Write a paragraph about one of the least important characters in The Reluctant Fundamentalist. What is their role in the novel? 

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

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One of the most minor characters in this novel is Erica's father, who only appears in Chapter 4 and has a brief conversation with Changez before dinner and is used by the author to present a stereotypical American view of other countries. When he asks Changez about how Pakistan is getting on, he offers a very brief assessment of Pakistan, which, although Changez identifies it as being "a summary with some knowledge," is one that makes Changez "bridle" because of what was behind it:

But its tone--with, if you will forgive me, its typically American undercurrent of condescension--struck a negative chord with me...

Erica's father therefore is used by the author to present a very typical attitude of Americans towards foreign policy which is not innaccurate and is based on facts and current knowledge, but at the same time angers others by the tone of "condescension" that automatically seems to assume that America is better than other countries and is superior. Erica's father is one strategy therefore that the author uses to hold a mirror up to his North American audience and help them see how their own thoughts and attitudes provoke anger and suspicion in other quarters.


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