What are important quotes in Chapter 2 of The Reluctant Fundamentalist?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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 perceived his travel buddies' attitudes while in Greece.  Changez noted how he was bothered at their arrogance and sense of entitlement, indicating that "the course [Changez's] relationship with America would later take."  This quote is significant because it foreshadows the direction that Changez's characterization will take later on in the novel.  Additionally, it is significant in that is shows the power of reflection in Changez's sense of self.

Another quote would come from Erica, herself.  When she says that she is not "good at being alone," it speaks volumes.  The first is that it reflects how unstable she is.  Despite this, Changez pursues her, knowing all the well that she is in need of help.  This speaks to Changez's immersion in Western ways, seeking potential companionship in someone who is so fragile.  At the same time, the quote speaks to how Erica and America are the same in that both struggle with the reality of what is as opposed to hoping what should be.

I think that the most important quote out of the chapter is the joke that Changez made at dinner.  When asked about his ambitions, Changez said, “to be the dictator of an Islamic republic with nuclear capability."  This quote is important for a couple of reasons.  The first is that it shows Changez to be different.  He is fundamentally different from everyone else and he perceives that to be the case.  His "joke" was awkward, no one else at the table understood it.  Erica grasped it, but the level of depth it shows reflects that while Changez bought into the notion of being American, he really did not fully recognize his place in it.  The other reason the quote is important is given how the story ends, there is loaded significance to it.