In what way could Erica and Changez be considered representations of different responses to 9/11?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In similar respects, both Erica and Changez refuse to engage in open and introspective self- reflection as the post 9.11 world takes shape.  For Changez, his immediate reaction to the September 11 attacks rests in an anger similar to revenge.  His reaction to the experience of post- September 11 perceptions is one that is purely response.  His feelings of rejection that might have always existed under the surface are domains that percolate above the surface.  His reaction is a representation of the immediate demand for vengeance or retribution that came about after the September 11 attacks.  In another sense, one can consider his emotion to be a representation of anger in its purest form.  There is little reflection in Changez.  There is an immediate sense of anger.  While the target of his anger is different than the anger of Americans in the wake of September 11, the reaction is the same in that anger subsumed the ability to think and reflect critically about the meaning of the attacks.

Erica's response of nostalgia is a representation of the desire to go back into a pre- September 11 world.  Her response of nostalgia for Chris is representative of the American ideal that no nation could limit the American exceptionalist march towards greatness.  For Erica, her reaction of flight into the nostalgia of the personal is reflective of the perception of American greatness that was awoken as a result of the September 11 attacks.  Erica's response is a nostalgia into the personal, while America's own "nostalgia" was entering nations like Afghanistan without much regard for anything else.  Both reactions of nostalgia are representative of the desire to simply evade reflection and critical thought.  In her reaction, one sees a representation of the national desire to evade critical reflection and self- introspection in calling an image of what was to supplant what is. The reactions of both Erica and Changez represent American emotional experiences that followed the September 11 attacks, ones that Hamid might be suggesting precluded open and introspective self- reflection.