In The Reluctant Fundamentalist, is Changez anti-American or a not an anti-American?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that Changez is anti-American in The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

Changez feels that America is far different from the nation he initially adored.  America's direction following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 profoundly impacts him.  He is taken back with the way "that America was able to wreak such havoc in the world with so few apparent consequences at home.”  Changez feels that American identity is decidedly against people like him.  As a result of feeling culturally displaced, he begins to embrace anti-American tendencies.  As a professor in Lahore, he teaches courses that question America's role in the world and is arrested for his participation in an anti-American protest.  It is clear that his political leanings do not support America.

At the end of the novel, it is unclear if Changez is a terrorist.  However, it is clear that Changez has "changed" in his attitudes towards America.  He embraces anti-American positions, espousing beliefs against a country that he used to passionately support.  Hamid uses Changez's change to show the dangers of excluding voices.  Changez's narrative proves how American success is only possible when all voices are taken into account. When we see Changez, we understand that voices silenced today could come back to harm us tomorrow.

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