The Reluctant Fundamentalist Questions and Answers

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The title The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a reference to the tormented, conflicted inner state of the protagonist Changez. Changez is a citizen of Pakistan, but he comes to the United States as a...

Latest answer posted January 11, 2020, 12:22 pm (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Yes, Changez truly is a reluctant fundamentalist, because he never planned to hate America; in fact, he loves aspects of it. Rather, his dislike of American values and attitudes grows slowly, over...

Latest answer posted September 17, 2019, 2:20 pm (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

One major theme of this text is that the immigrant experience is fraught with many hardships—some which can be anticipated and some which cannot—and that it is challenging to make a life in a...

Latest answer posted April 4, 2021, 2:27 pm (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Changez and Erica are rather blatant stand-ins for Pakistan and the United States (Erica's name is even a shortened version of "America"), and their doomed romance reflects the strained relations...

Latest answer posted May 31, 2021, 2:53 pm (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The ending of the novel is an unsatisfactory one if the reader is looking for a clear and direct telling of what happens between Changez and the American. I think that this becomes the only way in...

Latest answer posted August 7, 2012, 6:07 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Jim is a managing director at Underwood Samson and is the first contact Changez has with the valuation firm as he is the person who gives him the job. The scene of the job interview is the first...

Latest answer posted August 19, 2012, 3:46 pm (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Jean-Bautista is fundamental in bringing about Changez's decision to resign his job within corporate America and become, although reluctantly, an Islamic fundamentalist. As Changez says:...

Latest answer posted August 19, 2012, 11:55 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Chris represents that "fixed" notion of identity. Chris represents the nostalgic view of the past that comforts Erica, and creates a gulf that Changez can never really overcome. Erica comes to...

Latest answer posted October 18, 2013, 11:03 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

I think that Erica is meant to represent that aspect of America that Changez is never meant to obtain. In so many ways, Erica represents the essence of that American Dream which drives Changez....

Latest answer posted March 12, 2013, 10:33 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

One way in which Changez has changed from the beginning to the end of the novel is in the level of ambiguity that his life has come to embrace. At the outset of the narrative, Changez was...

Latest answer posted April 2, 2014, 1:03 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Mohsin Hamid writes his character, Changez, as someone who is trying to gain a sort of American identity from key moments of assimilation. He assimilates by graduating with a higher education...

Latest answer posted February 2, 2019, 1:50 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Changez is an engaging raconteur, and he seems to me to be fairly reliable because he openly shares feelings. For example, he openly shares the feelings he experienced after the attacks on...

Latest answer posted February 20, 2019, 12:35 pm (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Changez finds his identity over the course of the novel because his final incarnation seems to be the one with which he feels the most comfortable, the one that feels the most genuine to him....

Latest answer posted January 27, 2018, 6:37 pm (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

I think that this is probably one of the most disturbing revelations of the novel. Changez's reaction of smiling is a complex one and it is important to not fully dismiss it as "anti- American" or...

Latest answer posted July 19, 2012, 6:23 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Changez never really acknowledges the reality of America until after the attacks on September 11, 2001. When he first arrives at Princeton, he imagines that he is the star of his own Hollywood...

Latest answer posted February 23, 2019, 9:28 pm (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

I think that his mother asks Changez to remove his beard out of an "old world" and traditional notion that when he is returning to America, he should do as much as he can to fit in and assimilate...

Latest answer posted July 19, 2012, 9:56 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

In the beginning of the novel, Changez is rather innocent and naive. He talks about arriving at Princeton, and how he thought, "This is a dream come true. Princeton inspired in me the feeling that...

Latest answer posted May 3, 2018, 8:32 pm (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Outside of Changez's home of Lahore, I would say that Valparaiso, Chile, is one of the other most important settings in the book. This setting is important because it serves as the backdrop for the...

Latest answer posted January 27, 2019, 4:18 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Hamid seems to be suggesting that nostalgia as a way to live one's life and for a nation to engage in foreign policy is dangerous. America is depicted through Changez's eyes as a nation steeped in...

Latest answer posted July 16, 2012, 10:09 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The important quotes out of chapter 2 go far in detailing who Changez was at one point in time and how he perceived life at one point in time. One such quote is when Changez is describing how he...

Latest answer posted August 5, 2012, 3:46 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The opening of chapter 8 helps to develop some of the character tension regarding the American. Changez explains the background of the waiter to the American: “He is from the mountainous regions...

Latest answer posted July 4, 2012, 12:16 pm (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

This moment, when Changez smiles at the Twin Towers fall, is absolutely a turning point in The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Up until this point, Changez has done little to explore his complicated,...

Latest answer posted March 23, 2019, 6:41 pm (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

This is one of the most intense moments in the work in terms of understanding Changez's identity. There are a couple of elements at play here. The first is that Changez is willing to do anything...

Latest answer posted July 18, 2012, 6:46 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Juan Batista is able to identify to Changez something that had been percolating underneath the surface. Changez recognizes that his time in America had been spent without the cultivation of a real...

Latest answer posted August 9, 2012, 2:22 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Changez arrives in the United States in the late twentieth century. He feels privileged to be accepted into an Ivy League university, and he succeeds on the terms that are established there. That...

Latest answer posted March 7, 2019, 2:51 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The Reluctant Fundamentalist tells the story of Changez's experiences in America and his ultimate return to Pakistan. It is told by Changez himself, who addresses a sort of monologue at a guest who...

Latest answer posted January 27, 2019, 12:31 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

One potential purpose for the ending of The Reluctant Fundamentalist is to generate discussion. Hamid offers an ending where nothing is clear. The only level of clarity that is present lies in...

Latest answer posted October 27, 2013, 11:41 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

I certainly think that the statement is valid, but I would merely question the idea of Changez's "final fundamentalism." Hamid constructs a work where little is absolute and clear. He wishes to...

Latest answer posted August 9, 2012, 5:06 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

I think that some of the basic ideas that come out of chapter 2 involve how Changez was so immersed in what it meant to be "American." Changez explores his own American identity in Chapter 2. He...

Latest answer posted August 5, 2012, 6:01 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

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...

Latest answer posted February 27, 2013, 11:52 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

I think that Hamid wants the reader to fully appreciate how much Changez wanted to embrace "the American Dream." Changez was eager and willing to do just about anything in order to assimilate...

Latest answer posted August 7, 2012, 8:27 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

There are plenty of instances that show the strong patriotic feelings that Changez feels towards his home country of Pakistan. One such incident is when Changez meets Erica's family for the first...

Latest answer posted June 19, 2013, 8:47 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

For Changez, nostalgia is the retreat to which Erica and America flee in the face of uncertainty and challenge. Changez notices that both Erica and America cannot face the formidable elements in...

Latest answer posted July 5, 2012, 1:06 pm (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid’s 2007 novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a story rife with nostalgia for earlier, more innocent and idealistic times – acknowledging along the way that those...

Latest answer posted February 12, 2014, 10:51 pm (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

There are a number of aspects of this scene in Chapter 5 that are of particular interest. What is key to realise is that in this scene, Hamid is trying to present to his largely Western audience...

Latest answer posted June 19, 2013, 9:13 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Changez's desire to belong is a theme in the second chapter of The Reluctant Fundamentalist. When Changez describes his first interactions with Erica, he emphasizes the importance of belonging. In...

Latest answer posted February 15, 2016, 1:34 pm (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Essentially, when Erica is gone, the last emotional connection between Changez and America goes with it. In a way, her absence cuts him free. Changez perceived Erica as his first love, certainly...

Latest answer posted July 19, 2012, 9:48 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

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...

Latest answer posted July 27, 2016, 2:54 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The interaction between Erica's parents and Changez is fairly significant. It represents the challenge that Changez feels in America, in general, and trying to fit into a social configuration for...

Latest answer posted June 24, 2012, 9:21 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The original question had to be edited down. In Changez's mind, the nostalgia that America experiences is one in which confidence and security are sought to replace the insecurity and lack of...

Latest answer posted February 28, 2013, 11:51 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Changez and Erica's relationship appears doomed from the start. Changez comes from a traditional Pakistani family, who probably would not take to having a non-Muslim woman for a daughter-in-law,...

Latest answer posted June 10, 2020, 1:25 pm (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

I think that the relevance or significance of the quote represents how Changez understands the difference in his physical appearance and its implications as a statement political affiliations. The...

Latest answer posted June 23, 2012, 12:31 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

It is interesting that, to a certain extent, Jim and Changez are paralleled in this novel. Ostensibly at least, this link between the two characters is rather bizarre: Jim is, after all, a white...

Latest answer posted September 15, 2013, 8:23 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

With this idea, the question I am left with is whether or not we can truly and absolutely know anybody. Changez does reveal a great deal to us. We are able to understand him from an emotional,...

Latest answer posted August 9, 2012, 5:26 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

I think that this becomes one of the central issues in the novel. Hamid develops this to reflect the way in which individuals can see the relationship between both. On one hand, the discussion...

Latest answer posted October 21, 2012, 1:27 pm (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

This particular description of Erica is an interesting one. Like so much with Hamid's work, it can exist on two levels. The first one is that it is a fairly open and honest assessment in how...

Latest answer posted June 24, 2012, 5:36 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Another central premise of this text is that racism can actually produce or create the very specter—a dangerous "other"—that it fears. Changez first comes to America with big dreams; he imagines...

Latest answer posted May 22, 2018, 11:37 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

There is a significant amount of truth in this statement. In a sense, Erica seems to characterise the rootless identity of America, and the way that it is struggling so much for meaning and to find...

Latest answer posted September 15, 2013, 8:33 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

In both Changez's understanding of Erica and America, it becomes clear that nostalgia is how both deal with the pain of doubt and insecurity in the present. Changez makes it clear that both the...

Latest answer posted July 4, 2012, 8:49 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

For me, one of the most significant and yet rather obscure symbols in the novel is the character of Erica. She is rather a complex symbol and rather subtle in the way that Hamid uses her. Firstly,...

Latest answer posted June 19, 2013, 9:02 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

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