Rf Notes Erica + America

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In many ways, in Mohsin Hamid’s novel The Reluctant fundamentalist, the relationship between Changez and Erica mirrors that the failed love affair between Changez and the United States. Throughout the novel these two idea’s run parallel to each other, for example when Changez and Erica make love she can only accept him if he pretends to be Chris, Not unlike how Changez can only be accepted into America society if he possesses an American degree an American job and supresses his Pakistani identity. Erica’s insularity and introspection provide further parallels to the US. Changez remarks that “she frequently became introspective; it was as though [her friends] presence allowed her to withdraw, to recede a half step inside herself”. Similarly the events of 9/11 cause America to introspective and self-reflective, the combination of fear and patriotism contributing to a narrow self-centred vision of the world. In the same way Erica’s relationship with Changez is self-centred. Her interest in his Pakistani life and childhood seem as only a distraction from her own thoughts, and she is often too preoccupied with her own feelings to consider Changez’. The combination of her introspection and her almost pathological fear of being alone evoke America’s own desire for self-preservation and containment, which paradoxically manifests in an economy that is becoming increasingly dependent on imported goods and resources. Erica’s ‘gravity’ also reflects this parallel between Erica and America, As America is powerfully attracted to migrants which come from all over the globe. In Mohsin Hamid’s novel, the reluctant fundamentalist, there are strong parallels between Changez’ failed love affair with Erica and that with the U.S.
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