Review: The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid | Books | The Guardian
Throughout the novel the relationship between Erica and Changez closely after he returns from Manilla when Changez is asked “'what is the purpose of your. Changez is a Pakistani man who once studied, lived and worked in the US, Deposited onto this backdrop is his love story with Erica, a fragile American girl. stay for, which seems to be the thrust of Changez's goal as he speaks. as soon as adversity strikes reflects Changez's relationship with America. One way in which the relationship between Erica and Changez can symbolize the relationship between the United States and Pakistan can be in the spirit of.
On graduation, he achieved two of his primary goals: On a post-graduation trip to Greece with some of that crowd, he met Erica, a beautiful aspiring novelist from a wealthy New York family.
The empire strikes back
Story continues below advertisement Story continues below advertisement Changez returned to New York to start his job at Underwood Samson, and his relationship with Erica bloomed. The only obstacle between them was her persistent heartache over the death of her first love, a heartache that Changez is confident he can heal, since his competition is dead, after all.
While on an assignment for Underwood Samson in the Philippines, Changez saw the attacks unfold on his hotel-room television, and watched the World Trade Center collapse. To the nameless American, he says, "And then I smiled. Yes, as despicable as it may sound, my initial reaction was to be remarkably pleased. For although Changez admires American power and wealth and privilege, and has long aspired to a place in it, at heart he feels a cloying contempt for the imperialism, materialism and efficiency-as-religion that underlies U.
- The relationship between Changez and Erica as in The Reluctant Fundamentalist
- The Magnetism of a Good Ol’ Tragic Love Storyline (A Reading of The Reluctant Fundamentalist)
- M. Hamid - The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Groups, on the other hand, are assertions of opinion. We ought therefore to look more closely at the supposed monolith to which we apply the word Islam. It is said that Muslims believe in female genital mutilationthe surgical removal of all or part of a girl's clitoris.
Yet I have never, in my 41 years, had a conversation with someone who described themselves as Muslim and believed this practice to be anything other than a despicably inhuman abomination. Until I first read about it in a newspaper, probably in my 20s, I would have thought it impossible that such a ritual could even exist.
Mohsin Hamid: 'Islam is not a monolith'
Similarly, many millions of Muslims apparently believe that women should have no role in politics. But many millions more have had no qualms electing women prime ministers in Muslim-majority countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh. Indeed, this month's Pakistani elections witnessed a record women running for seats in the national and provincial assemblies.
Two of my great-grandparents sent all of their daughters to university. One of them, my grandmother, was the chairperson of the All Pakistan Women's Association and dedicated her life to the advancement of women's rights in the country.
But among those descended from the same line are women who do not work and who refuse to meet men who are not their blood relatives. I have female relatives my age who cover their heads, others who wear mini-skirts, some who are university professors or run businesses, others who choose rarely to leave their homes.
The character of Erica in The Reluctant Fundamentalist from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes
I suspect if you were to ask them their religion, all would say "Islam". But if you were to use that term to define their politics, careers, or social values, you would struggle to come up with a coherent, unified view.
Lived religion is a very different thing from strict textual analysis. Very few people of any faith live their lives as literalist interpretations of scripture. Many people have little or no knowledge of scripture at all. Born in Pakistan, educated at Princeton and currently the hottest new employee at a New York firm specialising in ruthless appraisals of ailing companies being targeted for takeover, Changez recognises himself in the description.
There, bearded and generally reacculturated, he meets an American in a restaurant in the Old Anarkali district, and buttonholes him with his life story.
The novel is his monologue: The richest instance of the latter is in the way it plays with the idea of fundamentalism itself. From the title, and from the increasingly tense atmosphere arising between Changez and his American listener, the expectation is that Changez is moving towards the revelation that he has gone, however "reluctantly", all the way over to the dark side of Islamic fundamentalism, and is possibly, even as he speaks, orchestrating some Daniel Pearl-like execution of his perhaps literally captive audience.
But in a neat - arguably too neat - reversal, it transpires that the real fundamentalism at issue here is that of US capitalism, specifically that practised by Changez's former employer, Underwood Samson, whose motto, as they do their pitiless bit for globalisation, is "Focus on the fundamentals". The subverted expectation very efficiently forces one to reconsider one's preconceptions about such words and their meanings, and a point is duly scored for relativism.
This precise, rather classical orchestration of symmetries and reciprocities is both a strength and a weakness in the book. It fosters the kind of concentratedly astute cultural observation at which Hamid excels.