Books and Movies Reviews

The Reluctant Fundamentalist – Change of Setting and Locale

If Mohsin Hamid’s ” The Reluctant Fundamentalist” was set in a time before the events on September 11th, 2001 and in a different locale, the meaning of the book and the impact it has on readers would be completely altered. Changez wouldn’t be the same character and the story would perhaps center more around his relationship and experiences with Erica. Post 9/11, he is viewed by his co-workers in a new way, he is forced to endure extra security measures in airports and he is gawked at on the street by random strangers. All these occurrences shape who he is and the conversation he is having with the American in Lahore and thus change the book entirely.
Changez starts out as a young man graduated from Princeton that receives a grand stroke of luck when hired at Underwood Samson. After the events of 9/11 he is no longer a hardworking intellectual man he is now viewed as a possible threat by his peers at work. Changez’s story without the events of 9/11 included is just Princeton, Erica and his job. It could even be said that he may have kept his job at Underwood Samson if he hadn’t endured the emotional roller coaster of being treated like a terrorist. This change in treatment and the decline of his relationship with Erica is what ultimately lead to his nervous breakdown of sorts.
Pre-9/11, the theme of the book changes as well. Maybe the theme is now simply the American Dream. He graduates from Princeton, immediately receives a job at an investment bank and gains a great girlfriend which leads to his climb up the social ladder to high society in New York City.
Upon analyzing the book one might conclude that Erica is representative of America, as far as before and after 9/11. Before that tragic day she is in good health and her relationship with Changez is blossoming. After that day her health begins to decline and she sinks into a very dark state of grief over her dead boyfriend Chris, the trauma of the events having brought it al…


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