What important ideas need to be noted in Chapter 2 of The Reluctant Fundamentalist?

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

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I think that one of the most important thematic and stylistic idea that comes out of the second chapter of Hamid's work is that Changez is shown to be one who really embraced the American or Western ethic.  When viewing how he winds up at the end of he narrative and even the hints given to us before hand, it is important to see how he once embraced what the Western ideology, in terms of America, offered.  It is in this where I think that one can see the "reluctant" elements to his characterization.  His travels to Greece, the use of his signing bonus to finance it, and his pursuit of Erica are all elements that reflect the primacy placed on subjectivity, the excessive materialism, as well as the conception of love as something to satisfy self- indulgence and a sense of the pursuit.  These are ideas and concepts that would move closer to the traditional Western notion of being.  They certainly are a far cry from the orthodox view of Eastern culture or of Islam, elements from which Changez hailed.  To see how much of a pivot Changez has made from these points is where Chapter 2 is of specific significance.  This pivot away helps to set the stage for the eventual pivot back by narrative's end.

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