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, The Reluctant Fundamentalist,
to convey his concerns to individuals and society as a whole. While Hamid relies upon setting immensely to strengthen his messages, subsidiary techniques are also implemented to great effect. By these means, Hamid is able to demonstrate that, while it may bring solace, nostalgia can lead to the dissolution of one’s self and display his disquiet at the careless disregard the capitalist lifestyle has for others. Furthermore, Hamid is able to suggest that individual identity may shift and divide throughout one’s lifespan and demonstrate the inherent danger in splitting one’s own amongst different places or people. Exploring the settings and symbolism of New York and the psychiatric facility as well as characterisation of Erica, Hamid suggests that nostalgia’s appeal is, indeed, insidious. Nostalgia, by its definition, is a process associated with pain. Hamid seeks to define it further, however, implying that it inevitably leads to the destruction of one’s identity. Erica’s “chronic nostalgia” over her past with Chris slowly corrodes her both physically and mentally; “… I stopped talking to people. I stopped eating. I had to go to hospital”. Furthermore, Hamid displays the inexorable nature of nostalgia through Erica’s characterisation; “…she was struggling against a current that pulled her within herself”, suggesting that, once within its grip, nostalgia is a downward spiral to desolation. The psychiatric facility’s setting, above all, strengthens Hamid’s showcase of nostalgia as being insidious, epitomising the comfort to be had therein as well as the danger; “It was a beautiful place to commit suicide”. Hamid demonstrates the detrimental effect nostalgia has on a societal level through his depiction of New York after the trauma of 9/11 as its “determination to look back” provokes an “invasion” of patriotism and racial discrimination. Thus, Hamid creates a microcosm of America’s decline into xenophobia and violence, both on the world stage and internally, stressing the role nostalgia played in its emergence. Hamid uses setting bolstered by symbolism and characterisation to convey his concern for the insidious dangers inherent in nostalgia not only on an individual level, but also for society at large. Demonstrating the carelessness and power of the wealthy through imagery, symbolism and reference within the settings of Underwood Samson, Valparaiso and The Hamptons, Hamid conveys his disquiet with the corporate lifestyle. The affluent Underwood Samson epitomises capitalist America; “We’re a meritocracy… maximum return was the maxim to which we returned time and time again”, and thus Changez’s relationship with the corporate life. Throughout the Chilean trip, Hamid uses imagery to demonstrate how this relationship is strained by the imminent consequences their business will have upon others; “My blinders were coming off and I was dazzled and rendered immobile”. Displaying Changez’s disenchantment with such a way of life, Hamid urges readers to share his rude awakening with corporate America. Depicting the Underwood Samson party in The Hamptons, Hamid makes reference to The Great Gatsby. F. Scott Fitzgerald, like Hamid, sought to use his novel to attack the profligate upper class; “They were careless people… they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money”. Likening Underwood
Hamid conveys his concern for the insidious nature of nostalgia and its dangers for individuals and society at large. Hamid also conjures symbolism within the settings of Lahore and America to define identity and warn others against dividing or forsaking their original identity. stress the danger of dividing it and suggest that one’s origin should not be forsaken least one forsake their true self. Hamid’s novel uses setting to attempt to steer readers away from paths he deems destructive for both individuals and society at large. Hamid demonstrates the peril of dividing one’s identity and forsaking “the importance of tribe” and homeland for a foreign persona through the intimacies undergone within Changez’s New York Apartment: “By taking on the persona of another. by extension. Valparaiso and The Hamptons are enhanced by imagery. Additionally. Hamid compellingly criticizes the capitalist lifestyle and systems that afford it such power. . capitalist America to the wasteful Tom and Daisy of The Great Gatsby. Conjuring imagery. The symbolism and settings of Lahore and America allow Hamid to define the nature of identity. While Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist relies heavily upon setting to convey its concerns. their breaking apart symbolises his struggle as his identity divides. settings of Underwood Samson. I had diminished myself”.Samson employees and. symbolism and references to allow Hamid to condemn both the capitalist lifestyle and systems that afford it such power. Similarly. Exploring the setting of Lahore in contrast to that of America as well as symbolism therein. “It is not always possible to restore one’s boundaries after they have been blurred… something of us is now outside. and something of the outside is now within us”. Hamid seeks to define identity as being inherited then built upon by layers of experience. hence. symbolism and reference within certain settings. This metaphor works to explain the internal turmoil felt by Changez as his inherited Pakistani identity clashes with his constructed American one. other techniques are used in conjunction to strengthen his messages further. passed gently from generation to generation”. Furthermore. Hamid suggests that an individual’s identity shifts and divides from its origin with experience and stresses the danger in having one’s own split too much. Hamid embodies Changez’s American identity within his relationship Erica and. embodying this in the architecture of Lahore: “…these lovely buildings… link between the ancient and the contemporary… family-run establishments. Using the settings of the psychiatric facility and New York alongside symbolism and characterisation. Hamid condemns the disregard corporates have for others and denounce the plutocratic systems of government that allow for it. Fundamentally.