How is Changez's sense of identity altered over the course of the novel?

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

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One way in which Changez's sense of identity is altered over the course of The Reluctant Fundamentalistis that he becomes more jaded about the world around him.  In the exposition of the novel, Changez is much more willing to embrace the Western world and the possibilities in it.  Whether this comes in the form of accepting the potential of the promise and possibility of what America can offer, what an Princeton education gives, and life at Underwood Samson, there is a greater possibility to accept what life has to offer.  

The experiences that are synthesized after the events of September 11 cause Changez's identity to become increasingly jaded. There is a greater acceptance of  the darker aspects of Western reality.  Changez embraces a more "fundamentalist" position because of this.  In a distinctive manner, Changez does not really accept the fundamentalist position because of what it features in terms of its outlook on life and the world.  He accepts it because of his discontent with the world as he knows it.  For this reason, he is a "reluctant" fundamentalist.  It is in this light where one sees how Changez's identity has changed from a position of being able to see the promise and possibility intrinsic in the world to one that is more skeptical of it.

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