In The Reluctant Fundamentalist, explain how to understand Changez's relationship with Erica, is to understand his relationship with America.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that Changez's relationship with Erica parallels his relationship with America.  To understand both helps us better understand him and his eventual disillusionment with both.  In my mind, Changez embraces both in a very surface manner, seeking to covet both for what they represent as opposed to what they are.  In Changez's pursuit of the "immigrant dream," to conquer America and to conquer Erica are both representative of what "success" will mean for him.  A reason why his relationship with Erica is significant to his relationship with America is because Changez never really probes into both and seeks to understand if he is an entirely integrated part of both.  Rather, he simply presumes that he can "fit in" both spheres of existence without really examining the conditions and basic tenets of both and how he aligns with such realities.  Changez's pursuit of both is superficial to an extent, something that permits him to put aside feelings of awkwardness or the small things that flicker out to indicate that there might be something wrong with such an endeavor.  It is here where Changez's relationship with Erica and America is similar and to understand one is to understand the other.  To understand both is to better understand Changez.

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