The Unreliable Narrator

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In The Reluctant Fundamentalist, the narrator is a very pleasing, intelligent individual named Changez. Changez is speaking with an unnamed American man throughout the entire novel, and is doing so without the conversational input of the American. In other words, this novel is one strung out monologue, seeing as Changez is the only one to speak or think. This puts the reader in a situation in which he or she has no other choice but to listen to the narrator and take everything that he says at face value. It is very easy to believe everything that Changez says in the beginning, but the more and more one connects with the narrator, the harder it becomes to be so gullible.

Changez is a young Muslim man with an intense resume consisting of a flawless Princeton education and a highly grossing finance job with a well-respected firm. The stories of his time in America and encounters along the way seem like an innocent attempt to make conversation with an American man that is obviously not familiar with his surroundings. Changez is an extremely well-spoken young man and is very personable when dealing with the American. He is very likable and has a mouthful of stories from his travels that he gladly shares with the American man. The real reason for Changez’s initial approach to the American is unknown, so one assumes he is just a very hospitable and gentle-natured person. As the story gets deeper and deeper into Changez’s life, one discovers his feelings towards the man and his country might not be so innocent and friendly.

There are two instances in The Reluctant Fundamentalist where Changez’s truthfulness is in serious doubt, and where one might wonder if Changez is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, so to speak. On page one hundred and eighteen, Changez is talking about a near violent incident with a man after work in the parking lot. He describes the situation, from the initial flaring of tempers to the, minus the swearing, peaceful ending. After the...
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