The Reluctant Fundamentalist

by Mohsin Hamid

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What themes are present in Chapter 2 of The Reluctant Fundamentalist?

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Changez's desire to belong is a theme in the second chapter of The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

When Changez describes his first interactions with Erica, he emphasizes the importance of belonging.  In the first chapter, Changez articulated what it meant for him to "belong" to the vision of America.  In the second, he finds it on a personal level with Erica.  There is a fondness that defines his first memories with Erica.  They reflect someone who has found true love and is exploring its halcyon days.  The details about how she "sipped" at his recollections of life in Pakistan and then found them to "her taste" as well as the physical descriptions of her reveal that he enjoyed the emotional closeness between them. When he shares about how they walked together or how excited she was to see Urdu in his notebook, Changez reveals the happiness he experienced at belonging with another person.  There is a sense of nostalgia with which he retells the memories:  "I had struck up an acquaintance with a woman with whom I was well and truly smitten, and my excitement about the adventures my new life held for me had never been more pronounced."  These memories show how Changez valued belonging and they reflect the importance of this theme to his narrative. 

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