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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

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Taylor Hill

on 28 May 2013

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Transcript of The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The Reluctant
Fundamentalist By: Taylor Hill Summary AP Prompts 2003, Form B 2008 2010 Search for Self Reality and Man's ability
to bear it Minor Character's
illuminating the theme Themes evident
within the novel Throughout the novel Changez is trying to find where he belongs whether it is with his family back in Pakistan, or a successful business man in America. This journey for identity leads to heart break and realization of distraught American values that lead him to return home. Erica plays with Changez's heart the entire novel. She serves as a symbol of the seductiveness of the American dream to Changez and as his relationship with her crumbles so does the pleasant image of a perfect life in America. The reality of the worlds harsh ways and America is hidden to Changez in the beginning of the novel due to his success. After 9/11, Changez is able to see the true colors of America and how harsh it all can be. After a while Changez can not handle the American lifestyle any longer and returns to his home in Pakistan. On his return to America and work, Changez took on the life a rich, successful American. He is excelling in work and continues to see Erica when he accompanies her to parties. Everything seems to be going well until... Changez's relationship with Erica reaches a peak when he successfully makes love with her. Unfortunately, after she falls into a deep depression, unable to repress her feelings caused by her dead boyfriend. As the war continues, Changez is torn between his life in America and his family back in Pakistan. This questioning of self finally reaches a climax during a job in Chile where Changez makes a decision to leave his job at Underwood Samson. Due to his unemployment, Changez returns to his home of Lahore. Before he departs he goes to see Erica one last time but comes to find out she is missing. As a gift, Changez is given her manuscript which unusually doesn't reflect Erica at all. Changez arrives in America as a student of Princeton University, where he studies for a business degree, graduating with high honours and successfully gaining a training contract at top valuation firm Underwood Samson. Upon graduating, Changez goes on a trip to Greece where he meets and soon falls for a girl named Erica. He has strong feelings for her but must keep them hidden for she is still in mourning of her dead first boyfriend. Novels and plays often depict characters caught between colliding cultures-- national, regional, ethnic, religious, institutional. Such collisions can call a character's sense of identity into question. Select a novel or play in which a character responds to such a cultural collision. Then write a well-organized essay in which you describe the character's response and explain its relevance to the work as a whole. In a literary work, a minor character, often known as a foil, possesses traits that emphasize, by contrast or comparison, the distinctive characteristics and qualities of the main character. Choose a novel or play in which a minor character serves as a foil for the main character. Then write an essay in which you analyze how the relation between the minor and major character illuminates the meaning of the work. Select a novel, play, or epic in which a character experiences such a rift and becomes cut off from "home." whether that home is the character's birthplace, family, homeland, or other special place. Then write an essay in which you analyze how the character's experience with exile is both alienating and enriching, and how this experience illuminates the meaning of the work as a whole. The novel: The Reluctant Fundamentalist
The author: Mohsin Hamid The novel in it self is a narration by the main character, Changez, who is from the country of Pakistan. He tells of his life in America to a unknown American man during an evening in a Lahore café. Thesis: Changez's success in America before and after 9/11 creates a struggle within him between his wealth in the states over the problems occurring back home in Pakistan. Thesis: Changez's love affair with Erica parallels the disjointed process of his romanticism with America which causes his eventual decision to return home and away from America. Thesis: The separation of Changez from his homeland allows him prosperous success in America, that also serves as a means by which he comes to question and turn against American values. Direct Citations:
"Now our cities were largely unplanned, unsanitary affairs, and America had universities with individual endowments greater than our national budget for education. To be reminded of this vast disparity was, for me, to be ashamed" (34).

"I had not shaved my two-week-old beard. It was, perhaps, a form of protest on my part, a symbol of my identity" (130). Direct Citation:
"I met her eyes, and for the first time I perceived that there was something broken behind them, like a tiny crack in a diamond that becomes visible only when viewed through a magnifying lens; normally it is hidden by the brilliance of the stone" (52).

"The destruction of the World Trade Center had, as she had said, churned up old thoughts that had settled in the manner of sediment to the bottom of a pond; now the waters of her mind were murky with what previously had been ignored" (83). Direct Citation:
"There really could be no doubt: 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 and was perhaps even colluding to ensure that my own country faced the threat of war" (152).

"Moreover I knew from my experience as a Pakistani-of alternating periods of American aid and sanctions-that finance was a primary means by which the American empire exercised its power. It was right for me to refuse to participate any longer in facilitating this project of domination; the only surprise was that I had required so much time to arrive at my decision" (156). After the 9/11 attack Changez finds life much different. He is questioned and detained at airports because of his nationality and is given dirty looks and mistrusted in the country that he has lived in for so long. This is the turning point of the novel, from when Changez begins to feel uncomfortable in America and starts his revolt against his company and its capitalist values. As the evening draws to a close, Changez offers to walk the American back to his hotel. Along the way he explains that in Lahore he is a university lecturer, and has become something of a mentor for his more politically-minded students, some of whom have been implicated in recent political violence. It becomes apparent that a group of men, including the waiter from the café, are following the American, and despite Changez’s reassurances he appears to be involved in a sinister plot with them. The novel ends ambiguously with the American reaching into his jacket – perhaps for a business card, as Changez suggests, or perhaps for a gun. Topic Sentences:
1. The grander that America presents to Changez in the beginning of the novel set up a conflict within his mind between his rising success and his families slow departure down the class hierarchy in Lahore.
2. Proceeding the attack on the World Trade Centers, the author depicts a battle for Changez's attention between maintaining wealth and looking out for his family back home.
3. Changez's ultimate decision to return home and write off America convey the final transition from American back to Pakistani fundamentalism. Topic Sentences:
1. Changez first encounter with Erica takes place in the midst of his rising success and immersion into the American culture which serves to draw him in convert his fundamentals.
2. After 9/11, Erica's distance and depression lead to a identity crisis within Changez that includes not only Erica but his life in America as well.
3. At the end of the novel Erica has completely deserted Changez after affecting his life so intensely, such as the American values he once held dear turn to leave him to question and speak against America. Topic Sentences:
1. As Changez becomes further disconnected from his home in Pakistan, the exile provides him a clear mind to focus on work without remorse.
2. Despite his efforts, 9/11 assists in Changez re inclusion of his home back into his life that makes him question America's values in foreign policy and society.
3. Changez's time in America brought him wealth and pain that allows him to grow as a person with greater point of view as he returns to Pakistan. THANK YOU Visuals Cited -"Broken Heart Syndrome." - Healthy & Fit Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 May 2013.
-"Students On Placement Blog." Students On Placement Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 May 2013.
-"Posture, Passion & Fasting – Poised for Prayer." Praying Youth. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 May 2013.
-"Live TV Footage/Coverage of 9/11 (Second Plane Hit, Collapse of Towers) World Trade Center." YouTube. YouTube, 26 Mar. 2010. Web. 28 May 2013.
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