The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Outsiders

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Changez is not the only outsider in The Reluctant Fundamentalist- every character is an outsider. Discuss. Mohsin Hamid’s dramatic monologue, The Reluctant Fundamentalist tells the story of a young Pakistani man who is consumed by the status of America and becomes immersed in the American way of life. However it is through his recount that we are able to see that he is not the only outsider, but similarly his work colleagues and his one true love are outcasts in their own right. Changez’ failed persistence to fit in and adopt the American culture causes him to waste many years of his life as an outsider. Likewise, it is only Jim’s willingness to change to causes him to gain acceptance in the American culture, although it is clear that he too is an outcast in his own unique way. Erica is consumed by her nostalgic past, and chooses to distance herself from society in order to live in her nostalgic past. While Changez works tirelessly to be accepted as an American, he is only ever recognised as an outsider. Changez’ continual determination shows us that he is never accepted by those around him. Hence he must continually prove himself in order to feel accepted even though he is an outcast. Before the events of 9/11 the narrator states that Changez “was never an American, but I was instantly a New Yorker.” Initially Changez feels comfortable in New York, a very multicultural place, yet as a result of September 11, New York loses its identity and independence and becomes a part of America again, and with it Changez loses his sense of belonging. Furthermore, through one of Changez’ epiphanies it is made clear that he is in no way similar to his American colleagues. “I felt at that moment much closer to the Filipino driver than to him.” It is through this epiphany the author demonstrates that Changez has never really been adopted as an American. As Juan Battista

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