The Fundamental

Topics: Islam, Pakistan, Mohsin Hamid Pages: 16 (5554 words) Published: August 10, 2014

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
English Exam Revision 2013

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION
Key statements about the text
The reluctant fundamentalist deals with themes relevant on a global scale and chronicles the rise and fall of Changez’s brief and torrid love affair with the American empire, and explores the notion of the self destructive nature of Empires. The novel additionally traces the dynamic relationship between two unlikely cafe-mates, Changez and the American. The novel is a one sided conversation symbolically forcing America to hear the other. The readers perspective, bias and vies of the world will determine if they associate with Changez or the American, or both. Overall the novel tries to explore the notion of stereotypes ad therefore causes the reader to question and challenge their own views, and perhaps predisposed prejudices. Intention of author

The form of the novel, with the narrator and his audience both acting as characters, allowed me to mirror the mutual suspicion with which America and Pakistan (or the Muslim world) looks at one another. The Pakistani narrator wonders: is this just a normal guy or is her a killer out to get me? The American man who is his audience wonders the same. And this allows the novel to inhibit the interior emotional world much like the exterior political world it which it will be read. The form of the novel is an invitation to the reader. If the accepts, then, he or she will be called up to judge the novel’s outcome and shape its ending.

Characters
Themes
Key Scenes
Changez
The Self Destructive Nature of Empires

Meeting the American
The American
Nostalgia as both Poison and Salve

Meeting Erica
Erica
Homeland as a Non-Transferable Concept
Orientation at Underwood Samson

Juan Bautista
Foreignness as subjective and therefore Universal

The Pak-Punjab Deli
Wainwright
The Many Faces of “Fundamentalism”
Manilla, Philippines
The waiter

The 9/11 attacks
Chris

Changez and Erica have sex
Sherman

Man in parking lot accosts Changez
The Filipino driver

Dinner and Jims house
The cashier

Trip back to Lahore
The nurse

Valparaiso, Chile
The man in the parking lot

Quits job and Underwood Samson

Chuck and Mike

Leaves America to return to Lahore

Erica’s parents

Becomes a University Lecturer and advocates anti-American views

Changez’s family

Mall Road, the final scene

MAIN CHARACTERS
Changez
DESCRIPTION:
Novels narrator and protagonist
Subjective narrator
Name is Urdu for Genghis (Khan) a violent warrior from the 13th Century In one sense name is ironic - mocks the stereotype of the bearded Muslim man as Islamic extremists – not a violent person; states plainly that he is a pacifist He is an Anti-imperialist – speaking out against America’s international abuses Hamid: “the name cautions against a particular reading of the novel. Genghis Khan attacked the Arab Muslim civilisation of his time, so changes would be an odd choice of name for a Muslim fundamentalist.” I.e. Name separates Changez from the idea of Islamic extremism But - Changez is somewhat like his namesake – he is a solider; though peaceful in his methods – after post 9/11 experiences, devotes his life to exposing America’s abuses Third reading of name – Changez = change, i.e. the change and character development of Changez throughout the novel – change in his stance/views/values CHANGEZ = changes/changed/changer Pakistani man from Lahore in his twenties

Attended Princeton of financial aide
Graduated at the top of his class
Raised in high society; polite and sophisticated
An outsider at college – due to his politeness and formality Qualities are assets in the corporate world he enters
Hired by Underwood Samson – a valuation firm
Top of his training class at Underwood Samson
Transforms from an awkward foreign students to a suave New Yorker with new job Changez falls in...
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