M. Hamid - The Reluctant Fundamentalist

M. Hamid - The Reluctant
Chapter analysis: function and use of language
Aims and objectives
Aim - students should be aware of the importance of:
Knowledge and skills related to intercultural dialogue
Language and learning awareness
Project skills in multilingual and intercultural dimension
Documentation in cultural exchange
Effective communication in a multilingual context
Semantic research in language learning
Cultural features and stereotypes
The way language makes meaning with respect on the previous
Objectives – the students should be able to:
Discuss the structure in principle of the novel Moshin Hamid, The Reluctant
Fundamentalist, Reclams-Universal Blibliothek, number 19876, 2013 Philipp Reclam Jun
Single out the main function of each chapter with reference to message
Find out keywords and expression used to convey different linguistic and cultural
Carry out relevant textual analysis with reference to structural elements of fiction (title,
layout, structure, denotation, characters, setting, narrative strategy, use of language)
Draw personal conclusions and argumentations supported by textual reference
Relationship signifier-signify
Chapter 1
To introduce the main characters: Changez and the American
To introduce the setting of the novel: a cafè in Lahore
To specify the narrative tecnique: drammatic monologue
Topic of allegory. Chagez and the American: a dialogue between Eastern and
Western culture
Topic of ambiguity: Changez and the American are not expressively characterized
Relevant words
Mission: it refers to the purpose of the American’s visit in Lahore
Bearing: it refers to Changez’s prejudicial thought
This is a dream come true: it refers to the idyllic vision of America
That: it refers to the features Changez considers typical of the American people
Chapter 2
To introduce the character Erica
Topic of allegory: Erica as a metaphor for the sentimental side of
America; Underwood Samson as a metaphor for the financial and
economic side of America
Topic of love relationship: Erica and Changez
Topic of the meeting: two different genders, religious faiths, social classes
and culture meeting
Topic of culturally marked metaphors
Relevant words
Regal and tiara: they refer to Erica’s cultural characterization
Mr. Palomar: it refers to Changez’s attitude in observation
Chapter 3
To explicate Changez’s role in American business: the Underwood
Topic of appurtenance: New York feels like home; Pakistan was a
technologically advanced country that was not able to keep up with the
Topic of city comparison - Lahore and NY: high buildings, Pakistani
people and shops among Americans
Relevant words
Urban: concept of urbanization in Lahore and New York
Proud, power, efficiency, professionalism: they refer to America’s
fundamentals of business
Top Gun, The Great Gatby: it refers to the stereotyped view of America
Chapter 4
To present the cultural comparison between Erica’s father and Changez
Topic of culture meeting: Changez and Ericas’ father; Easter and Western culture;
comparison between Pakistani and American culture
Topic of love relationship: the love relationship between Changez and Erica
Topic of prejudice: multilayered meaning of “fundamentalism” (alcohol and
Relevant words
Fundamentalism: it refers to teh religious fundamentalism in Changez and Erica’s
father discussion
So of course he drinks: it refers to Erica’s father’s prejudice about Pakistani (and
Muslims in general) people attitude toward alcohol
Cosmopolitan: it refers to the cosmopolite nature of New York
Chapter 5
To deepen Changez’s role in Underwood Samson
To introduce Changez unpleasant feel towards American culture
To develop Changez’s identity growth
Topic of war: the World Trade Centre attack
Topic appartenance/cultural discrimination: the unpleasant sensation being
observed as a possible terrorist
Topic of cultural identity: Changez is ashamed of being considered American
Topic of resentment toward USA: Changez smiles at the attack
Relevant words
Dreamier: it refers to the utopic view of America
Foreign: it refers to Changez’s unpleasant sensation of being a Pakistani in New
Smiled: it refers to Changez’s pleased reaction to the attack
Nostalgia: it refers to America’s attitude to look at the past with pride
Grease: it refers to a glorious view of America's past
Chapter 6
To exploit the sentiment of progressive estrangement between Erica/America and
Topic of estrangement: Changez is not able to keep on going with his relationship
with Erica/America and Underwood Samson
Topic of patriotism: americans and flags,
Topic of cultural identity: Changez grows his beard according to his newly found
Muslim identity
Topic of love relationship: Changez fails having sex with Erica, not being able to
get in touch with her
Relevant words
The mightest civilization the world has ever known: it refers to American narcisism and
Chapter 7
To exploit the final breach of Changez’s attempt to rebuild a relationship with America
Lahore being bombed after the attack
Topic of identity: Con his work and pretends to be the Newyorker he felt to be in the
beginning. Jim encourages him to “focus on the fundamentals”
Topic of identity: Changez pretends to be Chris in order to have sex with Erica: this
stands for him trying to conform to the stereotypical American in order to accomplish
Topic of religious faith: Changez feels closer and closer to the people who are attacked by
the US
Topic of fundamentalism: he watches Afghanistan being attacked and gets drunk, he
gets late to work: failed both religious fundamentalism and financial fundamentalism
Relevant words
Focus on the fundamentals: it refers to Underwood Samson guiding principle
Predatory: it refers to aggressive attitude he finds typical of American people
Chapter 8
To present America’s reactions to the attack, in particular its tendency to look
Topic of love relationship/past: Erica is focused totally on the past; Changez’s
relationship with her comes to a dead end
Topic of fundamentalism: Underwood Samson keeps following his route not
caring of world sorrow
Topic of racism: Changez responds violently to provocations
Topic of travel: Changez uses his bonus days to go back visit his family in Lahore
and gets angry about the situation in his home country
Relevant words
Nostalgia: it refers to the way America looks back to the past and connotes it
Look back: it refers to America’s attitude to glorify the past and to take him always
as an example
Duty and Honor: it refers to the point of view of American people toward the attack
and, in particular, they refer to the values which are intended to be ignored by
terrorists and which are intended to be the most important for the American
Chapter 9
To identify Changez’s final identity
To explicate the incompatibility between his new identity and the
American society
Topic of identity: revaluation of his homeland – Changez is not shaving
anymore and now he really feels part of the Pakistani population
Topic of incommunicability : both Changez and Erica/America can’t
communicate, especially because of her choice of keeping far from him
Relevant words
Devout: it connotes Erica’s intention to look back
Dead: it refers to Chris and to Erica’s incapability to accept it
Chapter 10
To clarify the sentiment Changez felt toward every kind of
To exploit Changez’s inner struggle due to his love
Topic of contrast: the love for Erica is in contrast with his
resentment toward America
Topic of fundamentalism: Changez is not able to fully follow
both religious and financial fundamentalism
Relevant words
Got things done: it refers to the way of thinking of Underwood
Chapter 11
To exploit the climax of Changez’s inner struggle: Changez leaves his job
and finds out Erica has disappeared and possibly committed suicide
Topic of illness/death: Erica looks lacking of life and finally disappears,
just as his relationship with America, which got worsen as soon as he
refuses to conform to the western model
Topic of fundamentalism: “my days of focusing on fundamentals were
Relevant words:
Lacking: it refers to lack of life in Erica’s eyes
Fundamentals: it refers to economic fundamentals Changez decides not to
follow anymore
Solitude: it refers to the sensation Changez feels because of his origin
Chapter 12
To give information about Changez’s experience as a lecturer in Lahore
To underline the repressive attitude toward political and social progress in Middle
To conclude the novel
Topic of identity: the real identity of the American man is still mysterious
Topic of ambiguity: the end of the novel is unclear and the reader can only
imagine how the story really ends
Relevant words
Well wishers: it connotes the feature of the group Changez is ahead of
Believe: it refers to his thought of having kind of an ordinary relationship with
Key Word: Fundamentalism
The word Fundamentalism can convey different meanings and in
particular throughout this novel, it gets far from the ordinary and
more common one.
Religious fundamentalism: strict adherence to ancient religious
precepts and rules  not being able to evolve in religious
Economic fundamentalism: strict adherence to the
principles/basics of economy and finance  making money is the
only measure of value
Politic fundamentalism: use of religion for political purposes 
the executive power is not separeted from the religious authority