We are now almost finished with reading our book, and I have now read chapter 10. In this post, I will comment and find reasons/explanations for each of these possible conflicts further down, and I will comment on some quotes from chapter 10.
- a conflict between Changez and the American
After reading 10 chapters of this book, I have not seen or predicted any conflicts between Changez and the American. Of course, there has been some tension between them during the story, but only small conflicts because of the discomfort the American has felt from time to time when Changez has been telling him about his life. Later in the book and after Changez has told the American about his reaction to 9/11, I could feel some tension growing bigger. It is clear that these two has different views and thoughts of life and of the conflicts going on in the world because of the country they origin from and has grown up in, and the difference between them are getting bigger from page to page. We have not been told much about the American yet, but because of the Americans reactions to different events that Changez has been telling, I would say that the American is afraid and uncomfortable in Changez company. I am not sure who this will end, but to me it is clear that these two does not exactly like each other that much.
- a conflict between Changez and the United States
In the start of this novel, there is no conflict at all between Changez and the United States. He moves over all the way from Pakistan to the United States at 18 and attends to a high-class college in New York provided with different stipends. He finishes his degree and becomes an analyzer, and he finds himself enjoying living in the states and hanging with his college-friends. He gets interviewed for a job as a analyzer at Underwood Samson, a popular company who only employed a bare minimum of people, and got the job. He meets a girl and things are good in his life, until 9/11 suddenly strokes everyone with the biggest shock. After that, Changez starts looking at the United States with different eyes. He sees how the country reacts and how they fight back at muslim countries in the middle-east, among them his home-country´s neighbor-land. Americans started looking at him more and more as a foreigner, and Changez who had earlier felt like a New Yorker and loved his city, now felt like an outsider among the other foreigners living there. He saw and heard how other muslims were being treated and started disliking the country he once had loved. And this was the beginning of the conflict between Changes and the United States.
- a conflict between Changez and his workplace (Underwood Samson)
Early in the book, there were no signs of a conflict between Changez and his workplace, but later on, some tension is being built up between these two. It all starts after 9/11, before that there were no conflict. But after 9/11, Changez feel the need to protect his own identity and home-country, which is seen as a threat for his co-workers. They started whispering and staring at him because of his beard and meant that he looked shabby, and the tone with his coworkers got sharper and sharper. It was only Jim who did not care about Changez´s beard, but he told him to get himself busy so he would not worry so much about the situation both at home and in New York. After that, he was given a case in Chile with the vice-president, and it was at that time that the conflict got bigger. He went from being the best analyzer in his class to loosing his motivation and not getting anything done. He went back home to New York two weeks ahead of time, and disappointed Jim; the one that had always stood by him and supported him.
- an inner conflict between Changez and himself
It is clear to me in this novel that Changez is struggling finding himself and identify his own personality, values and thoughts. He is thorn between the United States, the new country he is living in, and Pakistan, his home-country. He is being dragged between two completely different cultures and countries with different traditions and mind-sets, and it just becomes worse after the terror attack 9/11. His feelings are hurt because of Erica, the girl he loves that loves a dead man. He struggles figuring out what to do and how to solve the problem, and especially after he tells her to pretend to be her dead boyfriend when they are being intimate and having intercourse. This breaks Erica and she distances herself from Changez to not hurt him, but Changez is already being hurt by the fact that he will never be loved by the woman that he loves. She is already deeply in love with her dead boyfriend and still grieves after his loss. After 9/11, he realizes that he has changed during his stay in America. His mindset had changed, and when he realized that, he got even more split about what to do with his life. An inner conflict between Changez and himself bursted out stronger than ever before, and he lost himself for a moment. Now in chapter 10, he gave up the job he once had loved and admired, and his heart has not yet given up on loving Erica.
I will now comment on two of the quotes from chapter 10 from a conversation between Juan-Bautista and Changez.
“Have you hear of the janissaries?” “No,” I said. “They were Christian boys,” he explained, “captured by the Ottomans and trained to be soldiers in a Muslim army, at that time the greatest army in the world. They were ferocious and utterly loyal: they had fought to erase their own civilizations, so they had nothing else to turn to.”
At this time of the story, Changez sits down in a restaurant in Chile with Juan-Bautista, the chief of the publishing company that Changez and Underwood Samson was valuing. I think that what Juan-Bautista means by saying this is to tell how he feel about the United States and their reaction to 9/11, going to war against the countries that the terrorist where from, because that did not really solve anything and it broke down the countries that were attacked by America.
“There really could be no doubt: I was a modern-day janissary, a servant of the American empire at a time when it was invading a country with a kinship to mine and was perhaps even colluding to ensure that my own country faced the threat of war.”
At this time, the dinner with Juan-Bautista is over and changez is back in his hotel-room thinking of what Juan-Bautista had told him at the dinner about the janissaries. He felt like he had unwillingly and not by plan become one himself, working for the country that fought against his home-land. He felt like he had done too little to protect his own country and too much for America, and he felt like he had betrayed Pakistan and his family.
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