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In The Reluctant Fundamentalist, how is Changez patriotic to his country Pakistan?

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carlier123 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 14, 2013 at 1:51 PM via web

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In The Reluctant Fundamentalist, how is Changez patriotic to his country Pakistan?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 19, 2013 at 8:47 AM (Answer #1)

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There are plenty of instances that show the strong patriotic feelings that Changez feels towards his home country of Pakistan. One such incident is when Changez meets Erica's family for the first time in Chapter 4, and Erica's father makes a comment about the political and economic situation, which, although largely accurate, nonetheless makes Changez bridle, as he goes on to explain:

But his tone--with, if you forgive me, its typically American undercurrent of condescension--struck a negative chord with me, and it was only out of politeness that I limited my response to, "Yes, there are challenges, sir, but my family is there, and I can assure you it is not that bad."

As Changez explains therefore, it is not the factual and truthful assessment of his home country that he objects too, however unflattering, it is the "American undercurrent of condescension" that he finds suddenly brings out his patriotic feelings and causes him to identify himself as a Pakistani first. This is again the case after 9/11 when the political situation between Afghanistan and America worsens, and it looks as if Pakistan will become embroiled in the furore. Changez finds himself withdrawing more and more from work and becoming more and more a Pakistani, as signified by the beard he chooses to wear, than an American. Changez therefore becomes more and more patriotic as the novel continues, but only in response to the militant Americanism and the way that he is treated in the aftermath of 9/11. Interestingly, this journey is one that is largely autobiographical, as the author himself worked for a top American company which he finally chose to leave because of similar feelings.

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