When writing an essay on The Reluctant Fundamentalist, what relevant political items need to be addressed?

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

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The first and most pressing answer that has to be given is to consult your instructor or the task description.  Usually, these elements will indicate what must be included in your analysis.  From this point, I think that you have to discuss the role of terrorism/ fundamentalism in the post- 9/11 world.  It is a major concern of Hamid's and should be addressed in some form in any writing about the book.  I think that the political discourse about terrorism is a major influence on how one reads the book.  From my own experience with the text, how one perceives the ending is directly connected to how one sees the issue of terrorism/ fundamentalism in the world today.  If one believes that terrorism/ fundamentalism is something that can be worked through and is not the underlying element to all Muslim- American relationships, then the ending is seen in one light.  Conversely, if one believes that terrorism/ fundamentalism underscores all Muslim- American relationships and is an insurmountable element, then the ending is seen in another.  I think that this political reality has to be explored in most writings about the book because it shows that the work is not really about Changez or the American, but more about us in the modern setting.  In both of these, I think that the political reality of the book is forged, making them fairly essential to any writing on the work. 

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