Mohsin Hamid actively involves the reader in his novel. How does he do this? The Reluctant Fundamentalist, written by Mohsin Hamid, 2007, displays the cultural and social differences in a time shaped with terrorism. It follows the protagonist, Changez, who finds himself alienated from his American life, while being victim of unprecedented prejudice. The novel is displayed in a frame narrative technique using an extended monologue directed towards Changez’s newly met acquaintance known only to the reader as ‘the American’.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist In the text ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ by Mohsin Hamid, the protagonist Changez is slowly revealed as an unreliable narrator through the progression of the framed narrative. Mohsin Hamid has written this piece as an extended monologue and used it create security within the reader and the details of the story, but then slowly shifts the whole situation and little by little continues the development of Changez being an unreliable narrator. Slowly but surely, as the novel progresses, the reader is shown the comparisons that the narrator Changez makes between cultures, the views that he has and racial prejudice he develops towards Americans when talking to the unnamed American tourist. It is also gradually revealed to the reader that Changez has forgotten many details of his story when recounting it, also exaggerating parts and giving his views on certain things, hence making him an unreliable narrator. It is very easy to believe everything that Changez says in the beginning, because of his likeable characteristics, but the more and more one connects with the narrator, the harder it becomes to be so gullible.
PROMPT: “The novel is presented in the form of one man’s monologue. Discuss the effects of the narrative technique.” The ‘Reluctant Fundamentalist’ has a mesmerizing monologue which interprets the point of view of a Muslim and the situations he encounters whilst in America before and after the events of 9/11. The novel takes place in a café where the Pakistani protagonist; Changez confesses to an American his experience whilst living in America. Mohsin Hamid’s (the Author) monologue allows the reader to emotionally connect with the text as it addresses the reader indirectly through the American. Hamid’s narrative technique of silencing all other characters besides Changez is a unique method which allows the reader to feel as if they are a part of the scene.
Jumpa Lahiri’s anthology, “Interpreter of Maladies” is an exploration of emotional anguish, confusion, self-realisation and the ultimate success of human nature reflected in the Indian migrant experience. explores how human beings behave the same and suffer same conflicts from wherever they originate. stories in which she deals with questions of identity, alienation and the plight of those who are culturally displaced. To begin with, the unwillingness to adapt into a new culture will not allow two cultures to live with one another. This stance was clearly built up in Lahiri’s depiction of Mrs Sen, she came to America with her husband, a professor who adjusted himself finely into the new culture and barely had an understanding of her malady- including the fear of learning to drive and finding the equilibrium of facing new life and homesickness.
Changez initially places his identity within the context of fulfilling his personal American Dream. When Changez arrives in America he envies everything the country represents, freedom, patriotism and pride. He ‘immediately [was] a New Yorker” assimilating himself into the New York culture. Changez relinquishes his ‘Pakistaniness’ in order to fit in with his Underwood Sampson colleges ‘my Pakistaniness was invisible, cloaked by my suit, by my expense account.’ ‘Unsheathing’ his American Express card as though it was a rare commodity at the Pun Jab Deli expressing ‘I have an expense account’ is a subtle sign of the change within in Changez as he becomes more like a New Yorker, consequently though the card was not accepted. As there were aspects of Changez sacrificing himself to achieve the American dream there is also examples of his true feelings about the façade he comes to understand the American dream to be.
Changez's journey is personal as well as political.Do you agree? ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ is a dramatic monologue, half -conversation and half story, a complex and engaging puzzle which challenges readers about the very nature of fundamentalism. The protagonist, Changez, is a Pakistani who makes his home in the elite and prestigious world of New York city with an established and respected American identity. At the beginnning of his personal life journey, and as a self professed ‘lover’ of America , he sees his newly adopted ‘home’ as a place of "possibility"and "magical vibrancy",and his relationship with Erica is a symbolic measure of his loyalty to America. However, during a series of psychologically confronting events, Changez’s understanding of his inner world is gradually transformed, and he eventually accepts that he belongs in Pakistan.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist Prompt: In what ways does Hamid use symbolism and setting to explore the main themes of the novel? ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ by Mohsin Hamid is a dramatic monologue in which Changez, a Pakistani man recounts the tale of his brief and torrid love affair with America to an anonymous American whose responses can only be heard through Changez’ verbalized perceptions. The novel revolves around Changez’s changing identity as he struggles with his fluctuating allegiances to America and Pakistan during the aftermath of the terrorist bombings on September 11, 2001. Hamid uses setting as a tool to demonstrate the different stages in Changez’s personal development and discovery of his own identity. He also created a symbolic connection between Erica, Changez’s love interest and America, partnered with his purposeful use of setting in order to demonstrate the destructive nature of nostalgia.
What attracted me to this book was the way the author expressed each occurrence in his rediscovery of America in a comical way. Especially when Mr. Bryson starts comparing differences between America and its citizens, and England and its citizens, in a way it was never done before. He manages to describe some incidents in detail, and also hits out at America’s way of life. He points out
“ I was never an American. I was immediately a New Yorker” How is Changez’s sense of identity altered over the course of the novel? In Mohsin Hamid’s novel “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” the narrator Changez is confronted with the public’s perception of his identity of whether he is a Pakistani man or an American. He exhorts some particular characteristics all the time while others only come to the surface towards the end. With the novel being written as a monologue we discover how Changez feel throughout his life experiences in America as a Pakistani man.
This happens mainly because the imperial politicians try to create identity problems and use it as a weapon against the colonies. And after the colonies get rid of the imperialist power, they have to make efforts to regain their lost identity and culture along with incorporating ideas of a new culture. They try to earn their lost status again. Here, I will be dealing with the Indian and Pakistani Muslims, in particular. I will also discuss their literature and how they use it to express their reactions to what is happening to them in the outside world.