The Reluctant Fundamentalist is very much based on different conflicts.
After reading 10 chapters of this book, I have still not detected any conflicts of greater extent between Changez and the American. This, I think, is caused by the fact that The American nearly says anything during the book. However, you can clearly detect some tension building up between the two characters. As the story enhances you can feel the American becoming more and more uncomfortable with Changez’ stories, this is noticed via his body language. The tension started to build up after Changez talks about 9/11.
The conflict between Changez and the United stated is more noticeable during the story. Changez has always been a Pakistani by heart, but after 9/11 occurred, he slowly starts to resent the United States and the values it represents. I think this is caused by the fact that he does not feel welcome or at home in the states anymore, and therefore starts longing for his old life and family and all the values they represent.
Changez also has a conflict between himself and his workplace at Underwood Samson. During his stay in South America, he slowly starts to reflect on the work he does, and if it is a noble occupation or not. He does not like the fact that he is ruining people’s lives while his family is struggling back home with a war steadily approaching.
The inner conflict which Changez has with himself is definitely the most central conflict in this story. Changez is torn between his old and new life and culture and struggles to balance it all. While trying to figure all of this out, he also experiences a heartbreak. I can absolutely see why Changez is struggling.
“Have you hear of the Janissaries? “No,” I said. “They were Christian boys,” he explained, “captured by the Ottomans and trained to be soldiers in a Muslim army, at that time the greatest army in the world. they were ferocious and utterly loyal: they had fought to erase their own civilizations, so they had nothing else to turn to.”
I think this quote is very important to this part of the story. It basically creates parallels between an old civilization and Changez. This, I think, makes him able to understand his position in the society. I personally became very interested in continuing reading the book after this quote, because it really lays the fundamentals for what is jet to come.
“There really could be no doubt: I was a modern-day janissary, a servant of the American empire at a time when it was invading a country with a kinship to mine and was perhaps even colluding to ensure that my own country faced the threat of war.”
This quote is the continuation of the prior quote. In this part of the story, he has finally put two and two together and concluded with the same as I did in the paragraph above. Changez is a modern-day janissary.