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A Counter Narrative of the 9/11 in Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist: Critical Analysis

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Mohsin Hamid has very skillfully highlighted the issues of mimicry and quest for identity in the character of Changez. He is presented as a man from outside world who follows his colonial masters with the hope to make place in their society which never came true. Furthermore, America in the novel is depicted as a colonialist country. People are attracted toward America, but in response they kicked them out. As a result of this disgust people return to their own culture and tried to know themselves truly.

The ‘traumatic’ event of 9/11 has a strong impact on Westerners attitude toward Islam and Muslims which results in distrust between them. The novel is not simply narrating a story, but the language tells us about the kind of complex relationship of the West with the East. The two distinct characters, the protagonist, Changez (a Pakistani Muslim) and the stranger, (an American) are not merely two individuals but they represent two different Countries. Changez represents the East, Muslims while the stranger American represents the West, Non-Muslims. From the very start there is distrust between two , Changez (Pakistan) and Stranger (America). In the very beginning of the novel, Changez says that he has alarmed the American which shows the lack of trust on each other and similarly the American looka at Changez with suspicious eyes. Ms. Uzma Imtiaz (2015), in her article, “The East and West trust deficit in Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist.” She writes in her article;

“The very beginning lines of the novel reflect that Changez and the silent American do not trust each other. In fact they have doubts against each other, the words “alarmed you” that Changez uses while talking to an American reflect that the American startles to see Changez, while when Changez asks him about the purpose of his visit shows his concern. Yet Changez tries to comfort him by offering his services to him and showing him his affection for America.”

The silence of the stranger shows that, America do not consider Muslims worth talking. They are not giving us full attention. There is so much Colonialism, so much superiority. Americans considers themselves so high of birth. They are like heaven born. They are not considering Pakistani even of their standard, nor valuing their point of views. So they are looking down upon East form a Superior which show distrust amongst East and West.

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Furthermore, novelist like Mohsin Hamid put forward a new kind of transnational narrative, distinct from the Anglophone literary manifestation of 9/11 and the post 9/11 condition. Peter Morey observes in his essay ‘“The Rules of the Game Have Changed’: Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist and post-9/11 fiction that;

Initial fictional responses to 9/11 often took the form either of ‘trauma narratives’ attempting to trace the psychological scarring and mental realignment of character caught up in the Twin Towers attacks, or Semi-fictionalized ‘Muslims misery memoirs’ which often serve to underscore the injustice of Islamic rule and justify neoconservative interventionism”(136).

​There is significant number of Muslims who identify themselves as culturally rather than religiously Muslims. They do not strictly observe to the injunctions of Islam and nor do they religious orthodoxy (Moghissi et al., 2009; Rahnema, 2006). From the very start after the arrival in USA, his religious identity has replaced as cultural identity. He keeps on wearing beard after the 9/11. He keeps on drinking with colleagues in a party hosted by Jim. He damns care about the dominancy of Western Culture. He even has not found praying once throughout which shows that his religious identity is replaced by cultural identity.

Ultimately, the novel, gives a counter narrative of the 9/11 from the lens of the current political situation of the world. Although, these analysis by different critics provided a very basic and useful information about the novel It has highlighted some of the important and hidden issues that have caused great damage to Muslim countries. Thus, the novel truly depicts behavior of looking down upon of West toward East

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A Counter Narrative of the 9/11 in Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist: Critical Analysis. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 26, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/a-counter-narrative-of-the-9-11-in-mohsin-hamids-the-reluctant-fundamentalist-critical-analysis/
“A Counter Narrative of the 9/11 in Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist: Critical Analysis.” Edubirdie, 12 Aug. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/a-counter-narrative-of-the-9-11-in-mohsin-hamids-the-reluctant-fundamentalist-critical-analysis/
A Counter Narrative of the 9/11 in Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist: Critical Analysis. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/a-counter-narrative-of-the-9-11-in-mohsin-hamids-the-reluctant-fundamentalist-critical-analysis/> [Accessed 26 Nov. 2022].
A Counter Narrative of the 9/11 in Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist: Critical Analysis [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 12 [cited 2022 Nov 26]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/a-counter-narrative-of-the-9-11-in-mohsin-hamids-the-reluctant-fundamentalist-critical-analysis/
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