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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 576
  • Category: Novel

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1.The Reluctant Fundamentalist shows us that people are connected just as much by fear and anger as they are by love. To what extent is this true? In the novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Mohsin Hamid, suggests that a world where fear and suspicion dominate the landscape is an unhealthy one. The main characters have mutual doubts and a lack of trust despite the warmth that exists between them. This disconnection is partly fuellled by fear that comes from a world, where the pursuit of political differences and economic fundamentalism, has driven races apart. Anger also emanates from a world where people and places are dominated by bigger or stronger or richer countries and so resentments are born. Hamid’s use of dramatic monologue intensifies the sense of alarm and suspicion between the ‘anatagonists’ yet perhaps the author is suggesting, that this climate of fear is not justified.

2.‘You are a watchful guy. You know where it comes from?… It comes from feeling out of place…’ Changez is not the only outsider in The Reluctant Fundamentalist-every character is an outsider. Do you agree? Mohsin Hamid’s novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist suggests that the world people exist in is alienating for a variety of reasons. People are disconnected by fear and anger, by loneliness and sadness, by religion and politics. And by external and internal issues. The consequence is a world where a sense of home can be hard to find. Thus people often assume the role of the outsider. In Hamid’s novel, Changez, whilst being a ‘lover ‘of America becomes increasingly outside it after 9/11. His colleagues at Underwood Samson can also be seen to be on the fringes because of economic or racial grounds. Even the epitome of American success, Erica, struggles to find a home in a world of grief.

3.The Reluctant Fundamentalist shows us that understanding our identity is more fundamental than money, power or love. Discuss. Changez, the main character in The Reluctant Fundamentalist, the complex novel by Mohsin Hamid, comes from an elite background although the family no longer have financial power. He is therefore understandably lured to the bright modernity of New York in search of wealth and recognition. Whilst he is initially thrilled by the ‘skyscrapers’, Changez is exposed to people and places in the course of his job that lead him to examine his actions and beliefs. The Pakistani national finds, through crucial political incidents in his world and to his surprise, that some things are of greater value than money. Changez learns, through his involvement with Erica, the privileged American beauty , that relationships hold an important place in his life, but that they also help to clarify where he belongs.

4. Mohsin Hamid actively involves the reader in his novel and uses a variety of techniques to create tension. Discuss. The Reluctant Fundamentalist uses a variety of narrative strategies that contribute to the novel’s atmospheric world. The dramatic monologue employed by Hamid, means there is only one voice heard throughout the entire novel. The teasing conversation that Changez conducts with the American engages the reader in the mocking, possibly sinister action. Hamid composes a story within a story that sets up a tension between the past and the present , the dark and the light, the East and the West. By using metaphorical and symbolic techniques, the action is intensified and imbued with greater meaning and so sets the reader more on edge.

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