Atmosphere And Suspense In The Reluctant Fundamentalist

661 words - 3 pages

How does Mohsin Hamid use ominous details and imagery to enhance the atmosphere and create suspense in The Reluctant Fundamentalist?

The Reluctant Fundamentalist written by Mohsin Hamid, tells the story of a young Pakistani named Changez, who arrived at Princeton at the vulnerable age of 18. Four years later he graduated “without having received a single B”(4), and began working at the elite valuation firm Underwood Samson. Changez was, in the beginning, infatuated with the idea of the American Dream, but at length he realized that the new life he had adopted in New York constituted a betrayal of his deepest self, and finally returned home. However, although Changez’s story took place in American, the plot was actually set in Lahore, using a brilliantly managed framing device. Seated at a restaurant in Lahore, Changez narrated his story over the course of a single evening to an American stranger, whose identity was gradually−but never fully− disclosed by an unsettling and suspenseful drip-feed of information.

From the beginning and throughout the entire novel, Hamid strives to remind readers of the American stranger and the surrounding city of Lahore. Where Changez was a stranger in the American’s home nation, the American is now a stranger to Lahore, Changez’s native city. However, although readers are informed in detail of Changez’s life in New York, little is said about the American stranger to whom the monologue is depicted. The lack of detail regarding the stranger, yet the various indications that something is slightly abnormal about him makes for an ominous and suspenseful atmosphere.

“You prefer that seat, with your back so close to the wall?...And will you not remove your jacket?” (2), are among the first words exchanged between Changez and the American. Although it is teatime in Lahore was not yet dark, Hamid wastes no time in engulfing the stranger in a shroud of mystery. The quotation slightly implies that the man has ensconced a gun within his jacket, and therefore...

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