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Jessica
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The Book as a Whole: Foreshadowing

The Reluctant Fundamentalist turns out to be quite a page-turner -- a political thriller that builds to a memorable, and memorably climactic, conclusion. What clues or moments of foreshadowing tipped you off as to how the book would end? Why does Changez tell this stranger his story?


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Note: This topic refers to the book as a whole.

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bentley
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Re: The Book as a Whole: Foreshadowing (Spoiler)

[ Edited ]

Jessica wrote:

The Reluctant Fundamentalist turns out to be quite a page-turner -- a political thriller that builds to a memorable, and memorably climactic, conclusion.
What clues or moments of foreshadowing tipped you off as to how the book would end? Why does Changez tell this stranger his story?



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

Note: This topic refers to the book as a whole.





I think from the very first line and first four paragraphs you could tell you were off to the races. Who was seeking whom and what were the reasons behind this very convenient meeting. Who was going to leave alive?

Changez was observing him and the American I believe knew all about Changez. I have not finished the novel; but it is just conjecture. He guesses Princeton but maybe that was simply a lucky guess; Changez probably appeared very educated and erudite. The bulge under the jacket and the fact he would not take it off or sit next to the window also is a bit of foreshadowing. The food exchange at the table, the looks at the waiter which were commented upon.

The American is on guard, supposedly he looks like he is on a mission and right before his eyes the "mission target" or maybe someone close to it shows up.

The above is all conjecture and I can't wait until I complete the novel. I really want to see if what I see as foreshadowing really is?

"Excuse me, Sir, but may I be of assistance? Ah, I see I have alarmed you. Do not be frightened by my beard: l am a lover of America. I noticed that you were looking for something; more than looking, in fact you seemed to be on a mission, and since I am both a native of this city and a speaker of your language, I thought I might offer you my services.

How did I know you were American? No, not by the color of your skin; we have a range of complexions in this country, and yours occurs often among the people of our northwest frontier. Nor was it your dress that gave you away; a European tourist could as easily have purchased in Des Moines your suit, with its single vent, and your button-down shirt. True, your hair, short-cropped and your expansive chest - the chest, I would say, of a man who bench-presses regularly, and maxes out well above two-twenty-five - are typical of a certain type of American; but then again, sportsmen and soldiers of all nationalities tend to look alike. Instead, it was your bearing that allowed me to identify you, and I do not mean that as an insult, for I see your face has hardened, but merely as an observation.

Come, tell me, what were you looking for? Surely, at this time of day, only one thing could have brought you to the district of Old Anarkali - named, as you may be aware, after a courtesan immured for loving a prince - and that is the quest for the perfect cup of tea. Have I guessed correctly? Then allow me, sir, to suggest my favorite among these many establishments. Yes, this is the one. Its metal chairs are no better upholstered, its wooden tables are equally rough, and it is, like the others, open to the sky. But the quality of its tea, I assure you, is unparalleled.

You prefer that seat, with your back so close to the wall? Very well, although you will benefit less from the intermittent breeze, which, when it does blow, makes these warm afternoons more pleasant. And will you not remove your jacket? So formal! Now that is not typical of Americans, at least not in my experience. And my experience is substantial: I spent four and a half years in your country. Where? I worked in New York, and before that attended college in New Jersey. Yes, you are right: it was Princeton! Quite a guess, I must say.


Why does Changez tell the American his story? It beats me. It has to have been the longest tea break in Pakistan.

Message Edited by bentley on 04-29-200709:09 PM

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Re: The Book as a Whole: Foreshadowing (Don't Read if you haven't finished book - Spoiler)



bentley wrote:

Jessica wrote:

The Reluctant Fundamentalist turns out to be quite a page-turner -- a political thriller that builds to a memorable, and memorably climactic, conclusion.
What clues or moments of foreshadowing tipped you off as to how the book would end? Why does Changez tell this stranger his story?



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

Note: This topic refers to the book as a whole.





I think from the very first line and first four paragraphs you could tell you were off to the races. Who was seeking whom and what were the reasons behind this very convenient meeting. Who was going to leave alive?

Changez was observing him and the American I believe knew all about Changez. I have not finished the novel; but it is just conjecture. He guesses Princeton but maybe that was simply a lucky guess; Changez probably appeared very educated and erudite. The bulge under the jacket and the fact he would not take it off or sit next to the window also is a bit of foreshadowing. The food exchange at the table, the looks at the waiter which were commented upon.

The American is on guard, supposedly he looks like he is on a mission and right before his eyes the "mission target" or maybe someone close to it shows up.

The above is all conjecture and I can't wait until I complete the novel. I really want to see if what I see as foreshadowing really is?

"Excuse me, Sir, but may I be of assistance? Ah, I see I have alarmed you. Do not be frightened by my beard: l am a lover of America. I noticed that you were looking for something; more than looking, in fact you seemed to be on a mission, and since I am both a native of this city and a speaker of your language, I thought I might offer you my services.

How did I know you were American? No, not by the color of your skin; we have a range of complexions in this country, and yours occurs often among the people of our northwest frontier. Nor was it your dress that gave you away; a European tourist could as easily have purchased in Des Moines your suit, with its single vent, and your button-down shirt. True, your hair, short-cropped and your expansive chest - the chest, I would say, of a man who bench-presses regularly, and maxes out well above two-twenty-five - are typical of a certain type of American; but then again, sportsmen and soldiers of all nationalities tend to look alike. Instead, it was your bearing that allowed me to identify you, and I do not mean that as an insult, for I see your face has hardened, but merely as an observation.

Come, tell me, what were you looking for? Surely, at this time of day, only one thing could have brought you to the district of Old Anarkali - named, as you may be aware, after a courtesan immured for loving a prince - and that is the quest for the perfect cup of tea. Have I guessed correctly? Then allow me, sir, to suggest my favorite among these many establishments. Yes, this is the one. Its metal chairs are no better upholstered, its wooden tables are equally rough, and it is, like the others, open to the sky. But the quality of its tea, I assure you, is unparalleled.

You prefer that seat, with your back so close to the wall? Very well, although you will benefit less from the intermittent breeze, which, when it does blow, makes these warm afternoons more pleasant. And will you not remove your jacket? So formal! Now that is not typical of Americans, at least not in my experience. And my experience is substantial: I spent four and a half years in your country. Where? I worked in New York, and before that attended college in New Jersey. Yes, you are right: it was Princeton! Quite a guess, I must say.


Why does Changez tell the American his story? It beats me. It has to have been the longest tea break in Pakistan.

Message Edited by bentley on 04-29-200709:09 PM






I think the foreshadowing was accurate; though I was surprised by Erica's suicide and believe also that Changez met a sad fate at the end of the novel..you could certainly see that something was up. And the waiter is waving for Changez to detain in some way the American. The American obviously has a weapon of some sorts so it is anybody's guess. Ended with the reader being left to make up his mind and decide for himself.
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Re: The Book as a Whole: Foreshadowing (Don't Read if you haven't finished book - Spoiler)

Bentley wrote:

I think the foreshadowing was accurate; though I was surprised by Erica's suicide and believe also that Changez met a sad fate at the end of the novel..you could certainly see that something was up. And the waiter is waving for Changez to detain in some way the American. The American obviously has a weapon of some sorts so it is anybody's guess. Ended with the reader being left to make up his mind and decide for himself.

My response:
I am somewhat perplexed. The foreshadowing cleared showed that there was going to be violence at the end of their conversation. But what perplexed me was that it seemed clear that Changez knew this man was "armed and dangerous." If so, how did he permit himself to be placed in a situation where he could be killed? And how did Changez's "friends" (the waiter etc) permit that to happen? They must have also known that the man was an agent.

It is almost as if that was Changez's suicide. Perhaps (and this might be a stretch) he thought that by sacrificing his life the anti-American sentiment would rise. Or was he reluctant to kill the man first? Was he so conflicted that part of him couldn't beleive he was the target of an assassination?

There were overwhelming instances of overt foreshadowing and it seemed the only one who couldn't see exactly where it was going was Changez. And I do believe Changez died at the end.


Lizabeth
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bentley
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Re: The Book as a Whole: Foreshadowing (Don't Read if you haven't finished book - Spoiler)


dianearbus wrote:
Bentley wrote:

I think the foreshadowing was accurate; though I was surprised by Erica's suicide and believe also that Changez met a sad fate at the end of the novel..you could certainly see that something was up. And the waiter is waving for Changez to detain in some way the American. The American obviously has a weapon of some sorts so it is anybody's guess. Ended with the reader being left to make up his mind and decide for himself.

My response:
I am somewhat perplexed. The foreshadowing cleared showed that there was going to be violence at the end of their conversation. But what perplexed me was that it seemed clear that Changez knew this man was "armed and dangerous." If so, how did he permit himself to be placed in a situation where he could be killed? And how did Changez's "friends" (the waiter etc) permit that to happen? They must have also known that the man was an agent.

It is almost as if that was Changez's suicide. Perhaps (and this might be a stretch) he thought that by sacrificing his life the anti-American sentiment would rise. Or was he reluctant to kill the man first? Was he so conflicted that part of him couldn't beleive he was the target of an assassination?

There were overwhelming instances of overt foreshadowing and it seemed the only one who couldn't see exactly where it was going was Changez. And I do believe Changez died at the end.


Lizabeth




I think that Changez died at the end as well. Maybe this was the way to show his people that he would stand with them even if it meant his own demise. It still was hard for me to believe that he would resort to violence but maybe he felt this was his non violent choice to sacrifice himself (even though he did violence to his own person). He was capable of great anger if you remember the tire iron scene.

He certainly was conflicted and really did not know what he identified with any more; his personality had split in two (2). He forced the firing so that I think he would be forced to return to Pakistan (almost like his penance)..to put in his time because of his bad behavior..trying to follow the American dream.

He really had my sympathy with what he had to go through at the airport and how embarrassed he must have been in front of his colleagues and bosses. And then getting on the plane and seeing all of the nervous faces. How good could that be. Then he seemed to rant and rave about America and then he lost me. Jim gave him a lot of good advice: This too will pass. He was there to listen and Changez could have spoken about his conflicts but instead he buried them. Changez from my viewpoint did not know where he was going anymore..he lost his footing and wasn't grounded in anything. He just went way off course..and you could tell that his family only wanted the best for him and this was not what they had in mind either from my viewpoint. They loved him and Changez missed the familiar.

I thought it was a sad commentary on both Changez and Erica's life (their connection might have centered around their pent up anger about loss and conflicted emotions as well as lost identity)..maybe the wounded can identify each other. I really never saw her isolation as suicidal more of losing touch with the real world; but not any violence to herself. Guess I missed the clues except in retrospect the part where she was saying good bye to everyone. I wish he could have told her how much she meant to him..not sure if it would have changed anything for either of them but it might have. Anyways..just conjecture. Glad to hear from you and your thoughts on this.
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Paul_Hochman
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Re: The Book as a Whole: Foreshadowing (Don't Read if you haven't finished book - Spoiler)

I'm personally not so sure Changez dies in the end. Why would he? He hasn't confessed to any criminal activity or anything else that would merit or precipitate his death.
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Re: The Book as a Whole: Foreshadowing (Don't Read if you haven't finished book - Spoiler)

[ Edited ]

PaulH wrote:
I'm personally not so sure Changez dies in the end. Why would he? He hasn't confessed to any criminal activity or anything else that would merit or precipitate his death.




Hello PaulH,

I was thinking that too at first. But I do not think that the American got through the gate fast enough and if he tried to detain the American like the waiter wanted him too....then I think he is dead; possibly killed in the crossfire. I guess I feel in retrospect that the American was an assassin and Changez knew more than we thought and wasn't the innocent. And telling the American his story was cathartic for Changez...delaying the inevitable because he was conflicted. I don't think of the American dream dying for Changez as much as he played a part in killing it for himself. His actions had consequences.

But that is the beauty of a novel that ends this way..we don't really know. It is like being on The Road again only in Pakistan.

One last thought I wanted to add: You could think that he died like Erica because he wanted the familiar and his identity was split and both could not cut it and for some unknown quirky reason he kept sitting across from someone who he suspected and probably knew had a gun.

Or we have a choice to believe that he made it at the end like the firefly and would live to fight or teach another day growing old in Lahore.

I guess I compared the two possible endings that I came up with and thought that the former probably happened versus the latter.

I am headed to the Community Room because I have finished the book and am reading Moth Smoke (a rather different protagonist but he does get fired too). More life on the seamy side and a Pakistani novel. I have some more questions for Mohsin when I get a chance.

Message Edited by bentley on 05-04-200710:35 AM

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Re: The Book as a Whole: Foreshadowing (Don't Read if you haven't finished book - Spoiler)

[ Edited ]
I would love to hear from others and it looks like this posted twice. Off to the Community Room. Looks like I fixed it enough.

Message Edited by bentley on 05-04-200710:36 AM

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Paul_Hochman
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Re: The Book as a Whole: Foreshadowing (Don't Read if you haven't finished book - Spoiler)

Like the question of Changez's possible death, I'm not wholly convinced that the American had a gun. Mohsin certainly hints at something "metal", but never names it a firearm. Could the cliffhanger of an ending be simply miscommunication between two people of differing cultures who are ill at ease and edgy with the current world events?
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bentley
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Re: The Book as a Whole: Foreshadowing (Don't Read if you haven't finished book - Spoiler)



PaulH wrote:
Like the question of Changez's possible death, I'm not wholly convinced that the American had a gun. Mohsin certainly hints at something "metal", but never names it a firearm. Could the cliffhanger of an ending be simply miscommunication between two people of differing cultures who are ill at ease and edgy with the current world events?





By the end of the novel..the miscommunication theory becomes "the dog that doesn't hunt." I don't see (I really honestly have searched in my heart on this one) that TRF is a love song to America..it is more to me like a tale of America which is like its swan song.

I can feel sorry for Changez but I really don't like him by the end of the novel. He has had a melt down (yes); he can be very engaging and polite (yes); and he obviously is very bright (yes)..but he cuts across my boundaries I think with a lack of respect for what we honor in America and I don't see us as being a bad people. I am not waving the flag and beating on the drums of patriotism here and I don't disagree about some bad policies and some bad decisions by others (let us leave it at that).

But when he compares us to the evil empire and insufferable..enough already. How do you win over the other side by telling them that..that is like telling your mother in law she has a big mouth, is a meddlesome cow and calling her the b word. What is left of your relationship after that..you could hardly then call that a tribute or a love song to her. But you say for example that you also told her that she can be very generous. Well she didn't hear you because she was too angry about everything else you said first. So I don't buy it.

What I do feel that it gives you is the unvarnished viewpoint of someone who lives in Pakistan who has these leanings (Changez) with no embellishments. The mother in law can then say..she knows where she stands (like it or not).

As far as whether the American has a gun or not, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, I think it must be a duck.
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Re: The Book as a Whole: Foreshadowing (Don't Read if you haven't finished book - Spoiler)


bentley wrote:


PaulH wrote:
Like the question of Changez's possible death, I'm not wholly convinced that the American had a gun. Mohsin certainly hints at something "metal", but never names it a firearm. Could the cliffhanger of an ending be simply miscommunication between two people of differing cultures who are ill at ease and edgy with the current world events?





By the end of the novel..the miscommunication theory becomes "the dog that doesn't hunt." I don't see (I really honestly have searched in my heart on this one) that TRF is a love song to America..it is more to me like a tale of America which is like its swan song.

I can feel sorry for Changez but I really don't like him by the end of the novel. He has had a melt down (yes); he can be very engaging and polite (yes); and he obviously is very bright (yes)..but he cuts across my boundaries I think with a lack of respect for what we honor in America and I don't see us as being a bad people. I am not waving the flag and beating on the drums of patriotism here and I don't disagree about some bad policies and some bad decisions by others (let us leave it at that).

But when he compares us to the evil empire and insufferable..enough already. How do you win over the other side by telling them that..that is like telling your mother in law she has a big mouth, is a meddlesome cow and calling her the b word. What is left of your relationship after that..you could hardly then call that a tribute or a love song to her. But you say for example that you also told her that she can be very generous. Well she didn't hear you because she was too angry about everything else you said first. So I don't buy it.

What I do feel that it gives you is the unvarnished viewpoint of someone who lives in Pakistan who has these leanings (Changez) with no embellishments. The mother in law can then say..she knows where she stands (like it or not).

As far as whether the American has a gun or not, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, I think it must be a duck.




One other thing, I would recommend TRF to anyone who wants to understand what the opposing viewpoint might look and sound like. It gives you that in spades and does it as someone else has says with artistic merit. I thought it was a very good read and I appreciated a great deal about the novel..but a love song it was not (for me).
Mohsin, I think hit the target on what he wanted to accomplish. You did hear things that maybe you did not want to hear and it was done in a very inventive way. Camus like but not exactly. It has a style of its own and very worthwhile.
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Re: The Book as a Whole: Foreshadowing (Focus on the Fundamentals)

Discovered that Mohsin has published in the Paris Review a short story or a segment of his book The Reluctant Fundamentalist and called it Focus on the Fundamentals.

I was wondering how a segment of that book could stand alone and not have many unanswered parts. Unfortunately, you now have to pay to read archival articles.

I think personally that Mohsin has a brilliant new future ahead of him as an author (it looks like he has been successful at everything he has done)and though Changez upset my sensibilities (he was still successful in doing so). I am glad that I read TRF. And Paul H Changez didn't upset me as much as the Judge!
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Re: The Book as a Whole: Foreshadowing (Focus on the Fundamentals)

On Changez's death:

"But why are you reaching into your jacket, sir? I detect a glint of metal."(184)

The question for me is how did he know that the man was an agent and be so unprepared? He was obviously unarmed.

I think that Changez was unsure that he was a target. The others (the waiter etc) knew. He was truly a reluctant fundamentalist, reluctant to truly believe that an American agent would murder him. And that cost him his life.

Now why would the agent want to murder him? Changez states that "when the international television news networks came to our campus, I stated to them among other things that no country inflicts death so readily upon the inhabitants of other countries, frightens so many people far away, as America" (182)

Then he says: "Such was the impact that I was warned by my comrades that America might react to my admittedly intemperate remarks by sending an emissary to intimidate me or worse." (182-83)

This, in my opinion, foreshadows Changez's death by the man who I believe was an American agent sent to silence him.


Lizabeth
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bentley
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Re: The Book as a Whole: Foreshadowing (Focus on the Fundamentals)


dianearbus wrote:
On Changez's death:

"But why are you reaching into your jacket, sir? I detect a glint of metal."(184)

The question for me is how did he know that the man was an agent and be so unprepared? He was obviously unarmed.

I think that Changez was unsure that he was a target. The others (the waiter etc) knew. He was truly a reluctant fundamentalist, reluctant to truly believe that an American agent would murder him. And that cost him his life.

Now why would the agent want to murder him? Changez states that "when the international television news networks came to our campus, I stated to them among other things that no country inflicts death so readily upon the inhabitants of other countries, frightens so many people far away, as America" (182)

Then he says: "Such was the impact that I was warned by my comrades that America might react to my admittedly intemperate remarks by sending an emissary to intimidate me or worse." (182-83)

This, in my opinion, foreshadows Changez's death by the man who I believe was an American agent sent to silence him.


Lizabeth




Lizabeth,

I think you have found exactly the passages which prove what happened to Changez along with the events of the ending of the book itself and what Changez says himself in his dialogue. I agree with you.

I am suitably shocked that the American would be placed in that position and do what I believe he did; but I also believe Changez might have been caught in the crossfire at the end; but died nonetheless especially if he tried to detain the American as the waiter was gesturing that he do. Obviously the waiter played an important role in what happened to Changez. Here was Changez once again caught between his two worlds and identities. Harmed in part by both.

Bentley
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Mariposa
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Re: The Book as a Whole: Foreshadowing (Focus on the Fundamentals)

Someone posted this poem in another book club I belong to:

A Fable


Securely sunning in a forest glade,
A mild, well-meaning snake
Approved the adaptations he had made
For safety's sake.

He liked the skin he had—
Its mottled camouflage, its look of mail,
And was content that he had thought to add
A rattling tail.


The tail was not for drumming up a fight;
No, nothing of the sort.
And he would only use his poisoned bite
As last resort.


A peasant now drew near,
Collecting wood; the snake, observing this,
Expressed concern by uttering a clear
But civil hiss.


The simple churl, his nerves at once unstrung,
Mistook the other's tone
And dashed his brains out with a deftly-flung
Pre-emptive stone.

Moral

Security, alas, can give
A threatening impression;
Too much defense-initiative
Can prompt aggression.

Richard Wilbur


I am not exactly sure why this reminded me of The Reluctant Fundamentalist but it did. Perhaps because Changez's "civil hiss" led to someone sent to "dash his brains out." And what about the moral? Did Changez give a "threatening impression"? Remember the change in how people looked at him when he didn't shave for a few days? When he grew a beard? Did that "prompt aggression" along with the "civil hiss" that was shown in the media? Was Changez's assassination a "pre-emptive stone"?
Anyhow I thought it was interesting enough to share.

Lizabeth
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Foreshadowing (spoiler the whole book)



Jessica wrote: Why does Changez tell this stranger his story?





I wonder, too. The motivation is kind of missing unless I read it (as decided to do) as a desperate need to make the last confession, which in itself would foreshadow the end.

There is also a healing in telling a story about your life. We tell stories about our lives in order to find some meaning in what happened to us, to make a sense of it. The stranger is obviously American and perhaps Changez hopes that an American can understand bits of the story that his culture can't. He couldn't bring himself to tell his whole true story to his mother. In order to survive he had to hide bits of himself, both in America and in Pakistan. He's whole nowhere, there is hole in him. Finally teh stanger put a hole in him even physically.

This existential alienation in (here:financial) refugees is a big hole in their soul. You belong nowhere and everywhere. I do not think there is a remedy to it. It is both a dangerous and developmentally potential state. Once you leave your place of birth, your culture and decide to live elsewhene you need to learn to live with the acquired sense of loss that will be there forever and learn to live with the new situation, too. Changez couldn't do neither, he ended up homeless and finally dead. Finally even physically dead. He hoped for the best and was finished in the process in many ways than one.

The book has many levels. No matter if they are all intended, main thing they are there.

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the end of the book (spoiler)


PaulH wrote:
Like the question of Changez's possible death, I'm not wholly convinced that the American had a gun. Mohsin certainly hints at something "metal", but never names it a firearm. Could the cliffhanger of an ending be simply miscommunication between two people of differing cultures who are ill at ease and edgy with the current world events?




I think of the end as open and possible to interpret in many different ways. I live happily with that opportunity. It's part of the story's whole style. I also think that it adds to the book's meaning when the end remains open like this. Who is after whom in that situation? It's dark, who gets hurt, what wins? A friendly thought (oh, a biz cards holder) or is it all more tricky? Is the fear the only rule here? Maybe the whole situation (if shooting was involved) happened unnecessarily. Maybe they all had some other tasks and only the suspicious attitude, expecting the worst brought them down. Maybe Changez was just a catalyst. Maybe it is fate, maybe it is coincidence.

What about the waiter, his looks are scrutinized, judged, can the looks only mean harm? How do we read a person? Does Changez just happen to come inbetween? Or is he an undercover agent of his own volition? Did he after all choose a side? Does he need to choose a side? If so, how does he fight? With violence or with word and numbers? Why did he start to talk to the stanger at all? Was his reason solely private?

Questions bring about the meaning in this case and they come as a monsoon. Torentuous rain. The discussion of the themes can unfold in a more interesting way if the end is left free and we do not have any definite answers, we all live in the midst of the conflict ourselves. And the uncertainty adds to the outcome. How do we embrace the uncertainty? What do we choose to belive? Light or dark? The racial element is also present: white skin, dark skin. Skin is a boundary, is there a boundary? If so is the boundary absolute? Language is skin. What is our language? etc. etc.

The open end makes you think, it reveals the suspicion, the fear, the willingness and unwillingness to build bridges over the gaping chasm.

In that I see an invitation from Mohsin to think and talk about these questions rather than a definite statement or an attempt to decide who is the bad guy here and who is the good one. That would be too simplistic. This is not exactly the western saga with clear protagonist and antagonist, the dramatical structure (dramaturgy) of life is more convoluted and the issue is more complex. The open end invites the investigation of the complexity of the matter.

What say you?


ziki
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bad Americans

[ Edited ]

bentley wrote:I can feel sorry for Changez but I really don't like him by the end of the novel. He has had a melt down (yes); he can be very engaging and polite (yes); and he obviously is very bright (yes)..but he cuts across my boundaries I think with a lack of respect for what we honor in America and I don't see us as being a bad people. I am not waving the flag and beating on the drums of patriotism here and I don't disagree about some bad policies and some bad decisions by others (let us leave it at that).




I think the main question doesn't lie there. Americans are not bad people; rather there are people in America and elsewhere who behave in acceptable and unacceptable ways. This is a question of levels. You can't discuss geriatry with a baby.

I think at the end it is a question of global economy and the call for remedy of that which is not sound and healthy. That America rules its foreign policy with help of finances is no news and the book doesn't state a lie in that respect. My way or highway is not the way.

I find it interesting that Mohsin put Changez in the financial sphere. He could have made him a doctor and squeeze out another feasible story but that would not point to the root of the problem. As I said in another post this is not a question of finding a good guy and a bad guy. The main question here is: are you a part of the problem or a part of the solution?

Capitalism as a system isn't invulnerable and globaly we need another type of economy, a global sharing economy based on basic human values and needs, and management of global resources. Not an economy of ego needs. But as societies we are not able to work it out, we are not even able to recognize the problem, perhaps not even willing to label it as a problem. People have blinders on, like Changez had! But the problem won't go away if we don't talk about it, that is a rather dysfunctional behavior.

We need a higher level of consciousness to operate from. You come to this world naked and you can't take anything with you when you die, you leave it naked so to speak. All we use is a loan of sorts. We are just passing through and act like idiots. And perhaps it is what the world as we know it is, a stage to act on while reality is inside your heart. It's up to each individual to recognize it and live with it as a guidance. If it is Muhammed that helps you on your path, Amen, if it is Jesus, Allah Akbar!

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 05-06-200705:32 AM

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bentley
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Re: The Book as a Whole: Foreshadowing (Focus on the Fundamentals)



dianearbus wrote:
Someone posted this poem in another book club I belong to:

A Fable


Securely sunning in a forest glade,
A mild, well-meaning snake
Approved the adaptations he had made
For safety's sake.

He liked the skin he had—
Its mottled camouflage, its look of mail,
And was content that he had thought to add
A rattling tail.


The tail was not for drumming up a fight;
No, nothing of the sort.
And he would only use his poisoned bite
As last resort.


A peasant now drew near,
Collecting wood; the snake, observing this,
Expressed concern by uttering a clear
But civil hiss.


The simple churl, his nerves at once unstrung,
Mistook the other's tone
And dashed his brains out with a deftly-flung
Pre-emptive stone.

Moral

Security, alas, can give
A threatening impression;
Too much defense-initiative
Can prompt aggression.

Richard Wilbur


I am not exactly sure why this reminded me of The Reluctant Fundamentalist but it did. Perhaps because Changez's "civil hiss" led to someone sent to "dash his brains out." And what about the moral? Did Changez give a "threatening impression"? Remember the change in how people looked at him when he didn't shave for a few days? When he grew a beard? Did that "prompt aggression" along with the "civil hiss" that was shown in the media? Was Changez's assassination a "pre-emptive stone"?
Anyhow I thought it was interesting enough to share.

Lizabeth




Lizabeth,

I think differentness always seems to invite scrutiny of some sort. And I think you are correct..unfortunately for Changez.

Regards,

Bentley
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Re: The Book as a Whole (the end)



dianearbus wrote:Now why would the agent want to murder him?




Maybe he didn't want to murder him. Maybe he suspected that the waiter (the others) will murder him and he didn't wait long enough to verify that :smileyvery-happy:.
Perhaps USA can find certain people who studied in US and do away with them so that the skills are not used against US interests.
The whole thing with obscurity and the 'game of suspicion' is part of the plot...even IRL...we just do not know, do we? We are trying to know....but can never be sure....

ziki
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