“The Reluctant Fundamentalist” – Where to belong?
An analysis of the relationship between Erica and Changez & Changez’ development
What is a reluctant fundamentalist? To be reluctant is to have feelings of aversion. A fundamentalist is one who holds on to any set of principles. Then the term of being a reluctant fundamentalist is somewhat an ironic term in this context, because our main character is a person who is not sure what beliefs he should adhere to. The novel “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” is written by Mohsin Hamid and was published in 2007. Our main character, Changez, struggles to find his identity between being an American or Pakistani through certain events in his life. The main character, Changez makes his home in the prestigious world of New York City with a respected American identity. At the beginning of the novel, Changez describes his new life in America as coming home and as a place of possibilities and vibrancy. During a series of psychologically confronting events and his understanding of his gradual transformation, Changez accepts that he belongs in Pakistan. His “American dream” is over. It is a long and difficult task for Changez, as he seeks to discover “himself” between his personal and political ideology. With the strict and disciplined focus on economic fundamentals and efficiency, Changez is attracted by this pursuit of economic wealth, and his sense of self-satisfaction and pride makes him a proud member of the “American Dream”: “Yes, I was happy in that moment. I felt bathed in a warm sense of accomplishment. Nothing troubled me; I was a young New Yorker with the city at my feet.” (p. 51, l. 11-13). His transformative journey soon forces him to begin to explore and understand his identity on a deeper level. This searching primarily plunges Changez into a deep degree of misery and disappointment, until he recognizes that he needs to return to his homeland, Pakistan. Both literally and metaphorically, which is the centre...
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