Right now we are working with a book in class called the Reluctant Fundamentalist. The book is written by Mohsin Hamid and was published in 2007. The book is about a young Pakistani, Changez, who meets a US American in Lahore, Pakistan and tells him about his old, “successful” life in the USA – until 9/11 which changed everything. We have now read two chapters, and I will now answer some questions that has been asked after reading these two chapters.
My impression of the story
My impression of the story so far is really good. I really like this book and the way the story is being told. I find it very interesting that the story is being told by only one persons view and how close we get to the person who is telling the story and his thoughts and views of life. This book is different from other books that I have read earlier, and that also makes it much more interesting for me to read.
Changez impression of his travel group in Greece
In the second chapter in this book, Changez talks to the American guy about a vacation in Greece. He went there with a group of Princetonians one summer and when he told the American guy about this vacation, he describes the people he was traveling with as not polite, rich people with little respect for elders. He takes a distance from the others and separates himself from them and has a lot of prejudices about them. He said that they acted like superiors, like they ruled the world. That tells me that Changez opinion about them is not good and that he might find himself as a better person than them. He does not really say anything positive about them and only focuses on their negative sides and how different they are from him. He also says that they only talk about hangovers and beaches, like that are the only things they are thinking about. Somewhere in this chapter, he says; “I, with my finite and depleting reserve of cash and my traditional sense of deference to one´s senior, found myself wondering by what quirk of human history my companions – many of whom I would have regarded as upstarts in my own country, so devoid of refinement were they – were in a position to conduct themselves in the world as though they were its ruling class.”
How Changez talks about Pakistan
Later in the second chapter, he sits down with Erica in a cafe and she asks Changez to tell her how Pakistan is like. He says that Pakistan is many things; “from seaside to desert to farmland stretched between rivers and canals. He also told her about a trip to China he had made with his parents and brothers by car and that alcohol was illegal for muslims to buy, so he had a Christian bootlegger to get him alcohol.
The reactions of a comment Changez made
In the end of the second chapter, the group sits around a table eating dinner together when someone asks what their dreams for the future are like. When it is Changez turn to tell the others about his dream, he says that he wants to be “the dictator of an Islamic republic with nuclear capability”. The other got caught of guard and surprised of the joke he made of himself, because he explained right after that it was just a joke. I think it was really funny that he made a joke about himself like that and that he faced the prejudices about people like himself, muslim men with beards, but that it was a bit surprising. The others reacted to his comment with shock and silence, and it did not seem like they really understand the joke or thought it was funny. I think the reason he said that was to surprise the others and eliminate the prejudices about muslim men and make fun of them.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Mohsin Hamid