Discuss how Hamid's contruction of the text fits into his thematic signficance.

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

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The fact that Hamid constructs the text as a dialogue is significant.  The development of a dialogue between Changez and the American accomplishes a couple of elements.  The first is that it reveals how Changez and American, in their act of talking and engaging in dialogue, are actually taking steps to avoid the abyss that has engulfed all stakeholders in the so- called "War on Terror."  Hamid wishes to open a dialogue about the social and political constructions of "freedom" and "fundamentalism."  His basic critique of the "nostalgia" that grips America in the period following the events of September 11 is that this view of the nation prevented any real discussion and discourse about the direction of the nation.  It is in this where the structure of the text upholds the idea that the only way to truly defeat the threat that fundamentalism might pose is to open a constructive dialogue and better understand it, and thus defeat it.  In the dialogue between Changez and the American, this is evident.  The notion of slipping into past and present in an interchangeable format helps to feed the idea that the fundamentalist, or the individual claiming to be a fundamentalist, is not someone created without a context.  There are events in their own life that help to shape their philosophy and view of the world.  If the true desire is to make the world safer, Hamid seems to be suggesting that there has to be an attempt to understand these elements.  In doing this through the dramatic structure of the text, there is a greater emphasis on this method bringing about understanding and a sense of empathy.

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