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Based on the interview excerpt, what scenes in the novel relate to Hamid’s...

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jesicatran | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 2) Honors

Posted July 20, 2012 at 8:29 AM via web

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Based on the interview excerpt, what scenes in the novel relate to Hamid’s response?

Extract from an interview with Mohsin Hamid…

Do you think the title of the novel is a little misleading, given that the main character isn’t a religious fundamentalist?

First, all Muslims are suspect to a certain extent. We’re all fundamentalists until we prove otherwise, until we order that beer, or our girlfriend shows up in a miniskirt. I think we’ve all felt it. Second, even though he’s not particularly religious, Changez begins to act in ways we think of as fundamentalist. Reluctantly, he starts following a fundamentalist path, though he’s a secular guy - a good yuppie. He’s becoming a Muslim nationalist, and that’s a term we don’t hear.

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

Posted July 20, 2012 at 9:23 AM (Answer #1)

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I think that the interview excerpt featuring Hamid's ideas are not surprisingly really accurate in his work.  Changez really is not that much of a fundamentalist.  He would like the American, and by extension us, to believe that he is.  The danger he believes he proposes to the Americans, the subversive nature of his work, and the fact that he is a threat to the Status Quo are all examples of how he sees himself and how he would like others to see him.  Yet, there is not a core of fundamentalism within him.  He does not reveal anything to indicate to us that he has adopted a core of beliefs that have constructed him to be a fundamentalist.  He has not indicated to us, for example, that he has embraced religion as a way to make sense of the world and his place in it.  There is a part to Changez that still remains "soft," almost able to tempt him away from his new found "fundamentalism."  It seems that the scenes of unquestioned immersion with which he threw himself into America, his relationship with Erica, and his work has now manifested itself into this new fundamentalism.  Hamid's interview brings out the idea that Changez is still "soft" in this light.  While he embraces a nationalist viewpoint towards Pakistan, he is not at his core a fundamentalist.  The fact that he engages the American in spoken dialogue- these scenes throughout the entire narrative reflect that Changez is still open to discussion, open to discourse, and not really a fundamentalist, who would openly regard the American with a sense of contempt and rejection.  It is where Changez's "reluctance" might be revealed, making him "the reluctant fundamentalist," for lack of a better term.


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