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The Relutant

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The reluctant fundamentalist is written by Mohsin Hamid and was published in 2007 exploring the resulting of Americans attitude towards Muslims after the September 11 attacks (9/11). The novel is presented as a monologue, Hamid made the novel shift between the past and the present. Changez, the protagonist, is an articulate and highly intelligent Pakistani who struggles with his identity in the novel. He pursues Underwood Samson’s policy of “focus on the fundamentals” and “maximum effectiveness”. Some irritating questions start to prick Changez’s conscience; he wonders about those who lose their livelihoods in the search. To some people it means Muslim, Islamic, terrorist, Hamid makes readers question their definition of the word The Reluctant Fundamentalist. The title of the novel perhaps indicates that there is a side of our main character, Changez who wishes that belonging to a different racial group wasn’t so clear cut. Changez would be happier finding a place in both Pakistan and America. Erica’s father raises the issue of fundamentalism in pg.63.

His comment represents American stereotyping of Islamic countries. Changez struggles to find his identity between being an American or Pakistani through certain events in his life. Changez makes his home in the important 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. During a series of confronting events and his understanding of his slow 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 beliefs. With the strict and restricted focus on economic fundamentals, Changez is attracted by this search 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.

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