In the Reluctant Fundamentalist, Mohsin Hamid, suggests that the personal and the political cannot easily be separated. His main character, Changez, does embark on a personal journey but it is one that is closely connected to his gradual understanding of his cultural identity as a Pakistani. In the course of this journey, he also discovers that there is considerable space between the way things appear and reality. This is recognized in his personal relationships as well as in his response to his adoptive country, America. As the “reluctant fundamentalist”, Changez is forced to strip back the layers of his personal and professional life to see his situation with more clarity. This new clarity also reveals something fundamental about America that he must come to terms with in the course of the novel.
Hamid explores Changez’s personal journey as a clash between individual and his cultural identity. The conflicting cultural background of being both an American and Pakistani forms Changez’s decisions and changes during the course the novel. Initiating the novel, Changez labels himself a “lover of American” and continuously trying to merge his Pakistani identity into the American society. Changez’s life is involved with a constant change of personas, as he urges to be merged into different values and society. “At Princeton, I conducted myself in public like a young prince, generous and carefree”. Whilst keeping three part-time jobs in Princeton, Changez maintains his persona as a “Pakistani prince”. It is Changez’s belief before the events of 911, that he has become American through his altitudes and actions. But eventually, Changez still has to face the challenge of his true identity as a Pakistani, and question his life and job in America and Underwood & Samson, which has the initial of “U.S” and the symbol of United States of America. And that was through his meeting with Juan Bautista in Chile, questioning his American Identity and compares him to a modern day...
...THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST
“It’s like I’m an oyster. I’ve had this sharp speck inside me for a long time, and I’ve been trying to make it more comfortable, so slowly I’ve turned it into a pearl.”
'The Reluctant Fundamentalist' a ‘brief and charming story; a ‘seething commentary on the events of post 9/11 and the resentment it has created in the minds of non-western world for the way America has conducted itself after the attacks. A monologue narrated by a young bearded Pakistani man Changez to his unnamed American guest with whom he meets in one of the oldest and busiest districts of Lahore Anarkali. Changez tells his guest about his life and experiences of America; narrating the days he has spent in America first as a student and then as a successful wall street professional, professing himself as a lover of America and describing his journey from Pakistan to Princeton and then to Underwood Samson as a dream comes true. Later, in spite of his success in the roles and prospects given to him by the host land; he experienced qualms about his contributions in those tendered roles as well as on the America's role in the world.
Changez belongs to an upper class family whose wealth has diminished over the generations due to economic adversity, and family vice, but still whose social standings persists. He moved to America from his native city of Lahore to study on scholarship at Princeton. At the top of his class at Princeton, he is snapped...
English Essay: The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Task: Compare novel and movie. Describe similarities and differences. Try to find reasons for the changes.
The film “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” based on Mohsin Hamid's book written in 2007, is quite similar to the novel. However, there are some aspects that were slightly modified, completely removed from the storyline or added to the movie.
In both novel and movie, the main character Changez is a prodigious student from Pakistan who completes his degree in Finance in Princeton University and joins Underwood Samson, a consultancy firm, as an analyst. He goes to Greece on holiday, where he meets and falls in love with Erica, an american woman who griefs over the death of her ex-boyfriend, Chris. Soon after meeting each other, Erica has coitus with Changez, who convinces her to close her eyes and fantasize that she is with Chris, in order for her to become adequately aroused.
Despite sleeping with each other, their relationship further deteriorates as she fails to move on from her ex-boyfriend's death and she is consequently admitted to a clinic. Later on, Changez discovers that Erica has gone missing.
In his professional life, Changez impresses his peers and gets support by his superiors, specially his boss Jim, the person who holds him in high esteem. The firm sends him on offshore assignments to the Phillippines and Chile. Meanwhile, in the global scenario, there is a lot...
...Hamid suggests that in difficult times people and nations retreat into nostalgia. How is this explored in the novel?
Mohsin Hamid's one man monologue narrative 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist' provide us with an interesting insight of the difficult times faced, in the past and present of the novel's protagonist Changez. It is considered that 'nostalgia' has a audacious effect on the main characters of the novel, and most unrecognisably, the United States of America. Throughout the novel it is suggested that the theme of nostalgia shown through the characters and the country, is brought upon by strenuous events and occurrences that are implemented on each character differently and somewhat the same. When the theme is drawn to a close, Hamid's intentions are to show the victims different perceptions, giving the readers a clear view of how nostalgia is portrayed in the novel, what nostalgia really is, and the surroundings of nostalgia revolving around Changez. The course of the Reluctant Fundamentalist, presents how the characters, nor the country, can resist the changes that occur in this dynamic cycle of life. The changes of all victims, are inevitable, therefore it is required they accept the changes, and resort back to nostalgia as fond memories that have been shared. Although, nostalgia is sometimes progressively dangerous and cannot, be accepted or overcome.
In the delivery of the theme it is obvious that nostalgia is the result of...
...It is Changez’s shifting identity that creates the main interest and tension in the novel. Do you agree?
Throughout Mosin Hamid’s “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” there is a continual undercurrent of tension, with the main point of focus centred on Changez’s shifting identity. This being said, Changez is not the sole focus of the framed novel, with a mix of character’s actions and emotions building up the rise in tension. As the novel is told to us through the words of Changez, he is obviously considered to be the protagonist; the source of a large part of the angst which resonates from the text. Another prominent character in the novel, Erika, pulls away from the complete focus on Changez, adding in on another of the main sources of tension, as well as a part of the reasons for Changez’ change in identity. Another cause of tension comes from The American as well as the waiter, who occur outside of Changez’ narrative and add an undercurrent of mistrust. These characters add to the strain in the text, bringing in suspicion and highlighting many of the issues that Changez raises in his narrative and left ambiguous to allow for interpretation.
From the obvious similarities between Changez’ name and change, it can be seen that Changez himself is a symbol for change. These changes that Changez experiences coincide with his shifting identity. From the outset of his narrative within the novel, Changez can be seen to be ‘hungry for success’, eager to chase after...
The Reluctant Fundamentalist, by Mohsin Hamid, is the sad story of a young man going through an identity crisis. The novel revolves around a Pakistani man, Changez, who just graduated from Princeton University. In the beginning Changez receives a high paying job at a firm that values other companies, and also falls in love with a girl, Erica. His life seems to be going well until the sudden attack on the twin towers causes the whole country to go against his culture and race. The sudden attack also triggers Erica to fall into a deep nostalgia involving her former lover, Chris. As the novel progresses, Changez, torn between being Pakistani or American, tries to figure out who he truly is. During our book club we realized that literature can play a big role on how we view ourselves and our society; each book can play a role in shaping our concept of reality, but how much? We were asked, to what extent does literature shatter our concept of reality? At first I believed that this novel completely reinforced my concept of reality but as we read on, I realized that there were parts of this novel that shattered it too. The Reluctant Fundamentalist reinforces my concept of reality because as cruel as it may sound I know that racism occurs in our world and this novel reinforced that by showing what the Muslim citizens of New York had to endure during the 9/11 phase. However this novel also shatters my concept of reality because although...
...ESL TEXT RESPONSE ESSAY – The Reluctant Fundamentalist
The novel is presented in the form of one man’s monologue. Discuss the
effects of this narrative structure.
‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ by Mohsin Hamid uses the narrative technique monologue, which is a long uninterrupted speech of a character directly addressing another character or the audience. The use of monologue facilitates Hamid’s viewpoints to go across the reader effortlessly. The effect of the usage of monologue is that Hamid engages the reader directly drawing them into the narrative by the creation of a nameless American character who mirrors the audience. Another outcome of using monologue is that it silences American’s point of view and therefore Hamid can present his Pakistani/Muslim perspective. The disadvantage of the monologue is that it presents an unreliable narrator but however, Hamid uses the unreliable narrator as an advantage in his novel to question the Americans about believing everything that American media throws at them. Overall the usage of monologue plays a pivotal role in expressing Hamid’s stand and he utilises this literary technique to his maximum.
First by addressing the nameless American with the second person pronoun “you”, the novel gives the impression of speaking directly to the reader. For instance, when Amir first meets with the nameless American, he says “Excuse me sir, but May I be of assistance? Ah, I see I have alarmed you. Do...
...The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Choose a novel in which one of the main characters struggles with identity or the culture of the environment they live in.
Describe the character’s situation and go on to discuss how it adds to your understanding of the character and the central concerns of the text.
In Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist’, the main character, Changez, struggles to feel comfortable with his true identity throughout the novel. Through Hamid’s use of characterisation and plot structure, he helps us understand the conflict between Changez’s true identity and the identity he creates for himself on his journey from Pakistan to America and back again.
Hamid’s use of characterisation of Changez early in the novel helps us to understand his discomfort with his identity. As he explains his motivations for moving to America and attending Princeton to the American stranger, he reveals his family’s dwindling wealth and status in Pakistan:
“We continue to be invited to the functions and weddings and parties of the cities elite. And we look with a mixture of disdain and envy upon the rising class of entrepreneurs.”
Changez tells the American that his family have always been invited to the elite gatherings in Pakistan, but now due to their dwindling wealth he feels uncomfortable at these events. His ‘disdain and envy’ for the ‘new’ elite imply that he is unsure of his status in the world in which he is part of....
...Changez finds his identity throughout his journey. Discuss.
Did he have identity to start with?
Did he lose his identity throughout his journey?
Changez does find his identity throughout his journey, however, at time he loses himself
and is confused about where he belongs.
Finding his identity: Realisations, moves back to Lahore
Losing his identity: Pretending to be Chris, starts acting like an American (in Philippines)
Confused about his identity: Beard, 9/11 attacks, “Princeton made everything possible…but it did
not, could not, make me forget such things as how much I enjoy the tea in this, the city of my birth”
Mohsin Hamid’s novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist, illustrates the conflicting struggle between
the protagonist Changez and his ongoing pursuit to discover his identity throughout his
peregrination. Through the duration of the novel, the reader is subjected to Changez’s transitioning
character as he endeavours the challenges which are faced by a foreigner in New York during the
terrorist attacks of September 11th. Changez battles with the uncertainty which is bestowed up him
from being both a New Yorker and a Pakistani man, which puts his identity into question. Through
the many events which feature in the novel, the reader is able to deduct that whilst Changez may
lose himself and become perplexed about his identity during his time in New York, he ultimately is
a man who is entrenched in his heritage.
Changez’s odyssey to New...