When the 9/11 crisis takes place, explain which side Changez takes.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is probably in this section where Hamid's book attracts the greatest amount of criticism.  When the events of September 11 take place, Changez tells the American that the sight of the buildings being brought down makes him "smile."  On some level, Changez feels that the subjugation of his own identity and the need to adopt what it means to be an American was set aside, if only for a moment, with such a brazen attack on what it meant to be American.  I am not sure Changez immediately "takes a side" when he sees the destruction of September 11.  Rather, I think that he feels a certain empathy with "the other" because it is a moment where he can pause from having to "be American."  When he returns to work, he pretends to be moved by what happened.  This indicates his reluctance to voice complete support for the anti- American "other."  If he was so driven to take sides, he would not feign emotion at work.  The fact that he pretends, or cares enough to pretend, reflects his "reluctant" stance, one that gives him pause for a moment in a charade of "being American."  I think that the events after September 11 move him to being more Pro- Pakistan than Pro- America, but at the moment of September 11, it is fair to say that Changez voices a hidden relishing of what happened, but is not completely driven to embrace "the other."  This is something that comes later on, after the full extent of the attacks has been seen with the direction of American foreign policy in the wake of the September 11 events.