The Reluctant Fundamentalist Questions and Answers
by Mohsin Hamid

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Analysis of the discussion between Changez and the American in The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

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I think that this becomes one of the central issues in the novel.  Hamid develops this to reflect the way in which individuals can see the relationship between both.  On one hand, the discussion between Changez and the American can be seen as sort of a stand off.  This vision is one in which the American is on a "mission," presumably to eliminate Changez.  Their discussion is sort of one last moment between adversaries when action will have to be taken.  On another level, the discussion can be seen as one in which Changez is having an opportunity to explore his own feelings towards America.  In this light, Changez must have feelings of love, on some level, towards America because he devotes so long in talking about it.  Changez might express hurt, dismay, and a sense of betrayal about his own relationship to America.  Yet, he is also direct in the fact that there is some connection he has towards America.  His conversation with the America is one way to release or express this.  It can be presumed that Changez in his new condition in Pakistan does not have a chance to talk openly about America.  At the same time, some of these feelings would be complex, not necessarily reflective of the demonizing feelings that the typical fundamentalist might have towards America.  It is here where I think that the discussion between Changez and the American can be understood.  It is a point where being able to talk openly about America, a country where complex emotions are present, is where Changez's discussion becomes essential in understanding more about himself.

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