The Reluctant Fundamentalist Cover Image

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

by Mohsin Hamid

Start Free Trial

Student Question

Is there irony in Changez's final fundamentalism in The Reluctant Fundamentalist?

Expert Answers

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

I certainly think that the statement is valid, but I would merely question the idea of Changez's "final fundamentalism."  Hamid constructs a work where little is absolute and clear.  He wishes to create a view of fundamentalism and terrorism that goes beyond the narrative that has been given to the public by the media and the respective bastions of power that benefit from a narrow view of the issue.  In this, I would suggest that Changez's "final fundamentalism" is far from final.  There is a certain reluctance to his fundamentalism that I think helps to make the narrative more compelling.  We know that Changez has struck a pro- Pakistan point of view in terms of its reliance on foreign aid.  We also know that Changez supports his students who might be involved in dubious activities.  Yet, there is little else to really suggest to us that he has become the stereotypical "fundamentalist."  The "reluctance" might have to lie in how we view him.  Perhaps, the "reluctant fundamentalist" is a call to better evaluate what is constituted as "fundamentalism" and "terrorism."  The reluctance might also be evident in what Changez really is.  The ending does not give us anything clear or concrete to suggest that Changez has achieved a style of "final fundamentalism."  Rather, there is ambiguity, questioning, and a sense of doubt.  This becomes Changez's "final fundamentalism," one that leaves us having to assess and critically dissect what we understand as fundamentalism, and perhaps making us a bit more "reluctant" to embrace the labels that have become so much a part of our post- 9/11 world.  I think that this is where the statement needs great clarity and begs for wider discussion.

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