The Reluctant Fundamentalist

True or False: Analyzing Behavior in The Reluctant Fundamentalist College

In Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, the author directs the reader’s attention to the sense of distrust and suspicion that many Americans notably have toward Middle Easterners and Muslims in general after 9/11. By doing so, Hamid is forcing the reader to confront this truth and either relate to it or feel guilty in the realization that it is a reaction based primarily on biases in the media’s description of a terrorist. America’s idea of a terrorist in post-9/11 culture has essentially been boiled down to a Disney villain-esque portrayal of Middle Easterners and Muslims, with the perceived enemy being a dark-skinned, long-bearded, turban-wearing replica of Jafar from Disney’s Aladdin. Through a carefully constructed narrative that uses one-sided dialogue between the characters Changez and “the American,” Hamid throws this prejudice in the face of the reader, but also cleverly allows room for varying interpretations of the true nature of Changez—is he harmless, or is he exactly what many Americans fear he might be?

The narrator, Changez, is constantly reassuring the American he is telling his story to that he is not in harm’s way. The first few sentences of the novel bring awareness to the reality that the typical...

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