The Reluctant Fundamentalist – Tasks

  • Setting;

The story of the book is set before 2001. The span of the story is only one day in real life, but Changez’s stories span years. Form Lahore to America, and back to Lahore, the story took us. In Lahore (in present time), the story takes place at a restaurant, but the stories Changez is telling takes place in several different cities and countries. I am not sure why the author chose this particular setting, but I think we will understand it at the end of the book.

  • Plot;

The main conflict in the book is the 9/11 terror attack because I feel like this was when Changez started to change. He showed another side of himself, a side of him f I think we will meet again.

  • Characterization and characters;
  • The round characters in this book is Erica, we get to know almost everything about her and the details of her life. In contrast, we have the flat characters who is the American, we know almost nothing about him. I can not decide if he is a round or flat character, because he do tell a lot about himself to the American, but we do not know if he tells everything or if the stories is true at all. One thing I know is that Changez change, trough out the book he changes his opinions and the way he think.
  • Narrative style;

When the author writes in this particular narrative style, he creates a mystery around Changez. When Changez is the only one to actually speak, we do not know what really happens, only what Changez tell us. I think this creates a mystery around Changez, whether he tells the truth or not.

  • Theme;

The theme in the book is identity I believe. Changez’s relationship with America and his struggle with identifying as an American or Pakistani. The Author explore the all of the themes, he rise several conflicts between Changez and America, and his ‘identity crisis’.



  • Imagine that you are Changez and write a personal diary entry about the atmosphere in New York after 9/11

“New York, like you have never seen her before, broken. On her knees she stands, the powerful state of New York. The streets are full of flowers, condolences and, teddy-bears, -and the American flag hangs at every corner, on every building. But the only thing that worries me is Erica. I need to see Erica. She is fine – sad, confused, stressed – but fine. I have heard rumors, about a lot of things happening to people like me. Muslims is getting beaten, raidings of shops, homes and, Mosques. I am not quite sure how much I believe in these rumors. And I really do not want to believe the last one, America is bombing Afghanistan.”


  • What does Erica say about Chris? How are Muslims treated in New York City? According to Jim – how does one gain power? What does Changez mean when he says “I was Chris and she was with Chris?”

Erica miss her ex-boyfriend Chris a lot. After the attack, she explained that she had been thinking about him all the time. She therefore, will not fully involve herself in a relationship with Changez, because she still wants her ex.

After the attack, Muslims are treated badly in New York. As Changez explained, there had been a lot of rumors. Muslim men were disappearing, they are being beaten, FBI was raiding their homes, shops and Mosques.

According to Jim, one is gaining power by not resisting change but by “becoming change”.

Changez told Erica to pretend that he was Chris. Erica had always wanted Chris, and he would be the one she always will want. So when Changez said “I was Chris and she was with Chris.” I think he meant that now she physically wanted him, but for her, she was with Chris and no one else. Changez was willing to ‘change’ into another person for her. And now he was Chris, and in that way, he could have her.


9/11 – the attack on the Twin Towers

17 years ago, the world struck with fear, after seeing the terrible event happening to the World Trade Center in New York. Watching clips and reading articles about the terror attack on the Twin Towers, makes me feel sick and it is a surreal feeling to me. Since I myself cannot remember it, it feels like it never happened. But the 11th of September 2001 this was the reality for many people.

Even today, almost 17 years after this tragedy, I feel their pain, their loss of hope, home and security. The shock when their home was invaded by terrorists, the day they became afraid. I myself can not understand exactly how they felt or what they went through, but I know that I would not ever treat someone such an experience. I feel sorry for the victims, and all the dependents, I wish for them to have a peaceful life further.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist – Tasks

2.4 c-f

c) How does Changez feel in the office of Underwood Samson?

  • Changez felt a lot of pride in the office of Underwood Samson. He was selected to the job, among numerous applicants, and he was the one they wanted. With this said Changez naturally felt proud of his achievement.

d) How does Changez compare Pakistan and the USA?

  • Changez compared the two counties, he talked about the start and establishment of the two countries, and he focused a lot on the development. He stated that even though Pakistan was the best and smartest civilization about four thousand years ago, but now they were largely unplanned and unsanitary. But in contrast, you had the Americans, who ancestors were illiterate barbarians. And now they had universities with greater individual endowments than Pakistans national budget for education.

e) What does Erica’s father say about Pakistan? What is Changez’ reaction to what he says?

  • Erica’s father stated that the economics in Pakistan was falling apart. And that corruption, dictatorship, and that the rich people were living like princes while everyone else was suffering. He also mentioned that the Pakistanis had quite a problem with fundamentalism. Changez became annoyed at these statements, and as he claimes himself, he often limited his response out of politeness, when someone struck a negative chord with him.  His only response to the earlier statements was, “Yes, there are challenges, sir, but my family is there, and I can assure you it is not as bad as that.”

f) When Erica shows Changez her novel manuscript, she compares herself to a certain species. Which one? In your view, why does she make the comparison?

  • Erica compares herself to an oyster. She told she had had a sharp speck inside of her for a long time, and she had been trying to make it more comfortable, so slowly she had managed to turn it into a pearl. But now it had finally been taken out, and just as it was going, she had realized that there was a gap being left behind. I think she made this comparison to describe how it felt to finally send her novel manuscript away. She had been working on it for so long and made it into a pearl, and now she sent it away to an agent, and it left a gap behind.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

“The Reluctant Fundamentalist”, is a book written by Mohsin Hamid. My first impression by this book, after reading two chapters, is that I think the book quite interesting. The way Mohsin writes, I have never read anything like this before. The perspective the story is written in is strange, unique, and a bit confusing sometimes, but it keeps it interesting. Changes do not let anyone else speak unless he quoted them, therefore, you never know if he tells the whole story or just his version. The storyline so far is good I think, no dramatic event has taken place yet. But I have enjoyed both first and second chapter, most the latter.

In the second chapter, Changes and, a group from Princeton leave for a vacation in Greece. Changes is quick to describe and maybe also to judge his fellow students. He introduces both Chuck and Mike as, “monosyllabically monikered”. He said that the group lacked respect for the elder, because of they paid for an expensive meal they were titled to yell at a waiter, twice their age. He described them as disrespectful, and he said “(…) they were in a position to conduct themselves in the world as though they were its ruling class.”

Changes told Erica, “when I was a child, there was eight of us, eight cousins, all in the same compound (…)” He explained to her that in his childhood there was not a lot of room for him to be alone. He was one out of eight cousins living within a single boundary wall surrounded the plot of land his grandfather had left to his sons, so being alone was a luxury. Also, he told that since alcohol was illegal for Muslims, he had a Christian bootlegger to bring him booze for him to drink

Later in the evening, everybody tells what they want to achieve in life. Changes told the group that he wanted “to be the dictator of an Islamic republic with nuclear capability” The others became totally silent and shocked. They did not know how to react to that bizarre, and slightly inappropriate joke. I think he made that joke to make fun of the stereotypical prejudice and tried to show some self-irony.

Despite the strange perspective, the book is written in, I quite like it so far. It is different from anything I have ever read before, and I am curious about what is coming and where the main character will take us.

Justin Trudeau’s speech to the Assembly of First Nations

In 2015, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, held a speech to the assembly of first nations. In his speech, he expressed his excitement towards the new relationship between Canada and the First Nations. He also explained that during the last campaign, a dozen Indigenous candidates ran under his party’s banner, and eight of them were elected to office. Out of those eight, two -Hunter Tootoo from Nunavut and Jody Wilson-Raybould from Vancouver -are now serving as cabinet ministers.

Justin made several promises in his speech. He promised security for women and girls, investments in First Nation education, and to lift the two percent funding in First Nation programs. These are all promises that he did not make. As I am reading articles about Justin Trudeau, I find to realize that he is all words, no action. This fact disappoints me, because, after his speech for the Assembly of First Nations, I felt optimistic for them. I felt that he was going to do a great job with this new relationship between Canada and the First Nation. After two years as Prime Minister, he has not done enough, and he seems to blame everyone else for it. I hope that he gets his act together and go through with all of his promises.


Mathilde Brevik

David Cameron’s Speeche on Multiculturalism

At the Munich security conference in 2012, the former Prime Minister of Great Britain, David Cameron, held a speech on multiculturalism. David Cameron was the leader of the British party “The Conservatives and Unionist”, which is the largest party in British politics. And in this famous speech, Cameron talked about topics such as terrorism and the difference between Islam and Islamist extremism.

In his famous speech, Cameron talked about topics such as terrorism and the difference between Islam and Islamist extremism. He clearly stated the importance of the difference between the peaceful religion Islam, and the political ideology, Islamist extremism. As he said, terrorism is not linked exclusively to any religion or ethnic group. He backed this statement up with some ‘historical’ facts. “My country, the United Kingdom, still faces threats from dissident republicans in Northern Ireland. Anarchist attacks have occurred recently in Greece and in Italy, and of course, yourselves in Germany were long scarred by terrorism from the Red Army Faction.”

Cameron also explained his idea of solutions for terrorism. He argued that we must make stronger societies and identities at home. Immigrants must feel a belonging and an identity connected to Great Britain. A passively tolerant society says to its citizens, “as long as you obey the law we will just leave you alone.” But a genuinely liberal country does much more than that. “It believes in certain values and actively promotes them. Freedom of speech. freedom of worship, democracy, the rule of law, equal rights regardless of race, sex or sexuality.” and it says to its citizens, “this is what defines us as a society: to belong here is to believe in these things.” And as Camron said, “This ideology crosses not just our continent but all continents, and we are all in this together.” Cameron presented his ideas with strength, confidence, belief, and conviction. He stated his point of view in a direct and informative way.

Cameron presented his ideas with strength, confidence, belief, and conviction. He stated his point of view in a direct and informative way. I feel like he connected with the audience well. Even though his speech contained some sensitive topics, he maintained relevant, direct, and not insensitive. I believe that David Cameron presented his speech well. As a politician, he received a great deal of respect, trust. Therefore, I think many people certainly felt confident about his ideas, and where positive towards them.

The statement I chose to comment, was the first one: “Non-violent extremists are just as dangerous as violent ones.” I agree with this statement. Non-violent extremists can be someone who, publicly or in a group, state their ideology and recruit members. Extremist tend to think that their ideology is the only right one. Therefore, if an extremist person, even if they are non-violent themselves, teach their ideology and recruit members, there is no guarantee that not one of those members would become a violent extremist. Some people may agree with you and then started to believe your ideology so strongly, that they would try to solve the problem with violence. This is just one scenario, but it informed us that, even if the ‘leader’ of an extremist group is non-violent,  you never know what ideas others will have, and how they would like to solve the problem, violent or not.


       Mathilde Brevik


sources;, PM’s speech at Munich Security Conference, 09.01.18