In the opening paragraph of the novel Karim states : “My name is Karim Amir, and I am an Englishman born and bred, almost. I am often considered to be a funny kind of Englishman, a new breed as it were, having emerged from two old histories. But I don’t care – Englishman I am (though not proud of it)”Kureishi 3).
Cleven declares that in this first statement, Karim tries to determine his own identity; “I am an Englishman born and bred”. Thus, it affirms the fact that Karim predominantly considers himself as English, but the customs of his origin do not allow him to determine his personal and cultural identity very well. This claim as being an Englishman , however, is considered complicated by the word “almost” because of his mixed race background, him “having emerged from two old histories”, makes the truthfulness of considering himself genuinely English more complicated .Thus , Karim does not know who he is, who he wants to be, or what he wants to achieve in his life. He is describing his personality with negative terms”me, always the voyeur”, “I is the nosiest person I’d ever met”, and”I’m probably not compassionate or anything, I bet I’m a real bastard inside and don’t care for anyone . . .” (18-19).