Homework Help

What is the significance of the novel's title?

user profile pic

lalalanda | Student | eNoter

Posted July 18, 2012 at 5:05 AM via web

dislike 1 like

What is the significance of the novel's title?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

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

Posted July 18, 2012 at 5:22 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

I think that it becomes clear that Changez is "the reluctant fundamentalist."  He is that character who embodies two worlds and one is not really certain which one, if there is one, he belongs.  It is clear that Changez is not happy with America and has several complaints about it.  Yet, I think there Hamid brings out complexity in Changez is in the way he constructs him to be a figure for which there is not a complete sense of certainty.  Given how Changez's character had always been to wrap himself within something and then recognize its futility, it can be reasoned that this is where he could wind up with his current embrace of fundamentalism.  The dream of American success, Erica, his work at Underwood Samson, the rejection of America, and not fundamentalism are all elements in which Changez embraces with complete immersion only to recognize a limitation within them, to which he blames it for not being absolutely perfectly aligned with his subjectivity.  Changez does not seem to have changed much by the end, and while his philosophy has changed, it seems that he is still the same individual, wrapping himself in a cause or in a dream only to be surprised by its limitations.  It is here where he can be seen as "the reluctant fundamentalist." Hamid's construction opens a dialogue about the nature of fundamentalism and terrorism, and how the best weapon to disarm both is to develop a greater understanding about both.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes