Who is the anonymous American in The Reluctant Fundamentalist? Who does Changez think he is?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is not entirely clear or certain who the American is.  There are some hints that Changez gives us in his narration.  Yet, the first person narrative of this creates some uncertainty and, frankly, some unreliability.  The ending is so vague and ambiguous that we are no closer to ascertaining the identity of the American, helping to reaffirm the muddle that is the discussion about fundamentalism in the modern setting.  There are more questions than answers and anyone who claims to have more of the latter is misinformed or seeking to be duplicitous.  Changez sees the American as a type of soldier.  He notes this in terms of how he looks, describing his hair as "short cropped" and noting his physique as one that represents someone who "bench presses regularly."  Additionally, Changez notes how the phone rings every hour and how the American answers in texts.  It seems by these and other implications in the detail that Changez gives that the American is of military personnel.

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