Empires and their self destructive nature.
Empires often self destruct because they over reach themselves, they alienate their own citizens or lose control of their colonies. The novel refers to the British and Moghul empires but it is the American empire that is the focus of the novel. Erica is one of the symbols of this empire –she has many of its positive traits-beautiful, sexy, creative, popular-celebrity-like. Ameriac has a similar reputation throughout the world-music, film, televison. It has attracted travellers from the rest of the world. Erica declines however just as America will eventually fall as a superpower.
Erica becomes increasingly detached from reality and her grief is slowly killing her.She still looks pretty good on the outside but is crumbling within. Whilst she has exerted a physical presence, the US has controlled others through financial means. Erica’s decline begins with a traumatic event: Chris’s death. She dwells on this and is unable to move on. 9/11 begins the decline of America. America also struggles to move on and turns its grief into a dangerous patriotism. Erica implodes and America explodes-by bombing the heck out of Afghanistan. Instead of targeting specific terrorist groups it indisciminately attacks countries. Thus it has aresponse which is inappropriate. And this response ultimately contributes to its decline. Maybe the country will become detached like Erica and stop taking care of itself.
Nostalgia-poison and salve?
It can be good –Changez remembers his time in America fondly, despite his negative attitude to their foreign policy. It soothes the pain for the former Pakistani elite. ( with consquences). It can ease the pain of loss- Changez longs for American shrimp. He recalls the beauty of the American nation-the Empire State Building, New York at night. We all know the pleasure of looking at a