To what extent is the reluctant fundamentalist about nostalgia?

8 August 2016

Changez often shows signs of nostalgia when remembering his journey. The audience can see that toward the end Changez is spiralling into the dangers of Nostalgia. When Changez thinks about his countries past he feels jealous, not at America, but at the fact that the world notices America’s greatness and looks up to the country but doesn’t ponder on Lahore’s pronounced history. Changez often remembers New York with fondness but he has a profound hatred toward America. When reminiscing about his time in New York, Changez remembers the “cosmopolitan nature” of the city displayed before 9/11, and what America turned it into after 9/11.

Body Paragraph 2: Erica Erica cannot let go of the memory of her deceased childhood sweetheart While she physically moves in reality, mentally she is stuck in the memories of her past. Body Paragraph 3: America After September 11 America clings to its past. “Nostalgia was their crack cocaine” TO WHAT EXTENT IS THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST ABOUT NOSTALGIA? Nostalgia is defined as a “sentimental longing or wistful thinking for a period in the past”. In theory nostalgia is a wonderful experience of reminiscing on memories in the past, but every so often nostalgia can have destructive effects on one’s mentality.

To what extent is the reluctant fundamentalist about nostalgia? Essay Example

In “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” Mohsid Hamid incorporates the theme of nostalgia throughout the monologue. Through his characters, Hamid illustrations both the positive and negative effects nostalgia has on a person. He explains to us that if handled carefully, nostalgia could be a form of relief, but if one dwells only in the past they will lose themselves, and find it nearly impossible to distinguish their reality from their memory. The protagonist Changez opens up to the American ‘tourist’, and in doing so displays strong sense of nostalgia that often takes over him.

In many occasions Changez looks back at his time in New York with a certain degree of affection, presenting to the audience the fact that there is and always will be a place “of great fondness in [his] heart” for his beloved New York. He often remembers the little things with a sense of longing such as the delicious popcorn shrimp, “a delicacy [they] entirely lack in Lahore”. These brief moments of desire allows Changez to momentarily evoke upon the enjoyments of America without bring reminded of the pain and suffering he endures during his time there.

This demonstrates how nostalgia can illuminate some memories while at the same time darken others. It is also evident through Changez the deadly dangers that nostalgia can bring about. Even after moving to the opposite side of the world Changez “remained emotionally entwined with Erica” He began to live in his memory, unprepared to come to terms with the fact that Erica is never coming back. He clung to the hope that she is still alive and searches for her existence with no reward.

Changez faces a constant battle with his memories succumbing to their powerful misconceptions of reality. He started to manifest a reality that was only fiction. In many ways it seems like nostalgia is a contagious disease which was once faced by Erica but has now taken a hold of Changez. Erica is the girl of Changez’s dreams. She is the ideal American socialite; graceful, elegant and with the magnetism of a celebrity {Britney spears quote-find} But despite her outer perfection, Erica is mentally unstable, “struggling with a current pulling her within herself”.

After the sudden death of her one true love Erica was lost and confused, she didn’t know how to live a life without him, and unlike the many people who suffer the loss of a loved one, Erica never recovered. Instead of accepting his death Erica often romantics her time spent with Chris, illuminating the good times and darkening the bad. While she physically moved in the world of the living, mentally she was stuck with her diseased lover, unwilling to let go. In the end Erica sinks so deep into her imagination and is consumed by nostalgia.

Just like Erica, America finds it difficult to move on from the past and look forward to the future. After the destruction of the Twin Towers America clings to the past, and “was increasingly giving over to the dangerous nostalgia at the time” America was brought down by a third world country, who’s technological advances and knowledge were presumably much inferior to Americas, and this attack on America not only damaged its ego but also its image. America wouldn’t accept defeat by a country that is seemingly infinitely inferior to theirs and hence America reacted destructively.

The nation suddenly changed its face, from multi-cultural to anti-Muslim, in an instant. Despite being allies with Muslim country, America attacked them, one wold presume as a form of revenge, as well as to assure to people of the world that America is a country that one cannot defy without consequence. America’s failure to move on from these attacks clouds their decisions, in these circumstances they are willing to see only the destruction caused by a small group of people from Muslim community and not the progressive outcomes of their existence in and outside their country.

In conclusion in the novel “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” Mohsin Hamid incorporates the theme of nostalgia inconspicuously throughout the novel. Through his characters, He demonstrates the positive and negative effects nostalgia can have on a person. By comparing nostalgia to “crack cocaine” we can assume that nostalgia has the ability to numb the pain of reality but if triggered on a regular basis one gets addicted, and loses themselves in their memory, unable to distinguish an memory from reality.

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