What is the purpose of the American and why is the reader given ambiguous information about him?Use quotes to help answer the question

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The original question had to be edited down.  The ambiguous information about the American helps to bring out how the reader understands what is being presented.  The exact purpose of the American's visit and encounter with Changez is unknown.  In  not providing an absolute vision, Hamid's work becomes more reflective on the reader and their own perceptions about the threat of terror in the world. If one is predisposed to see the threat of terror and conflict present, then the American has come to kill Changez.  If one isn't, then he is more of a vessel by which Changez's story becomes understandable.  In terms of how he functions in the story, his technical purpose in the story is to be able to enable Changez to tell his story.  The exact audience towards whom Changez is relaying his story is to the American.  We understand Changez through what he says to the American.  The American's presence enables the narrative to fully develop and thus for us, the reader, to understand Changez.  It is for this purpose that he is present and his vagueness in terms of information enables us to better understand both Changez and ourselves in terms of how we view the conflict intrinsic to the fight against terror.


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