Monday, March 2, 2009
A Complex, and Intertwined Setting
It is necessary to comment on both settings of The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Those settings are Lahore and New York. Surprisingly, the two cities are very similar, and I'm sure this is something the author wanted to express so that his American audience would understand why the people from Pakistan think the way they do. Both places are very nationalistic and full of culture. Yes, the cultures do clash in many ways, but consider the constant bustle and people fighting for wealth. When you do thins, the similarities almost hit you in the face. Possibly the similarity between Changez's Lahore and New York is what keeps the young man in the US for so long (when his persona so clearly doesn't fit with the New Yorkers)? It is clear through the text that Changez finds both settings very beautiful and exciting. For different reasons however. He loves his home for the smells, familiarity and people and he loves New York for the individualism, Erica, work and hope for a better life. It is clear that Changez's love for all of these aspects tears him between the two cities, but by the end of the book, we see where his true "love" lies. I'm not surprised with Changez's choice, and I think the author was not meaning it to be a shock. In fact, I think the author was trying to tell us that we are very much influenced by where we are from, and we cannot change that. I think the author also wanted us as readers to understand that no place is the same, and you must take into consideration the differences between cultures to try and understand others.