The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Topics: United States, Mohsin Hamid, Pakistan Pages: 2 (880 words) Published: April 6, 2014
Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist follows the journey of a young Pakistani man and his journey after moving to America in search of the American dream. Changez is in a minority group when moving to America and is a clear outsider however he is accepted into American meritocracy and given the opportunity to become ‘a successful American’. Though he tries to fit into what he believes a successful American should be, through changing his identity according to the standards of society, he is never truly accepted as an American. This questioning of identity leads him to also lose sight of who he was as a Pakistani, causing him to feel like a foreigner when going back to his homeland. After the 9/11 bombings Changez makes a decision to stop attempting to fit in as an American and instead proudly stands out as an outsider. The two conflicting identities, Pakistani and American, are not able to work cohesively together leading to Changez becoming an outsider in both America and his homeland Pakistan. Despite the extent to which Changez attempted to change himself in order to fit in as an American, he was always an outsider. As only one out of the “two non-Americans in the entering class at Princeton”, Changez was immediately part of a minority group. After visiting Manila Changez makes a conscious decision to “speak and act like an American, as much as [his] dignity [would] allow him.” Though he did this to become more of a typical American he still feels a stronger connection to a Filipino taxi driver in Manila than the American’s he was associating with noting “his fair hair” and thinking “He was so foreign and [he] felt much closer to the Filipino driver than to him. Much like his first sexual encounter with Erica, Changez is rejected by America. Even after telling Erica to “pretend he is Chris” their sexual encounter still has “violent undertones” and though he’s attempted to change his identity to fit what is wanted by Erica he is still not able to be...
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