How does the conversation between Changez and the American's highlight the paranoia and suspicion that exists within the post- September 11 world?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that Hamid wishes to present a manner in which individuals can seek to transform the existence of what is into what should be in the dialogue between the American and Changez.  Yet, Hamid is fairly wise to be able to construct the fact that the world of "what is" never leaves a potential hope for "what can be."  Consider that Changez continually sizes up the American in how he looks and how he acts, presuming that he is "military" and on a "mission."  He notes the phone of the American ringing each hour and how he texts a response back.  The American, for his most part, is depicted as increasingly aware and paranoid of the waiter, the environment, the "bats" as "creepy."  There is a constant level of paranoia that both the American and Changez, products of a post 9/11 world, display to one another.  This paranoia is something that Hamid points out in the narrative as something that has precluded a sense of empathy and understanding of "the other."  It is for this reason that the ending is so ambiguous.  While the characters have engaged in a process of intense dialogue and seeking to have understood the other, the paranoia and suspicious behavior between both have not fully left, which is why we do not know how to interpret the ending.  Hamid seems to be suggesting that the only way in which change will be possible is when these post 9/11 behaviors have departed from our psyche and the way in which we interact with others.


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