What is the point Hamid is making about nostalgia in The Reluctant Fundamentalist?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hamid seems to be suggesting that nostalgia as a way to live one's life and for a nation to engage in foreign policy is dangerous.  America is depicted through Changez's eyes as a nation steeped in nostalgia, seeking to recreate a vision of self and a world order from World War II.  This has resulted in military campaigns in the Middle East that have engendered more resentment than promise, a result of a policy driven by nostalgia and not understanding the condition of the present.  Erica slips into a similar nostalgia in trying to envision herself  as she was with Chris.  A desire to bring back the past in an uncertain present is what helps move Erica into a position of emotional fragility and eventual death.  In both depictions, nostalgia is embraced as a way of addressing the pains of the modern predicament, a narcotic taken to offset the insecure nature of being in the world. Nostalgia is the tool by which complex and intricate discussion is avoided in favor of simplistic and reductive schemes where the most difficult of questions are avoided.  It is here where Hamid's point about nostalgia is most prominently displayed.