An Analysis of the the Reluctant Fundamentalist

An Analysis of the the Reluctant Fundamentalist

The protagonist of Mohsin Hamid’s novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a deeply introspective character whose story is an emotional rollercoaster.   Changez is a Pakistani man who comes to America in pursuit of his own “American Dream,” and while working to achieve his dream he slowly begins to hate himself.   Hamid’s novel is the story of the rise and fall of Changez’s relationship with America.   The novel takes the form of a dramatic monologue, with Changez as the speaker addressing a mysterious American man, whom we learn very little about except that he is suspicious, and that he may be hiding something under his shirt.   His story addresses his time in America from the beginning to the end.   He watches himself turn into a modern day janissary of the American Empire, and this sickens him to the point where he can no longer live in America.   The pressure of being a Pakistani man living in a post 9/11 United States drive Changez to the point of self loathing, where nothing but the comforts of home and family could repair his internal damage.   Changez has the inability to overcome the nostalgia that follows with traumatic events in his life, and for this reason he becomes a reluctant fundamentalist, unable to live in America and follow the American principles of greed and capitalism.  
The late Benjamin Franklin once said, “The U.S Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it.   You have to catch up with it yourself.”   Changez understands this truth and works hard in his pursuit of happiness.   Changez’s begins his journey in America at the prestigious Princeton University.   He excels in his studies while working three jobs to get him through school.   He tells the American in the market that at Princeton it felt like he was part of a movie, and that he was the star.   He earns straight A’s while playing varsity soccer.   He explains to The American that “Princeton made everything possible for me” (Hamid,14).   Princeton enabled him to get a job with...

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