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how he became :The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist plays with the readers mind.  Its as if Changez is a explaining why he is now the way he is.  When he says ” I have been plagued by paranoia…”  I feel like he could relate to many Pakistani’s.  I myself feel that way some times.  It’s as if some one is always watching you, and even your normal everyday life is under a microscope so you have to be extra normal which in fact isn’t normal and more suspicious.  

Hamid puts pressure on the reader to understand Changez and his struggles with assimilating post September 11, 2001.  He shows how uncomfortable it is to be in a foreign country and to almost be interrogated or looked at with suspicion, the way this American is in Lahore.  The waiter makes him nervous almost every time he checks up on them.  Changez’s way of questioning the stranger is also very condescending, it’s as if he is getting revenge for all those stares he received and stereotypes that were associated with Pakistani’s or Muslim’s in general.  He immediately identifies the stranger as an American rather than a European, the way an FBI agent would be able to distinguish between a Pakistani and an Arab.  

We can’t deny how the world has changed after September 11.  We can only accept the changes and try to deal with them in the sense of controlling our emotions and suppressing those stereotypes, even if its in the back of our minds like every time we are on the subway and there is a “suspicious” person with an unusually large backpack accompanied by some sort of accent.  Even the way Hamid ends the book with an unsure ending with the book, you are almost still undecided of what Changez’s intentions are as well as the American stranger’s intentions, though I think he’s just a normal tourist, but still what was he doing in Lahore, Pakistan during that time period without some agenda.

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