How and why does Changez change?

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Mohsin Hamid’s “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” focuses on the consequences of the “9/11” attack in America on individuals and society as a whole. The main character, Changez, changes significantly as the story unfolds. At the beginning, he is depicted as a ‘lover’ of America and is determined to become wealthy, even though he is not entirely at ease. After the destruction of the World Trade Centre and the subsequent racist assaults, his attitude changes dramatically and he becomes embittered and disillusioned. Eventually he abandons his career and returns to Lahore, becoming an anti-American activist but still appearing to hanker after the capitalist lifestyle. Therefore, Changez slowly alters as his name suggests.

Initially, Changez is a strong supporter of the capitalist system, as epitomised by America. He is thrilled to be studying at Princeton University, which is “a dream come true” for him as it leads him to feel “everything was possible”. Hamid portrays Changez as a hard-working individual as shown by the fact that he is proud he is “yet to receive a single B” and will graduate “Summa cum laude”. Despite his skin colour, he is “confident” he will obtain “any job (he) wanted”. He is thrilled to work at Underwood Samson which represents “the achievements of the most technologically advanced civilisation our species had ever known”. This company represents as the epitome of capitalism as it profits at the expense of other businesses. Hamid also uses its name to signify that it represents the United States. At this point, Changez believes this employer “had the potential to transform [his] life [and] [make] [his] concerns about money and status things of distant past”. He feels “empowered” working “on the forty-first and forty-second floors” of Underwood Samson, which is significant since tall towers and sky-scrapers are used by Hamid as a symbol of America’s supreme self-confidence about the success of capitalism, and its right to dominate the world. For

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