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Discuss Hamid’s use of extended monologue in The Reluctant Fundamentalist.How it...

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meowthlikestoask | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted August 8, 2012 at 12:55 PM via web

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Discuss Hamid’s use of extended monologue in The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

How it makes this story engaging but leaves the reader with many unanswered questions.

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lprono | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted August 19, 2012 at 10:25 AM (Answer #1)

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The technique of the dramatic monologue used by Hamid in the novel strongly implicates the reader in the story as Changez speaks directly to us and we find ourselves in the position of the American he is talking to. As with all dramatic monologues, however, The Reluctant Fundamentalist also makes us identify our point of view with Changez himself as we see his story exclusively through his eyes. This begs the question of how reliable Changez is as narrator. At the end of the novel, we are also left with several questions regarding the identity of the American and the purpose of the meeting. Is the American a Marlowe who has come for his Kurtz to use the Heart of Darkness analogy suggested in the novel? Or is he in the opposite condition of being chased by the reluctant fundamentalist Changez? As the two are strolling through the city of Lahore at night after their dinner, Changez says that when he goes for nocturnal walks he is sometimes reminded of "the sound of those spectral clip-clops" in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow:

One cannot but join in the terror of poor Ichabod Crane, alone on his horse, in that moment when he first perceives the presence of the Headless Horseman (p. 194, Penguin books paperback edition)

It is not clear who is in this situation, whether it is Changez or the American listener. Changez's final statement that the American should not assume all Pakistanis are terrorist, just like Changez's should not assume all Americans are undercover agents all but reinforces the ambiguity on the possible conclusion of the evening.

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