The Reluctant Fundamentalist

by Mohsin Hamid

Start Free Trial

How do Mohsin Hamid's literary choices contribute to unreliability and uncertainty?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The original question had to be edited.  I would suggest that Hamid offers a deliberate lack of certainty.  This is clear in his resting the power of the narrative in the hands of Changez.  The mere name of the protagonist indicates "Change," helping to bring out that the narrative of fundamentalism and terrorism in the modern setting is one where change and alteration is intrinsic to its understanding.  There is an unreliability in the narration because the topic of fundamentalism and terrorism is far from absolute. Each side is seeking to dominate the other.  There is no appreciation of difference and voice in the current form of this discussion.  It is for this reason that Hamid offers a structure and literary work that is far from certain.  It would be counter productive for Hamid to stress the need for difference and accepting multiple voices and then present a work that is authoritarian and beyond uncertainty.  His style of the unreliable narrator and continual "change" in context helps to bring out that few, if anyone, can claim totality in the modern setting's understanding of terrorism/ fundamentalism.  Instead, rather than to seek totality, perhaps a more worthwhile attempt can be made to understand difference that seek to eliminate it.  In recognizing the narratives change and that unreliability might be the reality in which we live with, greater understanding might be able to emerge. It is in this light where I think that the literary choices that Hamid makes in the novel deliberately move into unreliability and uncertainty because it helps to enhance its overall thematic purpose.  

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial