What themes are presented 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 the theme of immersion in culture becomes one of the most pressing themes of the second chapter.  Changez reveals himself to be one who is completely immersed with the American pursuit of happiness in chapter 2.  From the trip to Greece with his friends, to his pursuit of Erica, to his spending of money, to being fascinated with Erica's skin, and to looking at her when she is sunbathing in the nude, Changez articulates a construction of self that is extremely Western driven.  Changez has been indoctrinated in the Western culture.  He might appear to be from Pakistan, but for all practical purposes, he is of the West.  This theme of immersion in culture is a theme that will be shown in dynamic form throughout the work and its importance in the second chapter is to show Changez having moved towards a particular side of the spectrum in the process.

I believe another theme that is evoked is the theme of polarity brought out between Changez and the American.  As the chapter progresses, Changez notices more about the American.  The cell phone, his mannerisms, and his overall demeanor are noted, almost to bring out a sense of foil between both men.  The potential for conflict between them is enhanced in this chapter, demonstrating another theme of relevance.

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