What characters are introduced in Chapter 2 of the novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The most significant character introduced in chapter 2 is Erica.  Other characters are included.  Changez's travel buddies to Greece are described, with their significance in terms of their American attitudes of superiority.  This foreshadows Changez's own narrative in America later on in the novel.  In addition, more of the exchange between Changez and the American becomes evident, helping to enhance these characters.  However, I think that Erica becomes the most important character introduced in Chapter 2. 

Erica is significant for a couple of reasons.  The first would be her name, a version of "AmErica."  This helps to represent how Changez's perceptions about love in both the subjective sense and the national sense will converge.  Another significant element is that Erica represents much about what Changez loves about America.  Erica is a woman that is coveted by others, reflecting Changez's own sense of ego being tempted in his pursuit of her.  The fact that Erica says that Changez is "solid" while describing herself as one who "is not good at being alone" also helps to bolster Changez's own sense of self as he woos her.  When Changez speaks of how Erica's skin enticed him and cast a hue over him, it is reflective of how Changez really did embrace the opportunity ideology and the American Dream offered to so many immigrants.  In these lights, Erica's introduction in Chapter 2 is highly significant.