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Jessica
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Chapter 1: Life in Pakistan

In Chapter 1, Changez explains that his family belonged to the old aristocracy in Pakistan -- though they are no longer wealthy, they still retain their social status. How important is it to Changez to regain what his family has lost? How does he hope to do that?


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Note: This discussion refers to topics in Chapter 1. Some readers of this thread may not have finished the book. If you are referring to events that occur after Chapter 1, please use "Spoiler Warning" in the subject line of your post. Thanks!

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bentley
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Re: Chapter 1: Life in Pakistan (Spoiler)


Jessica wrote:

In Chapter 1, Changez explains that his family belonged to the old aristocracy in Pakistan -- though they are no longer wealthy, they still retain their social status.
How important is it to Changez to regain what his family has lost? How does he hope to do that?



Reply to this message to discuss any of these topics. Or start your own new topic by clicking "New Message."

Note: This discussion refers to topics in Chapter 1. Some readers of this thread may not have finished the book. If you are referring to events that occur
after Chapter 1, please use "Spoiler Warning" in the subject line of your post. Thanks!





I think Changez felt shame in part needing financial aide. Gradually, though the family belonged to the old aristocracy, because times were tough for even professionals in his homeland, money was not in abundance and there was simply no money available for him to go away to college. Maybe he felt with the good salary that he was making that he could return his family to their former grandeur in terms of riches and future inheritance and/or net worth. To me his family was very rich in tradition and he valued that above all. And in that he was very rich already. I often wonder why folks who have a strong family unit, but are not wealthy have any sense of inferiority or how their self esteem takes a secret hit. Being alone did not seem to bother Changez since his family life was full and intimate. And his true identity was always in Pakistan while he interloped for awhile in America. I don't think that America was ever his home, it was simply a place to pass through or visit. His heart never in my mind intended to stay or integrate. He frankly is standing apart and not flowing with the general culture. He ate in the basement and made his food and led in some ways a secret existance of "separateness". His public persona got along and exuded a cultured face to others and in fact his background was stellar. Maybe for awhile he could pretend to be somebody else and role play. Home is where the heart is they say; and his heart from what I have been able to judge so far was in Pakistan. I am sure that as I read more that I may have additional insights. Does he have a chip on his shoulders?
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Re: Chapter 1: Life in Pakistan



Jessica wrote:

In Chapter 1, Changez explains that his family belonged to the old aristocracy in Pakistan -- though they are no longer wealthy, they still retain their social status.
How important is it to Changez to regain what his family has lost? How does he hope to do that?




Regain what his family has lost? That is financial freedom, right? What else did they loose?

I do not find the answer to this question in the first chapter other than it is shown that he is an ambitious student who does well and he recognizes the value of a good employment. On his holiday in Greece his financial status is again amplified.

ziki
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pretense (Spoiler-whole book)



bentley wrote:
--- His public persona got along and exuded a cultured face to others and in fact his background was stellar. Maybe for awhile he could pretend to be somebody else and role play.


---Does he have a chip on his shoulders?




Changez was playing a role, wasn't he? He didn't fool Jim who could read him as an open book but he fooled himself to start with. Finally it seemed that he was not able to keep up the pretense and he had to live through his confusion. I do not think that he was able to step aside and consciously deal with it, he sort of had to go through the whole tumultuous process.

Had he a chip on his shoulder? I think he did. Perhaps whole cultures do but the issue of world economy is more complicated than that.

I looked up the idiom in a dictionary -chip on the shoulder- and this example sentence came up:
Even though he went to university, he's always had a chip on his shoulder about his poor upbringing. :smileyvery-happy:

ziki
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Changez background (Spoiler)

[ Edited ]

bentley wrote: I often wonder why folks who have a strong family unit, but are not wealthy have any sense of inferiority or how their self esteem takes a secret hit. Being alone did not seem to bother Changez since his family life was full and intimate. And his true identity was always in Pakistan while he interloped for awhile in America. I don't think that America was ever his home, it was simply a place to pass through or visit. His heart never in my mind intended to stay or integrate. He frankly is standing apart and not flowing with the general culture.




Changez uses his background more as a defense: "we were not that worthless after all, even if we didn't have money we had tradition and style". I do not see he really posses a strong sense of integrity. His family is his home and therein lies his only security. He uses it as an anchor.

He judges Americans for being rude, arrogant. The arrogance of [new] money (not unlike the aristocracy that once judged bourgeoisie) comes with an increasing sense of powerlessness, when one is definitely loosing the power that is inherent in money. Cash is king. Life is a whore. No money, no fuc--ng. It's not refined on that level.

Changez is torn. He wants to be in the money gang but for that he needs to exchange his old world for a new one, change the continents, cultures. Family money wasn't enough to support him, he is kicked out of the seeming security of the old family. Tradition is a tiny solace in that case. For Erica he is just a culturally interesting exotic 'ethnic-animal' as many immigrants would be. That alone isa tiny island left for them to live on in teh new culture, and they are left to do the best of it i.e. start a restaurant.

Changez is caught inbetween two cultures. Any immigrant is, no matter how well assimilated.

When Changez visits his home (note it is Christmas time in US = metaphor for closeness, friends, family&he leaves) he sees the shabiness of their house and feels bad about it before he seizes himself, finds the other part of him again (the pride) and settles on the 'old' side again. He can't reconsile them both. He wants money and he judges America who can give it to him. He refuses to pay the price of getting money (which is effort, service , cooperation) and like a baby he demands a total acceptance and attention. How immature is that?

It is said in the book that we were the civilizations that had advanced systems when Americans were barbaric. That is a very limited statement! First comes the question how come they didn't maintain it long enough? Second: I'd say bad luck, look at your name (Changez) everything changes. Changez expected to sail to the top and stay there forever happy like a cinderella in the fairy tale. Life is not a fairy tale. Jim worked hard to get to the top, he also worked hard to stay there, while Changez thought it all happens by itself. Magic keys open the doors for him (like Erica would introduce him into inner circles of the 'high society'). It makes me sick! Such a sleezy calculation covered in pink cloud of love. His was not love, his was a big need. He became elegantly demanding instead of giving. I have an issue with that attitude.

While US can be blamed for financial imperialism, muslims under the present circumstances could be blamed for religious imperialism or attempts on it.

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 05-06-200704:05 AM

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