The Reluctant Fundamentalist

by Mohsin Hamid

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Why would The Reluctant Fundamentalist be chosen for a "Minority Voices in Resistance" literature course?

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In the novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, the main character Changez is a Pakistani man who achieves the American Dream of success.  He at first revels in the achievement, working to be a dedicated employee.  When he becomes disillusioned with the America which uses its wealth to make others follow its values, he slowly turns against the America he once loved and becomes a reluctant follower of the fundamentalists who attack America.  I believe that he is a good example of a minority voice in resistance because he had been in the majority who valued monetary success and then examining what he sees in evaluating companies for his job, turns against the beliefs of the majority he once followed.  Even though the ending of the story is so ambiguous, the author wants us to look at the reasons why someone might become a follower of the fundamentalist groups trying to bring down an arrogant America.  The first person voice of Changez helps the reader do that and listen to the choices he makes and his slow turn to fundamentalism.  Changez has to reject what he once considered success, and I think he helps us understand why someone would turn to fundamentalism to effect change. His resentment about America being such a new culture in terms of the ancient culture and values of his home country are felt in many other countries of the world as I myself have heard them expressed in several South American countries. In my opinion, the author is challenging America to look at the reasons WHY the attack on 9/11 happened and quit focusing on anger and revenge against those who brought it about.

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