Mohsin Hamid’s captivating novel from 2007 takes us on a journey to Pakistan, the USA, Greece and the Philippines. Through the eyes of the main character Changez, we learn about his past and present life in addition to real-life events.
This week you should write a brief blog entry about the novel. In your blog post, write about what you think of the novel so far. Do you like it or not, and does it seem realistic? Why? Why not? Explain your viewpoints.In addition, you should write a brief summary of what has happened so far.
Questions for discussion:
1. What, in your opinion, is the most striking difference between the novel and the movie?
2. What do the novel and the movie have in common?
3. Compare the setting of the cafeteria in the novel versus how it is portrayed in the movie.
4. The American- how is he described in the movie?
4. How is Erica characterized in the movie?
5. Describe Changez.
6. What is your opinion of Jim?
7. Write a blogpost where you state your opinion of the movie, whether you liked it or not and why.
Tuesday class March 13
We have now read chapters 8 and 9. In groups of three or four, discuss what happens in these two chapters. Then move on to discuss:
-The symbolism of names: Erica, Chris, Changez/Genghis Khan.
-Erica’s change/deterioration: “he never came to know what triggered Erica’s decline. (Was it) the trauma of the attack on her city? The act of sending out her book in search of publication? The echoes raised in her by our lovemaking? I think I knew even then that she was disappearing into a powerful nostalgia”. Discuss each of the statements and explain what Changez means by each of them.
What does Changez mean when he says “America, too, was giving itself over to a dangerous nostalgia at that time”.
Find quotes that describe Erica’s deterioration or altered mental/physical state.
Find quotes that support the idea that Changez changes his attitude towards America.
Write down 10-15 new words that you have come across in these two chapters.
On your blog, write a summary of the two chapters. Include your thoughts about what is happening with Changez and Erica, both their attitudes and their relationship.
(Photo retrieved from nytimes: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/22/books/review/Olsson.t.html)
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
By Mohsin Hamid (2007) is the novel we are reading this school year. We are now into he first four chapters of the book and here comes the assignment:
Write a blog post where you comment on:
- your impression of the story so far. Remember that you are allowed to be negative, but no matter what your thoughts are so far – try to explain and give examples of what you like or dislike.
- what impression you get of the company Underwood Sam.
- describe how Changez feels about America and comment on this quote: “I was immediately a New Yorker”.
- how Erica is described. Find a quote to underline your opinion.
After publishing your post, move on to read chapter 5 for the Tuesday class.
Read chapter 10 of the Reluctant Fundamentalist and comment on the different conflicts which can be seen in the novel:
- a conflict between Changez and the American
- a conflict between Changez and the United States
- a conflict between Changez and his workplace (Underwood Samson)
- an inner conflict between Changez and himself
Find reasons/explanations for each of these possible conflicts.
Also, comment on the two quotes from chapter 10, from a conversation between Juan-Bautista and Changez:
“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.”
“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.”
As homework for Wednesday, January 31st, read chapters 7 and 8 (pages 77-98), and answer the questions below on your blog or on Fronter.
The questions concern chapters 6 and 7, we will work with ch. 8. together in class on Wednesday.
- Imagine that you are Changez and write a personal diary entry about the atmosphere in New York after 9/11.
- Work with the text, write answers in your own words and use quotes to enhance your statements: What does Erica say about Chris? How are Muslims treated in New York City? According to Jim – how does one gain power? What does Changez mean when he says “I was Chris and she was with Chris?”
- Find passages om chapters 7 and 8 that support the claim that Changez is changing in his loyalty, and becoming more patriotic to Pakistan.
Publish blog or hand in on Fronter before class on Wednesday.
Read some eyewitness accounts from a city in shock, this is a text from the New York Times the day after the 9/11 terrorist attack on the city.
Write a short blog post (2 paragraphs at the most) including your own thoughts and impressions after reading the text and seeing parts of the documentary in class.