Is Changez ‘reluctant’ as the title suggests? Mohsin Hamid’s 2007 novel , “The reluctant fundamentalist” recounts a Pakistani migrant’s (to America) encounters and battle with the American dream. Changez, the protagonist portrays himself as enthusiastic and impressionable in the early stages of the novel, willing to embrace his new life however through progression he begins to become reluctant, in aspects of his life as the title suggest. Whether it be his hesitation towards actively perusing his ideal girl, held back by fear, or the development in his career, inhibiting him from being able to focus solely on the fundamentals. These various experiences force Changez to battle with his identity, his previously solid perception of himself is uplifted when he forcibly tries to live the American dream and is rejected.
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. His love affair with the"dream"-America is over. Nevertheless, it is a long and arduous task for Changez, as he seeks to discover a sense of his own self and of the internal connections between his personal and political ideology. Changez's life journey encompasses his understanding of the need for spiritual development.As a"reluctant fundamentalist", Changez is forced to strip back the layers of his personal and professional life to see his situation with more clarity. This new clarity also reveals something fundamental about America that he, and perhaps readers, must come to terms with in the course of the novel.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist Character Summaries Changez * A Pakistani from Lahore, Pakistan who graduated at the top of his class at Princeton University. * Changez attended Princeton University on financial aid. * Changez worked for Underwood Samson & Company * Like at Princeton University, Changez is also at the top of his class at Underwood Samson & Company. * Changez was in love with Erica, a Princeton classmate who he met on his vacation to Greece. * Changez deliberately gets fired from Underwood Samson & Company because he fundamentally opposed to Underwood Samson’s ethos of ‘maximum efficiency.’ The American * The American is never named.
The plot of The Reluctant Fundamentalist [pic]is quite simple. Changez, a young Pakistani who was educated at Princeton and worked on Wall Street, is telling his story to a nameless American he meets in a restaurant in Lahore. Changez is both fascinated and repelled by America that offered him an education and a lucrative job but at the same time, made his life intolerable in a multitude of ways. Changez's uneasy relationship with America is mirrored by his equally painful involvement with a woman called Erica. (As you can see, Hamid is quite heavy-handed with the way he names his characters.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Moshin Hamid is a dramatic monologue that, is half-conversation and half story, this allows a complex and engaging puzzle which challenges readers about the very nature of fundamentalism. At the beginning of his personal life journey, and as a self professed lover of America, Changez sees his newly adopted home as a place of possibility and ‘magical vibrancy’, his loyalty to America is the catalyst to his personal American dream. However, during a series of psychologically confront events, such as 9/11, Changez’s understanding of his inner world is gradually transformed, and he eventually accepts that he belongs in Pakistan. His love affair with the dream is over. Changez initially places his identity within the context of fulfilling his personal American Dream.
To what extent does Changez’s failed relationship with Erica mirror his relationship with America? Through his novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist, author Mohsin Hamid provides readers with two unique tales of a man’s relationship with a country and a woman, and shows them both crumble as though mirroring one another. This ‘mirror image’ becomes evident as each relationship passes through three significant stages. In the beginning, Changez is extremely happy to be living his American dream and is subsequently quite pleased with his budding relationship with Erica, however, as time progresses Erica is taken by a nostalgia in the same way America is. Moreover, both relationships Changez holds reach an end at the same place and time by means of a series of epiphanies.
Whilst living in America, Changez struggles to find his true self and where he really belongs. Changez creates a new beginning for himself in New York and has earned himself a well-paying job at a valuation firm, Underwood Samson and Company. He came from a family of “great wealth”, but they were “not rich”, unlike most people at the firm of Underwood Samson. Princeton University and Underwood Samson gave Changez a new sense of power and “the potential to change is life” which made him grow for success and money. Changez states “my life was a film in which I was the star and everything was possible.” This is all at the beginning of the novel where Changez loves the idea of living in New York and adapting to his new life.
Changez does ﬁnd his identity throughout his journey, however, at time he loses himself and is confused about where he belongs. Ideas: Finding his identity: Realisations, moves back to Lahore Losing his identity: Pretending to be Chris, starts acting like an American (in Philippines) Confused about his identity: Beard, 9/11 attacks, “Princeton made everything possible…but it did not, could not, make me forget such things as how much I enjoy the tea in this, the city of my birth” Mohsin Hamid’s novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist, illustrates the conﬂicting struggle between the protagonist Changez and his ongoing pursuit to discover his identity throughout his peregrination. Through the duration of the novel, the reader is subjected to Changez’s transitioning character as he endeavours the challenges which are faced by a foreigner in New York during the terrorist attacks of September 11th. Changez battles with the uncertainty which is bestowed up him from being both a New Yorker and a Pakistani man, which puts his identity into question. Through the many events which feature in the novel, the reader is able to deduct that whilst Changez may lose himself and become perplexed about his identity during his time in New York, he ultimately is a man who is entrenched in his heritage.
Montague Co. was a relatively small, recently-established subsidiary of a larger US corporation seeking to gain a foothold in the UK consultancy market and already had a handful of important clients, mainly the subsidiaries of other US multinationals courtesy of its parent company, since it was established two years ago. In each year since it had grown and having taken on graduates on an ad hoc basis previously, Scott was to be among its first cohort of graduates on its graduate development programme. The main reason that Scott had chosen Montague was that he considered the firm to represent the best match between himself, the type of work he wanted to be doing, the type of company he wanted to work for and the type of career he wanted to establish. Montague’s website and its recruitment material had made great play of how dynamic, innovative and ambitious the firm was and, particularly important to Scott, the fact that it considered itself to be both an ‘employee-focused employer’
The novel implies that even though Changez is later ambivalent about his connection with America, he loves certain aspects of America. On Changez’s return to Pakistan for good, despite his painful experiences with Erica, the Corporate culture and the Post 9/11 hostility, he still ‘tends to become sentimental when [he thinks] of [America]. It still occupies a place of great fondness in [his] heart’. While talking to the American he recalls that ‘surely, by night, New York is one of the greatest sights in the world’. Throughout the novel, Changez reminisces on certain aspects of America, such as ‘American popcorn shrimp’ and significant landmarks such as the ‘expressive beauty of the Empire State Building.’ Despite the traumatic and confronting experiences Changez faces in his ‘4 and a half’ year stay in New York, he still longs for certain parts of the American culture.