“The Reluctant Fundamentalist” Literary Criticism

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Throughout the novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Changez forms his own criticisms and opinions regarding America’s way of life, and also their diplomacy as it relates to foreign countries. I have specifically found three critiques that I would like to further analyze, support, or disagree with. Changez, firstly, believes that America is always intervening in the matters of other foreign countries. Another critique that Changez mentions in this novel is that America is self-absorbed. The third and final criticism that I will draw your attention to is America always being ready to bring death upon those of other nations. All in all, I will further analyze these criticisms as they relate to America.

In the novel, Changez mentions that America is always meddling in foreign countries’ affairs. His exact words are, “I reflected that I had always resented the manner in which America conducted itself in the world; your country’s constant interference in the affairs of others was insufferable” (Hamid 156). I agree with Changez point of view of America’s involvement with other countries. America, in various instances, has done this very thing. For example, there is an article written by Channel 4 that suggests America and its government agencies, such as the CIA, have meddled in elections of foreign countries for years now, whether covertly or not. One instance was when the CIA rigged an election to help “the Christian Democrats beat the Communist Party” and also were involved in coups (Williams). Overall, Changez is not wrong about America’s constant involvement in foreign affairs.

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Changez’s next criticism relates in the way of how America carries itself in relation to again, foreign affairs. Changez goes on to say that America only cares about their self-interests, prestige, and ideals (Hamid 168). I agree with this. It seems to me, that America does see themselves as the best, and sometimes is clouded by the “assumptions of [their] own superiority” (Hamid 168). For example, an article written in 2010 mentions that America’s own media coverage proves how self-absorbed America is. Taspinar states, “Since the media are primarily about what is going on in the United States, there is a vicious cycle of lack of interest in what happens in the world.” If Americans are not knowledgeable about the world, how can they truly be a part of it?

The last criticism that I will analyze relates to how America responds to other countries. In the novel, Changez states, “ . . . no country inflicts death so readily upon the inhabitants of other countries, frightens so many people so far away, as America” (Hamid 182). I disagree with how Changez depicts America. America, in itself, is a powerful country, that protects its own when necessary. An example of this is when the U.S. dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. The History websites says that it was necessary for the U.S. to drop the bombs to “spare American lives.” America, in this way, only tries to inflict death only when it is necessary to American lives and America as a whole.

In conclusion, some of Changez criticisms have merit and some do not. I believe it is all in the way you look at history and the facts. On one hand, I can see how America constantly interferes with others and their affairs, through covert means or even rigging elections. I can also understand Changez point of view of Americans being self-absorbed. As an American, we tend to sometimes be only interested in issues, regarding political matters centered around today’s president. This can be seen through our media, whether through new channels or news articles. I, however, do not agree with Changez view of Americans being so ready to kill other human beings in other countries. I mean, yes, we have done this, but I believe only when necessary. I believe America only involves itself through violent means, when protecting America, its citizens, and our democracy. Therefore, Changez’s criticisms are not wrong or right. It all depends on an individual’s perception, an individual’s perception of America.

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“The Reluctant Fundamentalist” Literary Criticism. (2022, Feb 15). Retrieved from


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