Changez/Cengiz's changing beliefs in the reluctant fundamentalist
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
Purdue University Press
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In her article, “Changez/Cengiz's Changing Beliefs in The Reluctant Fundamentalist” Valerie Kennedy analyzes the interrelation of individual subjectivity and global capitalism and the conflict between two belief systems in Mohsin Hamid’s novel. These are, first, a neoliberal system that sees individuals as rationally self-interested, mobile, economic units, and, second, a system based on a humanist definition of individuals as defined by nation, family, and tradition. Changez, the novel’s protagonist, initially endorses the first, but later rejects it for the second, due to his growing awareness of the impact on Pakistan of American geopolitics after 9/11. The essay also examines the Western gaze upon the East in the novel—Changez both criticizes and, paradoxically, sometimes endorses Orientalist stereotypes—and it concludes that Changez’s later counter-capitalist beliefs seem unlikely to seriously challenge the disciplinary power of global capitalism.