Given the following quote from The Reluctant Fundamentalist, discuss the meaning seeking to be brought regarding Erica: [Erica] “did not appear to have been quite as preoccupied with issues of...

Given the following quote from The Reluctant Fundamentalist, discuss the meaning seeking to be brought regarding Erica: [Erica] “did not appear to have been quite as preoccupied with issues of dress selection.”

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

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This particular quote is an interesting one.  Changez is recalling the first time he met with Erica and her family in New York.  The preceding passages went through how Changez struggled with what to wear.  As a "hyphenated" American, Changez explores how difficult it is to ascertain what image is conveyed through clothing.  If he wears a suit, will it be deemed as too formal, seeking to blend in when it's obvious he doesn't?  If he dresses informally, will it show disrespect?  In the end and recognizing the practicality of not wanting to wear a blazer that had been through wear and tear, Changez decides to "take advantage of the "ethnic exemption clause" and use his ethnicity to his advantage in wearing a kurta, traditional clothing of Pakistani and Indian regions for formal events.  In remarking of how Erica was wearing a "Mighty Mouse T-Shirt," it becomes clear through the quote that Erica could afford to not pay attention to the issue of dress selection as being part of the American cultural majority helps her in this case.  She is not judged, as Changez would be, by what is worn.

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