This week we have been reading the two first chapters of the book “The reluctant fundamentalist” written by Mohsin Hamid. This book is about a young Pakistani called Changez who meet a US American in Lahore.
My impression of the book so far, is that I find it intriguing and thought-provoking. At first, I thought it would be straight forward text with little dynamic, however through the two first chapters it has shown itself to be diverse with different issues and dynamic characters. It has issues such as cultural differences, prejudices and love. All which are creating tension in both small and big conflicts.
The main character, Changez, has already shown himself as a dynamic person through how he tells his stories. At first, I perceived him as a Pakistani who had turned into a patriotic American, however this is not the whole picture. He still appreciates the values from his home country, while he on the other hand also appreciates some of the new values presented to him in America. His old values shine through when he describes the other classmates.
“Or their self-righteousness in dealing with those whom they had paid for a service. “But you told us”, they would say to Greeks twice their age, before insisting things be done their way”
Later he then describes himself as a person with traditional sense of deference to one’s seniors. Therefore, he could not understand this entitled behaviour his classmates had towards the serves. However, he liked his classmates, and respects them. He just doesn’t always understand them because of cultural differences and their sense of entitlement.
Moreover, Changez talks a lot about his home country to one of his classmate, Erica. He is immediately charmed by her and falls in love. He always has her attention and he feels she understands him. He tells her about his big family back in Pakistan, their Islamic culture, and his young years of rebellion.
On one of the evenings, all the classmates are talking about their dreams for the future. Changez tries to tell the joke that he dreamed of being a dictator of an Islamic republic with nuclear capability. However, only Erica understood his joke while all the others fell silent. I think this was an attempt on being self-ironic, which totally failed. It is clear that their prejudices are still present.
I’m looking forward to reading more of this book and learn more about Changez and his life. Moreover, I’m curious to know how his relationship with Erica will continue or evolve, in addition to learning more about his meets with ethnic tolerance