“Why does Changez feel out of place in both America and Pakistan?”
Mohsin Hamid’s first-person novel “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” details the fictional story of a young Pakistani man is chasing corporate success on Wall Street, and suddenly finds himself embroiled in a conflict between his American dream and the unrelenting tug of his ties to his homeland. After being inducted into the corporate world of America when beginning work at Underwood Sampson, the novels protagonist, Changez becomes disenchanted with, or unable to identify with Pakistan, whereas after the event of 9/11, Changez slowly became more critical of America and its actions and treatment of him and other Muslims, eventually causing him to develop a strong allegiance with his fellow Muslims in Pakistan and its neighbouring countries; Changez feels a sense of displacement in both America and Pakistan, as a result of America’s changing perception of him before and after 9/11.
Around the beginning of the novel as he divulges his story to the American, Changez describes how Manhattan seemed to embrace him; in chapter 3 Changez’s nostalgic recollections of his initial impressions of New York indicate that he felt very much the opposite of out of place: “For me, moving to New York felt –so unexpectedly-like coming home.” (page 36). “…I was immediately a New Yorker.”(page 37). However his comments did include comparisons between Pakistan and New York, and he tells the American that such comparisons troubled him as to be reminded of “this vast disparity, was, for me, to be ashamed”. This vast difference in the technological and industrial development between America and Pakistan had at this point begun to prompt Changez’s inadvertent disengagement from Pakistan, as he then went on to state: “On that day, I did not think of myself as a Pakistani, but as an Underwood Samson trainee, and my firm’s impressive offices made me proud”(page 38). As Changez’s time at Underwood Sampson and in New...
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