Analysis Of Adjectives In The Reluctant Fundamentalist By Mohsin Hamid

June 23, 2022 by Essay Writer


Adjectives is the word belonging to one of the major form classes in any of numerous languages and typically serving as a modifier of a noun to denote a quality of the thing named, to indicate its quantity or extent, or to specify a thing as distinct from something else (Merriam Webster). The present research is a corpus-based analysis of adjectives in the Mohsin Hamid fiction The Reluctant Fundamentalist. It is aimed at highlighting the various aspects of the usage of adjectives and their resultant effects in Hamid’s fiction. A detailed study has been done on the fiction. For the analysis, a corpus of Hamid’s fictional work has been compiled which has been analyzed with the help of Antconc 3.2.4 software. For a detailed scrutiny, the concordance lines have been explored thoroughly.


Adjectives are the words used to qualify, limit and define noun or noun like parts of speech. Adjectives can appear in different parts of a sentence. Sometimes they come before a noun: “The black cat crosses the dark street.” Sometimes they come after the nouns: “The cat is black” or “The street seems dark.” Brainstorm different adjectives and have students use them in sentences. Then ask them to notice where the adjectives appear in the sentences. Mohsin Hamid grew up in Lahore, attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School and worked for several years as a management consultant in New York. His first novel, Moth Smoke, was published in ten languages, won a Betty Trask award, was a finalist for the PEN/ Hemingway award, and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. His essays and journalism have appeared in Time, the New York Times and the Independent, among others. Mohsin Hamid currently lives, works and writes in London. The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a novel by Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid, published in 2007. The novel uses the technique of a frame story, which takes place during the course of a single evening in an outdoor Lahore cafe, where a bearded Pakistani man called Changez tells a nervous American stranger about his love affair with an American woman, and his eventual abandonment of America. A short story adapted from the novel, called ‘Focus on the Fundamentals,’ appeared in the fall 2006 issue of The Paris Review. A film adaptation of the novel by director Mira Nair premiered at the 2012 Venice Film Festival. The novel is a fantastic piece of work, superbly considered and controlled, with a lovely stillness and wisdom at its heart The Times Masterful, a multilayered and thoroughly gripping book Metro an elegant, artful, haunting novel a deceptively simple narrative that is in fact deeply ambiguous Observer Terrific New Statesman. The work aims at finding the adjectives in the fiction, which occurs frequently in the fiction.

Literature Review

Mehmood & Nawaz (2014) says that ‘Pakistani Literature’ is a term that avoids precise definition because it is not an easy task to exactly tell the starting date of Pakistani literature. The adjective ‘Pakistani’ comes into use with the emergence of state of Pakistan on the world map but the writers whose work is included in this Pakistani literature are those who were also from the sub-continent. So many people consider it safe to divide Pakistani literature into two eras: pre-partition and post-partition. Pakistan came into being on 14th of August 1947 and for all of the reasons this is the year that should be assigned the status of the root year for the expanding country’s literary history. The origin of a separate national identity in Pakistan took some years to develop, as the consequence of this phenomenon, the reflection of this identity in the country’s literary horizon was also gradual and evolutionary.

Mehmood & Nawaz (2014) says, There is a lack of research on literature by Pakistani writers and, although, Pakistan is one of the major countries providing raw material for historical and colonial research, it has been kept out of detailed positioning in the critique of post-Partition literature in theory and in specific research arenas, especially history and feminism. Conclusively, there is a need by researchers from Asian context to redefine the presentation of Asia in the works of leading Asian authors in English for a better understanding and thought presentation of Asian world.

The idea of adjective has been raised in the definitions of traditional grammars and dictionaries which represent adjectives as complementary types of modifier: an adjective is that which modifies a noun. Pustet (2006) said that adjectives can be defined at various level of the organization of language, in particular, at the levels of morphosyntax, semantics, syntactic usage. For the morphosyntax perspective, languages mostly have no independent class of adjective. Each lexicon can be combined with any types of grammatical items when it is used in syntactic context by investigating the position from other constituents in the higher-order syntactic configurations. Adjectives, in the semantic sense, refer “to express property concepts”. From this point of view, it shows the distinguished features which are different from other parts of speech, nouns and verbs, “whose most prototypical representatives denote object concepts and event concepts, respectively” (Pustet, 2006, p. 61). Lastly, adjectives in the syntactic sense are considered as functions which consist of two aspects: attributive and predictive functions. According to Quirk et al. (1985), “adjectives are attributive when they pre-modify the head of a noun phrase; likewise, they are predicative when they function as subject complement or object complement”. Specially, “adjectives are subject complement not only to noun phrases, but also to clauses” which probably include finite or non-finite clauses. Adjectives can be an object complement to clauses which mostly functions to express “the result of the process denoted by the verb…by using the verb be”.

Functionally, Halliday (1994) claims that the clause in English language is combined by three different structures which derive from three different functions (metafunctions): ideational, interpersonal, and textual. These three structures serve to express semantic choices.

Halliday (1994) states that, transitivity structures express representational meaning: what the clause is about, which is typically some process, with associated participants and circumstances; mood structures express interactional meaning: what the clause is doing, as a verbal exchange between speaker-writer and audience; themes structures express that organization of the message: how the clause relates to the surrounding discourse, and to the context of situation in which it is being produced. These three sets of options together determine the structural shape of the clause.

Halliday (1994) states that adjectives in the sense of functional linguists include the nominal group in the transitivity structures. Halliday uses the term ‘experiential structure of the nominal group’ to explain word class in the nominal group. There are four functional elements of nominals: deictic (specific and non-specific), numerative (quantitative and ordinative), epithet (subjective expression and objective property), and classifier.

Dixon (1977) states that, in a typological perspective, it is crucial to have criteria that allow us to distinguish nouns and adjectives as well as different types of adjectives. Identifying nouns, verbs and adjectives cross-linguistically is, however, a difficult enterprise, with adjectives being particularly difficult to catch. In earlier research on adjectives as a word class it was claimed that, some languages do not have an adjective class at all and that predicates typically corresponding to adjectives in other languages are either nouns or verbs in these languages.

The recent research on adjectives has defended the idea that an adjective class can be identified in all languages of the world . The detailed studies of adjectives in Baker (2003:238-63) and Dixon (2004:14-28) have both given detailed evidence for a lexical category distinct from nouns and verbs in languages that had been analysed as lacking an adjective class.

Wilson (2001) said that, the term corpus is defined in various ways. Corpus means collection of more than one text. The word corpus originated from a Latin word which means body. So corpus can be defined as the body of text. It is a large body of text that consists of thousands and millions of words and is available in machine readable form. So the use of corpus in Linguistics can be described as the study of language in a large collection of texts that are available in machine readable form.

According to Franics Corpus is widely used for many purposes in linguistics by researchers and scholars for various academic purposes. The size of a corpus is still a disputed issue among the researchers . The early corpora were relatively short, for example, Brown Corpus and LOB Corpus. The relatively shorter length of those corpora was due to the unavailability of latest or advanced computer technologies. In the Brown Corpus, all of the written texts were manually presented in. Earlier, it was assumed that “larger the corpus, the better it would be”, but with the passage of time, the interest was shifted in favor of smaller corpus. Kennedy (1998) points out that a small corpus can better represent the features of a language than a larger one. Clear symbolizes corpus with a ‘sea’ because, both are complicated, having enormous depth, difficult to define and in a state of flux. Meyer (2004) says that availability of resources can determine the size of a corpus. It involves funds, research facilities and computing facilities. Time is another factor that affects collection inclusion, annotation and tagging of a text.

Wiebe (2000) argues that corpora have been used to obtain linguistic knowledge in natural language processing. Thus, the linguistic knowledge on adjectives can be gathered from available corpora. The focus is on the evaluative adjectives as the knowledge of the evaluative language may be beneficial for text categorization and summarization (Wiebe, Bruce, Bell, Martin, & Wilson, 2001). Evaluation, in this study, is used as defined by Hunston and Thompson (2000), who see evaluation as a means of expressing the speaker or writer’s attitude and feelings toward the language they produce. There are many linguistic features that can make a sentence evaluative; however, adjectives are the most frequently used and important tool for evaluating a sentence (Marza, 2011). In another study on evaluative and speculative language, Wiebe et al. (2001) found that the type of subjectivity was more evident in adjectives than in modals and adverbs.


The data for a corpus analysis is generally the text in machine-readable form. The data for the present research includes the texts of the following novel of Mohsin Hamid in xxx.txt format that can be used as input for Antconc. The analysis of the adjectives and their interpretation go hand in hand because of the nature of study in which the effect of every adjective demands that it is interpreted immediately. That is the reason that both sections of data collection and date interpretations have been merged.

Mohsin Hamid is relatively known novelist in English reading population, his novels are easily available in digital format. We can get the novels of the Mohsin Hamid in the soft form with the ease. We simply download the text of, ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ and then use it’s text to find the answer of our research questions.

The adjectives present in the fiction developed certain ideas. The adjectives shows the categorization of the different characters of the fiction. A possessive adjective are those adjectives, which is owned by oneself or by others. For this particular reason, the study aims at finding the possessive adjectives in the fiction.


The simplest definition of an adjective is that it is a word that describes or clarifies a noun. Adjectives describe nouns by giving some information about an object’s size, shape, age, color, origin or material. Here, we are going to discuss the different adjectives that we find during the corpus analysis of the fiction, “The reluctant Fundamentalist” by Mohsin Hamid.

‘My’ as an adjective refers to the character Changez. Changez is the protagonist of the novel. He is a Pakistani man who went to college in Princeton. For most of the novel, he loves the United States and works hard to be accepted by his American friends and colleagues while working at a New York financial firm. The use of the my adjective shows, what the changez have in his physical as well as in his ideologic appearance. He loves to stay in the America. Changez’s tone lowers between concern, politeness, and care, and a kind of over-solicitous menace.

‘Your’ as an adjective also refers to Changez. Your is a type of possessive adjective which displays the one belongings to oneself or to someone else. In the fiction the American identify the Changez as a non-American by saying, ‘How did I know you were American? No, not by the color of your skin’. This phrase means there is difference between the American and the Non-American. One can clearly find the difference between by judging their body colors.

‘Her’ as an adjective relates to or belonging to a certain woman, girl, or female animal. Her sometimes used figuratively to refer to something thought of as female (such as a ship, car, machine, or country). In this fiction her refers to Erica. Erica is a beautiful and popular Princeton graduate, with whom Changez falls in love. She has strong feelings for Changez, though she sometimes seems to view Changez as an exotic foreigner more than a true friend and lover.

His is the possessive form of he. His show the belongings to a specific person. His have been used generically to refers to indefinite pronouns like anyone, everyone, someone and singular noun that can be applied to either gender. The generic use of his is often criticized as sexist. The use of ‘his’ is refering to Jim in the fiction. In the following sentence ‘ His’ is used. “Jim was silent for a while then he shook ‘His’ head.

Our is a possessive adjective that is used to show ownership. It comes before a noun in the sentence and lets us know to whom the noun belongs. Our is the form of possessive case, we used as an attributive adjective. In the sentence used in the fiction, “In return we were expected to our talents to your county” the ‘Our’ show the possession of the talent that is found in the country form where the Changez is, means Pakistan. Our also tell us about the attribute of the specific person as well as the attribute of the country.

‘Its’ is the possessive form of ‘It’ used as an attributive adjective. A very common mistake happens when writing ‘its’. Some times people write it’s instead of its, it’s represent the shorter form of the ‘It is’. ‘Its’ can also be used as a predicate objective or as pronoun meaning, ‘that or a those belonging to it’. In the sentence, “But the quality of its tea, I assure is unparalleled”. This sentence is referring to the Erica and the tea that he makes. The quality of this tea is unmatchable and only Erica can made such a delicious tea. No other than the Erica can make such a tea.

‘Their’ is the form of the possessive case that occurs before a noun in a sentence or in a phrase. It used with a singular indefinite pronoun or a singular noun antecedent in place of the definite masculine he or his. ‘Their’ in the sentence, “They were a valuation firm. They told their clients how much business were worth”. This shows that the company is very much possessive about their clients.

‘Whose’ is the possessive case of the ‘Who’. Whose is the one belonging to one person.The typical usage guide statement about the choice between who and whom says that the choice must be determined by thegrammar of the clause within which this pronoun occurs. The whose show the possession of the a particular person in the fiction.


The reluctant Fundamentalist is in the telling of a story about a Pakistani man who makes it and then throws it away because he doesn’t want it anymore, because he realizes that making it in America is not what he thought it was or what it used to be. The monologue form allows for an intimate conversation, as the reader and the American listener become one. Are we sitting across from Changez at a table in Lahore, joining him in a sumptuous dinner? Do his comments cause us to bristle, making us more and more uncomfortable? Extreme times call for extreme reactions, extreme writing. Hamid has done something extraordinary with this novel, and for those who want a different voice, a different view of the aftermath of 9/11, The Reluctant Fundamentalist is well worth reading. The lot of adjectives occurs in the novel. Each adjective has its own function to play. The study was based on the analysis of the possessive adjectives in the fiction. The possessive adjective is the one which tells about the attribute of oneself or the others. The possessive which occurs in the fiction does several things. One it tells about the characters of the fiction. It also tells the physical appearance of the characters. Second the possessive adjectives tells the character’s possession of the real life world things. Third, possessive adjectives discriminate the characters from each other. Further work can be done in this particular field of area. Many other adjectives can also be find in the fictions but for here the work is done only on the analysis of the possessive adjectives.


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