manzoor

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