This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Reluctant Fundamentalist Essay

1364 words - 6 pages

Identity is as much about public perception as it is self-perception. In Mohsin Hamid’s novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist the reader is confronted with this fact in a bid to understand what it means to be American and Pakistani. The narrator Changez is unsure of who he is, and whilst certain personality traits remain, his sense of identity is changed significantly by the novel’s conclusion. Through the use of a dramatic monologue Changez is able to explore how he sees himself as he attempts to clarify his experiences in America. The use of allegory further enhances the story as Hamid also questions the identity of America and Pakistan as nations and provides a controversial ending to trap ...view middle of the document...

He attempts to stand out in Greece to impress Erica and at Princeton so that he is likely to secure a successful employment. He represses his Pakistani culture in Manila and his delight at seeing “America so visibly brought to her knees”, knowing this to be “unacceptable to [his] colleagues.” His sense of identity is shown to be something he has consciously changed, though this doesn’t make him feel any less ashamed at his lack of dignity in trying to “act and speak… more like an American.” In this light he is a sympathetic character as he is clearly at the mercy of his reliance on how others see him and relies strongly on being loved by others.

Further-to-this, he is brutally honest about his sexual encounters with Erica as he pretends to be Chris in order to have sex with her. This causes the American to look at him “with a degree of revulsion”, a response likely shared by the reader. This frankness shows that his sense of identity has improved since he returned to Lahore. That his identity is “so fragile” since he can impersonate Chris to his own ends is cause for suspicion however, and he attempts to predict others’ perceptions of him throughout his monologue. He claims it is unlikely he did Erica any harm in this since “surely I could not have known what would happen” to her later. He acknowledges to the American that he “lacked a stable core”, perhaps recognizing the confusion he felt at this stage of his life. Hamid uses this scene to show both the selfishness of his ego and the extreme lengths he will go to be one with Erica. Read as an allegory, his shame and dissatisfaction leads him to conclude that he is uncomfortable with pretending to be American and ultimately the country rejects him in the same manner Erica’s body does. Despite his great endeavor to prove himself worthy of the role of American student, businessman and lover, he admits to the American he tried to ignore the “impending destruction of [his] personal American dream.” He mourns this by explaining that America was “a religion that would not accept me as a convert.” His sense of identity is greatly influenced by the public’s perception of him and his difference to the average American, so much so that he is admits he “was never an American.”

His environment further alters his identity; allowing Hamid to emphasize the impact place has on one’s sense of self. He is “immediately a New Yorker” as he is comfortable in celebrating his Pakistani heritage, between the deli, Urdu-speaking cab drivers and Erica’s enjoyment of his “exoticness.” In Manila he finds himself sharing their “third-world sensibilities”, and he realizes for the first time how “white” his coworkers are. He symbolizes this by refusing to shave his beard after being in Pakistan, almost as a way to make up for his shameful actions elsewhere. These eye-opening experiences lead to him see America through foreign eyes- the disgusted look of the cab driver in Manila resonates with him, as does his...

Other Papers Like The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Unethical Practice Essay

5078 words - 21 pages Western model, the opportunity to spread Islamic ideology to non-Muslims increases. According to Sheik Yousef Al Quardawi (a leading Sunni cleric, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, and head of the fundamentalist European Council for Fatwa and Research), the introduction of Islamic banking into the West will be the vehicle through which Islam will establish a caliphate (Islamic government rule based on the Quran) throughout the world

Egyptian Revolution Essay

2972 words - 12 pages institutions the Mubarak regime was able to create and renovate elite interest groups to help serve the stability of the authoritarian state, according to the middle east channel . These organisations were employed to reduce rival power centres by merging power in the hands of those dependent on the regime. The regime was thereby able to cripple the opposition and feed supporters by empowering a socio-political elite reluctant to push for any real

Foreign Policy of Pakistan Under General Musharraf

3769 words - 16 pages detested antagonist”1 Before 9/11 he was perceived as a military dictator who should announce and abide by a road map for the restoration of democracy. Since then his status has been transformed. The Western world has a stake in his survival. This status has been assiduously cultivated by Musharraf who has projected his regime as the only reliable defence against a fundamentalist takeover in Pakistan. “Since many Western and other

About Lahore

5780 words - 24 pages Kipling, novelist in English, author of Kim Bapsi Sidhwa, novelist in English, author of Cracking India and The Crow Eaters Mohsin Hamid, novelist in English, author of Moth Smoke and The Reluctant Fundamentalist See also Kasur, a brother city of Lahore Category Lahore in Commons External links Dictionary definitions from Wiktionary Textbooks from Wikibooks Quotations from Wikiquote Source texts from Wikisource Images and media from

Freedom And Responsibility

2141 words - 9 pages Built within the Constitution of the United States are specifically defined freedoms that are guaranteed to all citizens. Conversely, with every constitutional freedom there comes a corresponding responsibility. On September 25, 1789, the state legislature’s twelve proposed amendments were transmitted by congress, the first two dealing with congressional representation and congressional pay. The following numbers three through twelve were

Hate Crime Laws

2348 words - 10 pages On June 7, 1998, 49-year-old James Byrd Jr. of Texas accepted a ride from three white men, who then beat him severely, urinated on him, chained him by his ankles to the back of their pick-up truck, dragged him for three miles into the countryside, and dumped his corpse in front of an African-American cemetery (Graczyk). A little over a year later, a jury sentenced ring leader John King to death by lethal injection (“Man Executed for Dragging

Rational Emotional Behavior Therapy Case Study Conceptualization And Treatment Plan

2140 words - 9 pages Rational Emotional Behavior Therapy Case Study of Sarah: A Conceptualization and Treatment Plan Rational emotive behavior therapy, REBT, was developed by Albert Ellis and holds the central belief that the events in our lives do not cause our disturbances but that they are instead caused by our view of the events (Murdock, 2009). Murdock (2009) states that “people are seen as responsible for their behavior” (p. 279) but, because they are

Holidays In Albania

1636 words - 7 pages Have you ever thought about having exciting and incredibly cheap vacations? Albania might be the right choice. According to My Travel Guide, Albania is ranked the fourth among ten places worth visiting in Eastern Europe (“Top 10 Eastern European Destinations”). One can encounter three kinds of vacations in this Mediterranean country: winter, summer, and cultural. The ideal places to spend your winter vacations are the Albanian Alps. They are

A Heart Of Darkness

1748 words - 7 pages In this short story, there are frequent significant subject and ideas that make the story, "A Heart of Darkness," by Joseph Conrad, and haunting novel. The main theme is absolute white power over the natives. The theme validates the corruption, and the dependence caused by the white people as they took over the Congo. White men were giving all the power; they had no self-control, and in the end they did not use wisely. The white men became

The Aspects Of Vulnerability Among The Exploited In Medical Research

2287 words - 10 pages Essentially, everyone is in some state of vulnerability. However, some of us are more susceptible to harm due to our vulnerabilities. The susceptible are the individuals with the greatest risk. These individuals risk the loss of their autonomy, and maybe even their lives. Vulnerable populations can be found in every subset of society. However, as previously mentioned, there are some vulnerable populations that are at an even greater risk than

The Hitchhiker’S Guide To The Galaxy

1171 words - 5 pages The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy As the human race makes life-changing discoveries, it is made apparent that there is always more to learn as the universe, instead of becoming familiar, is becoming absurd. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, written by Douglas Adams, as well as the 2005 film adaption, portrays absurdity to be an all-encompassing system in the universe. Through the introduction and attempt to understand lack of reason

Related Essays

Tension In The Reluctant Fundamentalist Essay

1037 words - 5 pages ‘Mohsin Hamid uses a variety of strategies to create tension in the novel’ The Reluctant Fundamentalist uses a variety of narrative strategies and literary techniques to create a tension throughout the novel. Even before one has begun reading, The Reluctant Fundamentalist plays on the reader’s prejudices about the word ‘fundamentalist’. One of the striking elements of this novel is that, despite its title, there is almost no

Book Report On The Reluctant Fundamentalist

1014 words - 5 pages Book Report on The Reluctant Fundamentalist This book report based on the Novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist is written to Mile. I’m quite interested into this novel, in which the hero, Changez, pursue his American dream as a Pakistani man. He works as hard as the Americans and is employed by one of the prestigious countries in America. While with the outbreak of 9/11 event, people in Islamic world are labelled as terrorists

Reluctant Fundamentalist Essay

578 words - 3 pages BODY PARAGRAPH 1- Although years may pass and you as an individual victim have survived, the scars will remain as a persistent reminder of struggles faced. When we talk about suicide bombing, we initially think of places such as Afghanistan, Israel and Bali. This is often a result of military conflict, or a political struggle. Designed to grasp attention while also performing a great deal of damage and harm. The result can be multiple deaths

Metaphor Use Essay

1749 words - 7 pages ENGL124 Literature Analysis Nov.11 2014 The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a novel written by Mohsin Hamid, set in the year following 9/11, constructed through a conversation between a Pakistani named Changez and an unnamed American in a café in Lahore.. The Reluctant Fundamentalist uses a variety of narrative strategies that contribute to the novel’s atmospheric world. This essay is going to focus on the metaphorical and symbolic