Reluctant Fundamentalist

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Inquiry Essay
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 we live in a society in which racism exists, it’s shocking for me to hear that innocent people were being kidnapped and thrown into detention centres after the 9/11 attack. The Reluctant Fundamentalist has both reinforced and challenged my concept of reality.

When I was first asked our discussion question the first thing that went through my mind was that the novel completely reinforced my concept of society. I believed this because a big theme in the novel is how America is turning against the Pakistani people and are...
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