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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

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1 The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Chapter 7 Add to Vocab section: Portents – omens, or clues of things to come Myopic – near sighted; prejudiced or narrow minded Partisan – supporter Atrophy – wither, waste away

2 Chapter 7 Overview: Changez describes:
- the growing rage in America post 9/11 - the political impact on Pakistan of its retaliation efforts - the economic impact within his own company - Jim's attempt to comfort him - the second and final time he makes love to America

3 Evidence for interpretation of ending:
Changez intends to harm American Neither intends harm Does not let American return to his hotel – p114 Brings up 'predator and prey' again - “...before man's knowledge of cholesterol made him fearful of his prey” (p115) “these are predatory delicacies” (p115) “Here we are not squeamish when it comes to facing the consequences of our desire” (p115) – Threat? Criticism of American war culture? Resentment towards America and Pakistan situation: “we were not always burdened by debt, dependent on foreign aid and handouts...not the crazed and destitute radicals you see on your television channels but rather saints and poets” (p116) “[we built this city] when your country was still a collection of thirteen small colonies, gnawing away at the end of a continent” “But once more I am raising my voice” (p116) It is because he “must not pass up such an authentic introduction to Lahori cuisine” - 114

4 Self-Deception & Denial
Changez describes how he prevented himself from seeing what he now perceives to be the truth of the situation: “I prevented myself as much as possible from making the obvious connection between the crumbling of the world around me and the impending destruction of my personal American dream” (p106) “the power of my blinders shocks me, looking back – so stark in retrospect were the portents of coming disaster in the news, on the streets, and in the state of the woman with whom I had become enamored” (p106) “I ignored as best I could the rumors I overheard.. I reasoned that these stories were mostly untrue” (p107) “were unlikely ever to affect me because such things invariably the poor, not to Princeton graduates earning eighty thousand dollars a year” (107-8) “clad in my armor of denial I was able to focus...on my job” (p108) “I had been avoiding the evening news” (113)

5 Inseparability of Personal and Political
Changez is incited to anger at the invasion of Afghanistan, the presence of American troops in Pakistan, and the continually negative representation of his fellow countrymen on the television. “the sight of what I took to be the beginning of its [Afghanistan's] invasion by your countrymen caused me to tremble with fury.” (p ) “that [following] day I found it difficult to concentrate on the pursuit...of fundamentals” (p114) This suggests that Changez can no longer stop political events from affecting his personal life. Much like his response to September 11, Changez professes surprise at his own anger: “My reaction caught me by surprise” (p113) Still, the reader may question whether Changez exaggerates his innocence for the American listener.

6 Economic Fundamentalism
The emphasis on the words “Focus on the fundamentals”(p112) encourages the reader to draw the comparison between American corporatism (represented in the novel by Underwood Samson) and a kind of economic fundamentalism which values profit above all else - Changez describes Underwood Samson's guiding principle as “a single-minded attention to financial detail” (p112) This may suggest that Hamid believes that American economic policy is the cause of global tension, rather than religious fundamentalism.

7 A Changed Erica The effect of 9/11 on Erica is becoming more apparent to Changez: “a diminished Erica...who could almost have been a stranger” - (p ) She tells Changez it isn't good for him “to see [her] so much right now” (p118) - Perhaps trying to spare him the pain of rejection.

8 More Self-deception and Confused Identity
Sex Take 2: Erica can only truly open herself to Changez, and accept him into her body, when he pretends to be Chris. Similarly, in order to be accepted into American society, Changez must possess American values, an American degree, and suppress his Pakistani identity. “pretend I am him.” (p119) “I did not seem to be myself” (p120) “my shame was more confusing...Perhaps taking on the persona of another I had diminished myself in my own eyes” (p121)

9 Jim Repeatedly identifies Changez as a fellow outsider.
An opinion they don't share: Jim: “Time only moves in one direction… Things always change” (p109) “They try to resist change. Power comes from becoming change”. (p110) Changez: “I was uncomfortable with the idea that I came from was condemned to atrophy” (p111)

10 Chapter 7 Activities: 1. Write a paragraph on how the theme of self- deception is explored in the novel. Consider what the characters are denying, how they are able to deceive themselves, what this self-deception allows them to do, and the consequences the characters experience. Consider what you think Hamid suggests about self-deception in his novel. USE QUOTES! 2. Compare Changez's feelings towards his job now, compared to when he first began working for Underwood Samson.

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