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Jessica
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Chapter 5: Leaving Manila

In Chapter 5, Changez is in a hotel in Manila, packing his suitcase and watching television, when he sees the World Trade Center collapse. "And then I smiled," he confesses. Explore this scene as the turning point of the novel in terms of plot, character, scope, and tone.


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 5. Some readers of this thread may not have finished the book. If you are referring to events that occur after Chapter 5, please use "Spoiler Warning" in the subject line of your post. Thanks!

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bentley
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Re: Chapter 5: Leaving Manila (Spoiler)

[ Edited ]

Jessica wrote:

In Chapter 5, Changez is in a hotel in Manila, packing his suitcase and watching television, when he sees the World Trade Center collapse. "And then I smiled,"
he confesses. Explore this scene as the turning point of the novel in terms of plot, character, scope, and tone.



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 5. Some readers of this thread may not have finished the book. If you are referring to events that occur
after Chapter 5, please use "Spoiler Warning" in the subject line of your post. Thanks!





Changez was already noticing things that he was doing which he was not comfortable with but did them anyway (in terms of how he treated older employees, etc). He was adapting to what I think he perceived as the American "shark" style.

It was at the point of his seeing the newscast that he realized that he was secretly glad of the oneupsmanship of the Americans in the WTC disaster and he "smiled". He really was concerned with only one New Yorker and that was Erica. He feigned upset at work and masked his true feelings. He started changing his viewpoint on many things because all of a sudden he saw what he thought he was beginning to become. And possibly was beginning to feel some self-loathing. One striking difference which began his dramatic change involved his work style. For the very first time he showed up at work late.

Being harassed at the airport also did not sit well. And he felt that his face now did not fit in. He was badgered by immigration officials and was asked continually what was the purpose of his coming to the US. He said he worked there, etc. Being forced to disrobe down to his boxer shots (I think it read that they had teddy bears on them or something) was also possibly most embarrassing and humiliating. I know I would have more than likely felt similarly. The problem appears to be that the terrorist themselves are all of a certain age and background. There were no 64 year old white grandmothers from St. Louis in the group. Not a one.

Today in London there were some additional indictments of five (5) Brits of Pakistani descent who were involved I believe in the train bombings. It really is sad that innocent people are singled out because of the likes of some of these folks; but unfortunately our world has become one very dangerous place and people are consumed by fear and probably adhere to the old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I know that I want to feel secure when I fly or when I take a train...and it is unfortunate that the profiles are so consistent. Very sad situation. Sad for the innocent bystander, sad for the innocent Muslims or people of Pakistani descent, sad also for the innocent people murdered because all they did was go to work.

In my town, we had the largest single number of fatalities in the WTC attack. I saw first hand the devastation that occurred to families, wifes, husbands, siblings, mothers and fathers and especially the little children. I live on a street where a trader lived; with very young children and a little baby. It was very very sad to think that all the man did was go to work...definately not a political statement.

Though I am torn by how innocent people are also being profiled, I am just not sure what other options are being presented to us given the perpetrators backgrounds. Maybe someone else has some better ideas on this. I certainly would like to hear them.

I certainly felt very very sorry for what Changez was put through, he did not deserve this either. And I think for the first time it changed how he looked at himself and others and how foreign he felt he was and others were as well. A wall came up and change I think swept over him. I think he too was transformed by the event: he had to choose.

I can honestly say that September 11th changed the world overnight and especially the lives of New Yorkers and the suburbs where others lived. I am really sorry for all of us..all of the innocent people (East and West) who are hurt by the few bad apples who are transforming the way that all of us now have to live and paralyzing us with fear or the unknown and of each other. The tone not only changed in the book after this event; but it changed in America and the world. Most New Yorkers and folks in the suburbs all knew someone personally who had perished. What did America do to deserve what happened. I would have hoped that Changez could have listened to Jim and realized like he said that this will pass. But I think already it was too late for Changez..his heart was changing.

Message Edited by bentley on 05-01-200709:51 PM

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bentley
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Re: Chapter 5: Leaving Manila (Spoiler)

About the smile:

What was interesting for me was when Changez was greeted by his brother and by his family in general when he returned home to Pakistan (sounded like it was around Christmas time in NYC). When they touched him and the touch brought back something familiar; he smiled. It was like being in touch with his roots, his heritage and Pakistan. He was touched and changed.

I think the same thing had happened when he smiled in the Philippines after seeing the newscast. Once again a cord was struck and he "smiled".

Nobody else has commented on the smile and to me that was a major revelation and turning point I think for Changez.
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Chapter 5: Leaving Manila

[ Edited ]
His reaction was to be 'remarkably pleased'.
That certainly sets him apart from his fellow-workers.

There were pictures then (on the news) of muslims celebrating the attacks, weren't there? At least one can say those folks were open and 'honest' with their hatred.

Changez behavior is twisted. He was pleased to see what happened but not so pleased by the consequences of it (i.e. his delay in the airport upon his arrival to NY). His co workers went to the American line, he went to immmigrant line, so what? They were Americans, he was an immigrant, period. He was 'hurt' that others already left the airport when he got through and didn't wait for him. Should they pop a bottle of champagne while patiently awaiting Judas' appearence? He doesn't want to be a part of the team but expects to be treated like one of them? Gimme a break! Shall Jim lick his shoes or what!? Changez screwed them already then and yet Jim gave him another chance when he sent him off to South America. Isn't that fair?

Changez is false but expects fair treatment, well, it doesn't work just one way, does it?

He didn't come and said "I think this is right, because bla bla bla but I am worried about my friend Erica in NY". He was not authentic. Why would they treat him as if he were one of them? He behaves on a psychological level of one year old.

He was the one who was happy about the tragedy. He faked his feelings in front of the others and then he expected others to treat him as a friend? Changez was one of the most selfish immature characters in the modern literature, Princeton is no excuse, nor is it any guarantee for wisdom. He was a coward. He can be intellectually quick but his emotional intelligence is not level.

Please mention some other lit. types in his league.

ziki
PS
This book can even strengthen all the prejudice toward Muslims that surfaced after 9/11.

Message Edited by ziki on 05-07-200705:48 AM

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Mariposa
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapter 5: Leaving Manila

In Chapter 5, Changez is in a hotel in Manila, packing his suitcase and watching television, when he sees the World Trade Center collapse. "And then I smiled," he confesses. Explore this scene as the turning point of the novel in terms of plot, character, scope, and tone.
_________________________________________________________________

This moment is the beginning of Changez’s awareness that he is divided in his loyalties. It is a critical moment in the book. Why did he smile? He smiled because he deeply felt that America’s arrogance took a hit that day. “--no, I was caught up in the symbolism of it all, the fact that someone had so visibly brought America to her knees.” (71) He had not forgotten his “American university,” his “American salary,” or his “American girlfriend.” The smile was almost a reflex action. Perhaps even a surprise to himself at that point.

I remember that day all too well. I was shocked too. I did not smile. I was too afraid. I could see the smoke from the windows near my office. I left work and began walking home. I was worried about my children. My husband who loved to frequent Borders bookstore in the World Trade Center. Had he gone that day? What/who would be next?

Yet I do believe America’s role in the world is deeply flawed and needs to be checked.

Isn’t the right to have differences of opinion protected by the First Amendment? Isn’t that an essential part of the core values of this country? And I guess that includes the right to smile, however distasteful I might personally find that response to the WTC bombings…

Lizabeth
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Re: Chapter 5: Leaving Manila

The smile was almost a reflex....
----------
I'm spinning onward on that sentence from your post:
------------
Perhaps the smile was also a surprise to himself, he was not evil on purpose so to speak. He didn't know himself too well(confused as he was, young as he was) and this event was a kind of beginning of his becoming undone. I believe at that point he didn't know anything about his deeper motif.

It can happen that something unexpected occurs and we react in a way that surprises us and we are caught totally unaware. The smile probably opened a door for Changez into an abyss that he tried to avoid during a long time (and no longer could).

What surprises me is that he didn't stop and reflect why he was glad that this tragedy was orchestrated in such an insane way. It's not that he was stupid and easy to manipulate, he was an analyst after all.

ziki
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