Examples Of Nostalgia In The Reluctant Fundamentalist

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The human mind often develops and clings onto joyful recollection of memories. This wistful longing and sentimentality for the past is nostalgia. Nostalgia is not necessarily destructive, but being unable to accept reality inevitably can lead to misery and hopelessness. In The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Mohsin Hamid depicts the life of a Pakistan immigrant, Changez, in America before and after the 9/11 terrorist attack. While being employed under Underwood Samson and living in post 9/11 America, Changez falls in love with a woman named Erica. Throughout the novel, many characters experience an internal conflict to reject reality and reside in their memories. Because of their inability to face reality, they are forced into their own torment …show more content…
He is very persistent in being the missing piece of Erica even after many failed attempts. Out of desperation, he offers himself as a temporary physical replacement for Chris. “‘Then pretend, pretend I am him’… I did not seem to be myself… as though we were under a spell, transported to a world where I was Chris and she was with Chris, and we made love with a physical intimacy that Erica and I had never enjoyed. Her body denied mine no longer; I watched her shut eyes, and her shut eyes watched him.” (105). Here, Changez insists that Erica imagines him to be Chris to have sex with him, not mainly out of desire, but to give Erica a sense of security and love. Erica was able to accept Changez only because she closed her eyes and pictured Chris. It is obvious that Changez could not replace him and Changez only serves as his spiritual puppet for Erica. She could not open her eyes because she didn’t want to face Changez and rather imagines the incourse with Chris. Afterwards, Changez feels guilt and shame for what he has done. “I felt at once both satiated and ashamed… Perhaps, by taking on the persona of another, I had diminished myself in my own eyes; perhaps i was humiliated by the continuing dominance… perhaps I was worried that I had acted selfishly and I sensed, even then, that I had done Erica some terrible harm.” (106). Changez’s attempt in taking Chris’ spiritual place has resulted in a failure as he not only supplemented Erica’s desire for Chris, but created a predicament for himself as he wonders whether or not his actions were morally justified. Although the intercourse relieved her depression, it only supplemented her augmented love for

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