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The Reluctant Fundamentalist shows us that people are connected just as much by fear...

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thebookworm1995 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted February 17, 2013 at 3:38 AM via web

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist shows us that people are connected just as much by fear and anger as they are by love. To what extent is this true?

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

Posted February 17, 2013 at 1:30 PM (Answer #1)

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I certainly think that there is some level of truth shown in the book regarding the idea of what connects human beings.  The relationship between Changez and the American in the cafe might be one such example.  They are connected by many elements, as Changez brings out in his discussion with the American.  One such connection is fear and anger.  Changez is not afraid of detailing his fear and anger to the American, and assessing the American's fear and anger, as well.  In doing so, there is a clear connection between both in which anger and fear is evident.  Moreover, I think that one can make a clear case that Changez's connection to America, in general, is one in which fear and anger sustains the bond between the two.  Changez's connection to America is one where love is initially evident.  As he changes to becoming the fundamentalist that is seen as the narrative begins, one recognizes that Changez is linked to America by the hatred and the fear he has towards it.  Changez is unable to really break free of America, replacing his once love of it with fear and anger.  In this, Changez has become the embodiment of what he dislikes, being unable to break himself from a nation that he believes has perpetrated so much wrong.  Perhaps, it is here in which Hamid's most profound statement about the terrorist or the fundamentalist is evident. The fundamentalist is merely resurrecting the dead in order to kill it. In the final analysis, Changez is no more free of America than he was when he was in love with it.  The bonds of love and affection have been replaced with those of fear and anger.  Changez is still linked to America.  He is still connected to it. He cannot free himself of it.  It is here in which Changez demonstrates that fear and anger can bind just as much as love when perspective is lost.

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