In what ways has Changez changed from the beginning to the end of the novel?

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

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One way in which Changez has changed from the beginning to the end of the novel is in the level of ambiguity that his life has come to embrace.  At the outset of the narrative, Changez was unabashedly in favor of the traditional, assimilationist immigrant story.  Acting as the star in his own "Bollywood" film, Changez was able to embrace the materialism and opportunity ideology that the West supposedly offered.  As the narrative develops, he develops some stark positions against this condition.  The ending where he speaks to the American shows the level of change within him:  “You should not imagine that we Pakistanis are all potential terrorists, just as we should not imagine that you Americans are all undercover assassins."  He really has no answers in a world governed by binary dualisms.  A world that seeks to arbitrarily and easily divide sides is something that his characterization repels.  The reader is unsure of who he is.  To a great extent, this becomes the antidote to reductionist thought. Changez embodies this formula and this is fundamentally different than his position at the start of the narrative.  The final exchange with the American is an instant in which his departure from the blind ideology of Western consumerism as well as his inability to reject pure fundamentalism reveals itself.  He is "reluctant" in embracing both polarities. This condition of ambiguity is what makes him different.

By the end of the narrative, Changez is in Pakistan, and is a harsh critic of American foreign policy. He has become more nuanced in his approach and is willing to offer more criticism towards social and political constructions of reality.  He no longer blindly accepts the reality with which he is presented. While it is not entirely clear if Changez is a terrorist that is a part of an attack or if he is simply ingratiating to the American, it is evident that he is not the same person with the same values that he possessed at the start of the narrative.  Changez is more fluid, a reflection of a post- 9/11 world.  Being true to his name of "change," Changez is not shown to be anything more than a thinking and reflective individual in a world that wishes to reduce complexity to its smallest common denominator. It is in this regard where Changez has changed from beginning to end.

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