The Reluctant Fundamentalist

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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 his goals, and willing to do just about anything to succeed. Changez can also be viewed to be extremely proud, and although Jim says they both ‘came from the tailbone’, and Changez was ‘just like me’, Changez came from a family who was still considered to be of a high social standard, being invited to all the ‘social events’. So although Changez came from a less wealthy family he was ‘on the front step’ as opposed to locked out, meaning that he was desperate to restore his family to their prior, wealthy status...
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