The Reluctant Fundamentalist

by Mohsin Hamid
Start Free Trial

How does novel use the imagery of predator and prey? 

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I think that the novel employs the imagery of predator and prey in a couple of contexts.  Its primary use of the imagery is one in which it becomes really unclear who is what.  The condition of the war on terror is one in which it is uncertain who is the predator and who is they prey.  Consider the dynamic between the American and Changez as part of this.  The entire premise of the story is one in which we really do not know who is the hunter and who is the hunted.  It is unclear if the American is there to confront Changez or if he is simply "caught up" in something that Changez has planned.  It is unclear if Changez is the target or the predator.  A world gone mad with terrorism and its preemptive fear makes the line between predator and prey a blurred one.  Additionally, I think that this image can be seen in Changez's approach to the United States.  In entering America, fulfilling his own vision of the American Dream, Changez approaches it as a hunter would approach its prey.  He is confident in how he will advance and how he will be able to make the situation work to his benefit.  Yet, over time, it becomes clear that Changez sees himself as the prey caught up in the predatory practices of a post- 9.11 nation immersed in nostalgia.  It is here again in which one sees an unclear vision of predator and prey in the modern setting.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team