Discuss how Changez would have remained in America had his relationship with Erica developed more positively. 

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

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I find myself in complete agreement with this idea.  It seems to me that Changez's movement into fundamentalism is driven by politics in the nostalgic vision that America appropriated was one that kept him displaced.  Yet, I think that Hamid is making a critical point in discussing why there might be an embrace of fundamentalism/ terrorism.

Fundamentalism gives a dogma, something strict to follow and to which there must be adherence.  The attraction in fundamentalism is that there is little ambivalence.  For example, one is a believer or a non- believer.  That is all, little room for debate.  This is certainly not the case with love, which is filled with complexity, uncertainty, the pain of doubt and insecurity, and most of the times, some level of rejection. Dogma gives what emotions cannot.  For Changez, his rejection comes from America, but from Erica, as well.  I tend to think that his love and yearning for Erica, or at least for what she represented, would have been enough to carry him through the difficulties of a post- 9.11 America.  It is evident that Changez still feels some level of sadness about Erica even when he returns to Pakistan.  While he felt that she too succumbed to nostalgia, it seems that he retained some level of emotional softness for her.  It is for this reason that one could argue Changez ends up retreating to fundamentalism because of "a broken heart."  Had things with Erica progressed well, I tend to see that Changez would have been able to find some rationale for staying in America and not embracing fundamentalism/ life in Pakistan as he did.


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