How can one make the argument that the fates of Changez and Erica are similar?

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

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Even though I am not entirely convinced that both characters' fates are similar, I would start off a defense of this idea by suggesting that both have to deal with rejection from external realities which profoundly impact their subjective construction of reality.  One potential reason how their fates are similar is that they both suffer the consequences of reality, and are unable to fully adapt to such a condition.  In this respect, both of their fates are similar because they are both victimized by reality.  Erica is victimized by the death of Chris.  She was never fundamentally solid in being able to deal with such a condition.  It haunted her, driving her to look for him in everything and everyone.  It even drove her to her own death.  Changez is victimized by America.  He was never able to fully accept how he was maligned by America and through this, he is able to find rationales for why he needs to reject America.  The basic notion of not "fitting into" the American schematic, especially so after the events of September 11, haunts him.  It haunts him to the point where he has to reject America in its totality in order for him to believe that he has found peace. The victimization of both Erica and Changez force both of them to embrace an attitude towards reality that denies reflection and sense of being able to boldly stare into the face of life and accept it for what it is.  Erica must revert to the nostalgic view of the past, in particular, of Chris.  Changez must embrace fundamentalism as a way to make peace with his understanding of America.  In both, one sees Erica and Changez both must accept an alternate conception of reality in order to effectively cope with it.  For Erica, it was nostalgia about Chris.  For Changez, it was the idea that he could be an active agent against America and create profound change as a result of it.  The sex scene between Changez and Erica is one in which both of them share the same fate in loving not the other, but the idea of something else.  For Erica, it was a descent into carnal oblivion in thinking about Chris and for Changez, it was the idea that even if he pretended to be Chris, he would still be able to be a part of something from which deep down he knew he was distant.  The smell of blood and the tears from Erica reflect both of their fates, as being unable to fully appropriate the reality in which both of them find themselves immersed.  It would be here where I think that the argument of how both characters' fates are similar would have to be broached in any discussion of their similar predicaments.


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