The American Changez remarks that the American’s demeanor makes him almost certainly not a tourist, but rather someone visiting Pakistan with a “purpose” (p88) “I see you have detected a scent” Later, a flower seller has appeared. The American says he is “not in the mood,” but Changez signals to the flower seller and buys a strand of jasmine buds. Changez says they are like balls of velvet; the American jokes that they are like popcorn shrimp. The American’s sensibilities are quite different to Changez’s. What is the effect of this comment? “tonight, as I think we both understand, is a night of some importance” (p105)
Mortality and procreation The chapter deals with life and death, or as Changez puts it- “It is remarkable indeed how we human beings are capable of delighting in the mating call of a flower while we are surrounded by the charred carcasses of our fellow animals… it is our nature to recognise subconsciously the link between mortality and procreation- … the finite and the infinite…” (pp88-89) Flowers are a symbol of both life and death. Changez remarks on this and links it to the wreaths post-9/11 They are a reminder for Changez of the inappropriateness of his delight when the towers fell.
Patriotism “Your country’s flag invaded New York after the attacks” (p90) “They seemed to proclaim: “We are America- not New York, which, in my opinion, means something quite different- the mightest civilization the world has ever known; you have slighted us; beware our wrath”… I wondered what manner of host would sally forth from so grand a castle.” (p90) He is protective of New York (and his memories there) though New York is now less cosmopolitan, and more ‘American.’
New York He notes the damage- “the smoldering wreckage downtown” Erica gives him access to the upper class of society, which is seductive for him. Why? (pp97-98)
Identity Changez has tied his identity to a number of things His family’s history (and consequently that of Pakistan) His status in America His relationship with Erica Arguably these things define him. What indication is there that Changez is unsure of who he is? Post-9/11 he notes the strong sense of nostalgia in both Erica and America. What reference is there? (p94) 9/11 “churned up old thoughts that had settled in the manner of sediment to the bottom of the pond; now the waters of her mind were murky with what had previously been ignored. I did not know if the same is true of me.” “I dreamed not of Erica, but of home…” (p105)
Erica The allegory becomes more intense at this point- and much clearer (if a little gross too). 9/11 reminds Erica of Chris and she finds herself feeling “haunted” by him (p92) Changez fears he “could never compete” with Chris. How does this feeling mirror his relationship with America? He wonders if his “infatuation with Erica [is as] doomed” as his Aunt’s was. (p94) “I would observe that she was utterly detached, lost in a world of her own.” (p98) How is similar to America’s own collective conscience? What does Chris represent to Erica? To Changez?
Sex How is the metaphor of sex used to explore the flaws in both characters? (pp103-104)