The Reluctant Fundamentalist

1465 WordsOct 24, 20126 Pages
It is Changez’s shifting identity that creates the main interest and tension in the novel. Do you agree? Throughout Mosin Hamid’s “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” there is a continual undercurrent of tension, with the main point of focus centred on Changez’s shifting identity. This being said, Changez is not the sole focus of the framed novel, with a mix of character’s actions and emotions building up the rise in tension. As the novel is told to us through the words of Changez, he is obviously considered to be the protagonist; the source of a large part of the angst which resonates from the text. Another prominent character in the novel, Erika, pulls away from the complete focus on Changez, adding in on another of the main sources of…show more content…
At this point Changez has still not entirely let go of his American Dream, until he speaks to Juan Bautista; John the Baptist, who makes him understand the impact his job has on people’s lives. Changez, the ‘modern day janissary’ opens his eyes to the fact that, by serving the economy of his country’s enemy he is indirectly fighting against his people, which sets him on a course to find his true identity, landing him back in Pakistan teaching anti-American views to young Pakistanis. The character and idea of Erika also adds to the tension of the novel, drawing the focus from Changez by exploring the ideas of Nostalgia in America; a largetheme that Hamid wishes to express in his writing. Hamid constructs Erika to be a parallel of America, and as Erika’s condition deteriorates, so does that of America. Erika as a character is deeply troubled, even before her relapse she can be seen to be ‘broken’. Changez’ perception of her though is that she is ‘regal’, which is how he originally viewed America, as a place of opportunity. From the beginning the signs of Erika’s nostalgia are clear, with her description of Chris as ‘old world’, showing her longing for the innocence of childhood and her desire to be back in her paradise with Chris. The inability of Changez to ‘enter her’, and when ‘her body rejects [him]’ are parallels to the way America does not fully accept Changez, who is seen
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