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The Symbolism of Names in the Reluctant Fundamentalist

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Julia Schulz

on 16 December 2013

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Transcript of The Symbolism of Names in the Reluctant Fundamentalist

The Symbolism of Names in "The Reluctant Fundamentalist"
by: Julia Schulz
reference to the character's search for identity
the change the character goes through is emphasized by Hamid's use of foreshadowing
For example:
When Changez is hired by Underwood Samsun he claims that: "Nothing troubled me; I was a young New Yorker with the city at my feet. How soon that would change!" (Page 51)
Changez: "I lacked a stable core. I was not certain where I belonged- in New York, in Lahore, in both, in neither..." (Page 168)
From considering himself a "New Yorker"
...he becomes a leader of "anti- American" movements in Pakistan
Genghis Khan...
was a well-known Mongolian emperor and warrior who invaded Arab- Muslim Civilization
During Changez's interview with Jim:
"Possibly, ancient warriors did something similar before they went into battle..." (Page 14)
...are christian boys captured by Muslims as children, brainwashed and then sent to fight against their own empires as adults...
"I was a modern day janissary, a servant of the American empire at a time when it was invading a country with a kinship to mine..." (Page 173)
Genghis Khan
Underwood Samsun
Underwood Samsun = U.S.
- symbolizes the U.S.A's merciless pursuit of money and profit
"Maximum return was the maxim to which we returned..." (Page 41)
Shell wants to exploit the shores of Alaska for its oil through the process of offshore drilling
in doing so, they undeniably threaten the delicate ecosystem within the region
Bowhead Whale
Underwood Samsun
Polar Bear
"stunningly regal"
"lioness: strong and sleek"
She appears flawless on the outside...
"I perceived that there was something broken behind them, like a tiny crack in diamond..." (Page 59)
Chris as Christ
The Relationship between Chris, Erica and Changez
The American
The American remains anonymous (an Enigma)
"...I can see you quite clearly as you stand there with your hand in your jacket. I assure you: no one will attempt to steal your wallet." (Page 69)
Juan Bautista
John the Baptist
Jesus' cousin who baptizes people in the river Jordan and reveals that Jesus is the messiah

Reveals Changez his mission, just like John the Baptist revealed the mission of Jesus to the world.
"... I was clearly on the threshold of great change; only the final catalyst was now required..."(pg. 170)
The relationship between Changez and the American reflects the relationship between Muslim and American countries after 9/11
The names are Metaphor's themselves...
"I had to choose whether to continue to try to win her over or to accept her wishes and leave, and in the end I chose the later." (Page 155)
After 9/11, Erica claims: "The attack churned up old thoughts in my head" (Page 91)
and their Implication in Changez's Story.
Full transcript