In Chapters 8-9, how does nostalgia affect America, Erica and Changez?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For Changez, nostalgia is the retreat to which Erica and America flee in the face of uncertainty and challenge.  Changez notices that both Erica and America cannot face the formidable elements in the present.  Being too difficult and complex, both Erica and America run into a vision of their past, where things were fundamentally simpler or at least appeared to be simpler.  This nostalgia is a direct response to the condition in which both find themselves in the present.  Changez notices that nostalgia is the narcotic that both America and Erica take in order to deal with the present.  For Erica, she nostalgically slips into her being with Chris. For America, it is a nostalgic embrace of a World War II order of being in which America can do what it wishes without consequence.

Changez is impacted by this nostalgia because it pushes him out of each vision.  Erica's nostalgia with Chris has no room for Changez, who has to pretend to be Chris when they make love.  In the same way, Changez realizes that he does not fit into the American nostalgia of the past.  Changez is impacted by nostalgia as he understands that the embrace of nostalgia in both Erica and America does not hold a place for him, a being of the present.  Changez recognizes that nostalgia cannot work for him as he is locked into the present and the future, something that Erica and America are unable to embrace with their nostalgic views of the past.