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Discuss the meaning of quote in The Reluctant Fundamentalist:  "True, your hair,...

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xinchaoyo | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 2) Honors

Posted June 18, 2012 at 7:24 AM via web

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Discuss the meaning of quote in The Reluctant Fundamentalist:  "True, your hair, short-cropped, and your expansive chest - the chest I would say, of a man who bench-presses regularly... are a typical of a certain type of American..." (2)

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

Posted June 18, 2012 at 9:14 AM (Answer #1)

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Changez's description of the American in the exposition of the novel is significant.  It helps to bring out how Changez views him and also helps to bring out his own perception, which is quite acute and aware of the world around him.  The language and descriptions of the American that Changez renders is reflective of how Changez sees the American as a military person on a particular type of mission.  Changez perceives him to be a "seasoned army officer" based on his judgments.  The meaning of this reflects how Changez now sees the world.  An American in Lahore has to be someone of the military and on a mission.  The quote also helps to bring out the manner in which Changez views a "certain type of American," reflective of the nature of American interaction with the rest of the world in a conqueror/ conquest light.  It is interesting to note that Changez's hatred of America and his perceptions of the American are all based on presuppositions and judgments.  There is nothing concrete or absolute used to formulate these perceptions, but rather activation of prior judgments and generalizations, the very same elements that Changez sees as the problem with America.  It is in this description that both Changez's perception as well as a subterranean character trait can be seen in the quote.

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