The significance of the ending of “Home Fire”; Eamonn

The tragic conclusion of Home Fire serves not only as a climax to the novel, and a culmination of all the various plot threads set into motion (Parvaiz’s radicalisation, exodus to join ISIS, and eventual murder in Istanbul, Aneeka’s relationship with Eamonn, and Eamonn’s turbulent relationship with his father), but as a statement on each character; an authorial comment on the course that each character has taken in the novel. Eamonn’s development and actions as a character are significantly commented upon especially; his death at the hands of a terrorist attack represents both his defiance of his father and the clash of cultures between his clearly westernised, British worldview and a heavily radical Islamic perspective, both of which are recurring themes throughout the novel.

Eamonn’s defiance of his father in his departure to Karachi cannot be understated as a pivotal turning point in his character; throughout the novel, Eamonn has been a staunch defender of his father’s controversial hardline policies on muslims, occasionally to the detriment of his human relationships, especially with muslims such as Isma and Aneeka. Indeed, Aneeka’s dispute with Eamonn (pg. 92) rises from this fundamental familial divide between the two; with Karamat Lone as his father, Eamonn cannot help but defend his father’s actions, despite perhaps understanding that they may veer towards a hardline stance. Eamonn turns to his father as both a source of comfort and as a role model, and struggles to gain his approval throughout the novel; much to his chagrin, Karamat has always viewed Eamonn’s sister as a more reliable, perhaps even “acceptable” child. To an extent, Eamonn’s defiance of his father’s order to cut off ties with Aneeka, and his subsequent departure to Paksitan, was a manifestation of this desire to prove himself to his father; to send a message. Terry, Eamonn’s mother, comments on this, stating Eamonn left England to “prove to his father he had a spine”.

Another fundamental aspect that lends significance to Eamonn in the conclusion of Home Fire is definitely the clash of cultures that occurs once Eamonn arrives in Pakistan. As a Pakistani-naturalised-British, Eamonn has inherited the characteristic of a stranger to what could be defined as his “birth culture” from his father, sardonically nicknamed the “Lone Wolf” due to his apparent rejection of his Pakistani-Muslim roots in favour of a political career steeped in conservatism. Eamonn’s departure to Karachi, more than just a gesture of his love for Aneeka, or a puerile bid for approval from his father, was an extension of the estrangement; Eamonn wishes to reconnect with the culture that he has never been familiar with, yet would seem to be “born with”. The very same culture that his father has taken a hard-line on, unwilling to compromise in his political tenure. This unfamiliarity manifests itself in the ending itself, with him not defending himself from the terrorists fastening the suicide vest to his chest because “he’s in a new place, he doesn’t want to offend, he allows himself to be embraced” (pg.273-4). He is, perhaps foolhardily, stepping into a world unfamiliar, and, by virtue of its Islamic culture, some would argue, diametrically opposed, to his own. Nonetheless, empowered by this newfound bravery in defiance of his father, his departure would result in his eventual, tragic, end.

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