Atmosphere and Setting

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The novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid, follows the protagonist Changez’ journey through American business fundamentalism. Hamid utilises a plethora of surroundings that convey specific feelings, throughout the novel to heighten the emotions felt by Changez. This is first evident through New York City’s drastic change from optimistic to hostile, following the 9/11 attacks, which correlates with Changez understanding himself. Further as Changez is through his travels exposed to difference countries such as Greece and the Philippines, he becomes aware of the disparity between Americans and himself. This eventually leading him back to Lahore where he is disgusted to realise that he has become a “foreigner”. Shortly after . time in Valpariso ultimately leaves him disenchanted with American. Hamid creates such environments and atmospheres to amplify Changez conflicting beliefs about his place in America and Pakistan. The changes in atmosphere and setting of New York City, mirror Changez changing attitude towards America and his identity in the milieu of New York City. Before the 9/11 attacks New York is depicted as a society that is diverse, modern and full of opportunity. The city itself exudes a feeling of encouragement and optimistic, welcoming individuals of all cultures. Hamid portrays, the city like this to consequently allow Changez, the protagonist to feel as though he belongs. Changez feel at home, in New York because of the taxi drivers speaking Urdu, the Punjab deli and his skin colour falling "in the middle of the colour spectrum". He remarks that he "never [felt] like an American", but "immediately [felt like] a New Yorker. To Changez, New York offers him an opportunity to achieve the "American dream", it made "everything possible". It is because of these specific feelings that Changez experiences towards New York City, that he is infatuated with America. However after 9/11 New York becomes of city of patriotism and paranoia, much more...
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