Text of THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS By Mohsin Hamid
THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS By Mohsin Hamid
The novel and the novelist The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a novel written by the Pakistani Mohsin Hamid in 2007. In 2012 Mira Nair directed the film with the collaboration of the novelist. The story is about a young Pakistani named Changez, his life, his changings and reflections before and after the attack to the Twin Towers. The novel is organized into 12 chapters. Each chapter has a specific function in the economy of the novel.
Relevant concepts to understand the novel Fundamentalism: a movement emphasizing the literal interpretation of the holy scriptures as fundamental life and teaching the beliefs of the movement adherence to such beliefs Reluctant: somebody not inclined to do something or who does not believe in some values. Most important question: why should a fundamentalist be reluctant? The study and the analysis of the novel will help find out apossible reason The experience of living in a different culture, meeting with new values and stereotypes will bring the young Changez to a deep identity crisis and moral change. Changez will find him self divided between two cultures and two totally different fundamentals: Americas capitalism and the Islamic religion and Pakistans values. Mohsin Hamid invites reflection several themes: Difference between cultures and multiculturalism Globalization and modernization Difference of economical systems Religious Difference (Christianity and Islam) Difference between different social classes The way the surrounding word can change and influence our personality and values.
CHAPTER 1 NARRATIVE STRATEGY. REASONS 1.The voice of the protagonist utters the entire story: Changez is the only one who speaks and tells the story from his point of view. 2.He interacts with an interlocutor the reader cannot see or hear but knows is present. The reader knows what he does or says only thanks to the clues the speaker gives her/him 3.The speaker reveals his feelings, ideas and character. The reader can see what happens ONLY through the eyes of a Pakistani and not from the Americans one.. The main function of the first chapter is to introduce the protagonist: Changez, and his life in New York. He is sitting in a tea bar in Lahore, Pakistan, with an unknown man. The narrative technique is a dramatic monologue where the protagonist utters the entire story. The reader can only see the story from the eyes of a young Pakistani from the eyes of a young Pakistani.
3.The speaker is a good observer: he immediately understands the silent interlocutor is American because of his body language. All cultures are different and unique. Changez has experienced two of them, one the opposite of the other. 4. Changez uses highly formal language. English is not his mother toungue: he uses word like sir may I . The reader see the protagonist is taking some distances from the interlocutor and all the same he is polite. 5. America represented Changezs dream come true, the perfect life. The young Pakistani is really attracted by American life style and he describes him as a lover of America.
CHAPTER 2 The main function of the chapter is to introduce Erica, the women Changez loved 1.He is attracted because Erica is different form the girls Changez used to see. 2.There is a comparison between Pakistani and American girls. In Pakistan women follow the tradition and are more modest, in America women follow their own rules. 3.Changez analyses the attitude of the Americans in front of others: they are arrogant and disrespectful. 4.There is a game between the names chosen: Changez reminds the word change and presents the protagonists position during the story. Erica reminds the word America. Both powerful and represent a reality Changez will never reach. Chris, Ericas ex boyfriend, reminds the word Christianity, Americas religion and the main opponent of Changez and Islam religion.
CHAPTER 3 Changez lives in New York where he starts working for Underwood Samson company. In this chapter Changez underlines the differences between America and Pakistan. 1.He feels at home because he hears a taxi driver speak Urdu, he smells and tastes Asian typical food. The novelist introduces New York as a multicultural and cosmopolitan city. There is a mixture of different cultures and all the same he feels at home 2. But there is also a cultural shock, he gradually tries to adapt himself to the new home and to the values and ideas of America 3. New York is seen as a city of chance and opportunities. 4.Comparison between America and Pakistan: once Pakistan was a great and civilized country, America instead was dominated by barbarians. Now America has great Universities and big cities WHILE Pakistan does not have an adequate state development. 5. The American motto is Make as much money as possible and as far as you can
CHAPTER 4 In this chapter Changez tells about his relationship with Erica. 1.After their holydays in Greece the two have kept contact. Erica helps Changez to get integrated showing him the traditional way of living of a New Yorker. 2. Again you can clearly see that Changez is a good and keen observer. Speaking with Erica he distinguishes a crack. Indeed the young girl is still in love with her ex-boyfriend and she is still suffering for him. Changez comprehends that Erica will never take part of his life. 3.An interesting part in the chapter is the protagonists meeting of Ericas family, especially with her father. Ericas father lives and sees the world through stereotyped lenses During the dinner he continues annoying Changez with questions about his country and his culture. Economy is falling apart though, no? Corruption, dictatorship, the rich living like princes while everyone suffersAnd fundamentalism. You guys have got some serious problems with fundamentalism pag.61
CHAPTER 5 Changez analyses and underlines the difference between Philippine, America and Pakistan. He has been sent to the Philippines for work. There he discovers a different and totally unexpected reality. 1.In the airplane he is well treated, he has a seat in first class and drinks champagne. He feels part of the company and America but, arrived in Manila, he becomes aware of another world. 2. In the Philippine people have taken the American system of living, even the city is full of high skyscrapers and superhighways. It is more modern, technological and even richer than Pakistan. 3. There is another significant comparison with Pakistan, America and Philippine. Changez is a little upset because even the Philippine are in a better position than his motherland. 4.He starts acting like a real American businessman,. He wants to show that he is very proud of his job and position in the company. For example he maintains the eye contact till the end with a Philippine driver, he wants to be respected and maybe feared. His slow moral and interior change is coming to surface.
5.Jim, Changez boss reveals his ideas: Changez is like a shark. He is determinate and never stops swimming, he is constantly working to reach the top. Both have similar backgrounds, different from the others, thats why they are not mart of this world. 6. Later the climatic moment of the whole chapter: Changez sees the attack on the Twin Towers and smiles. And then I smiled. He is not a psychopathic, he doesnt like the idea of hundred dead people, but he likes the idea that someone has put America on her knees and that has affected Americas pride and arrogance. 7. Changez s inner and conflict comes to surface: he feels American but Pakistani too. I felt guilty, I tried therefore to be as nonchalant as possible, this naturally led to my becoming stiff and self- conscious 8.The consequences unfortunately are terrible. Americas security started taking several and hostile attitude against immigrants, above all those of Arab origins. In the airport, for example he is several times escorted by armed guards, he is under suspect and seen as a possible terrorist.
CHAPTER 6 The novelist underlines here all the changes in the protagonists life: 1.in America a big and exaggerated sense of nationalism grows after the attack on the Twin Towers.Everywhere, in bars, restaurants, shops and especially in Grand Zero people raise flags and flowers. We are America the mightiest civilization the world has ever known; you have slighted us; beware our wrath. 2. Changez position also changes. He starts feeling out of place and people start to have different perceptions about him. He is really confused and starts to think about what is actually right and about the possible the faults of his acting. 3.Erica also changes. The attack on the Twin Towers brings her some memories about Chris and she starts to be depressed again. 4.One day Changez and Erica sleep together but they fail, Erica is still thinking about Chris and she feels as if she were cheating him. Her body rejects any type of physical contact. 5.When he speaks to the interlocutor he adds what I would not give for a bucjet of American popcorn shrimp fried in batter until a delicious golden-brown and served with a sachet of tomato sauce!. He misses some of the things of America and he wonders to have something of it. He is far from a country he loved and feels a little bit nostalgic.
CHAPTER 7 The protagonists inner changes and his private conflicts are the focus of the chapter. Changezs identity crises together his difficult positions between the two worlds is the core of t