Comparison of The Reluctant Fundamentalist

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

In this assignment, I am going to compare the novel and the adapted movie version of «The Reluctant Fundamentalist».

The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a movie based on Moshin Hamid’s bestselling novel «The Reluctant Fundamentalist» that focuses on nostalgia, foreign cultures and fundamentalism. What is Changez’s central role in the story, and what is a fundamentalist? Therefore, in the following paragraphs, I shall expound on why I feel that the movie is better than the novel. A fundamentalist is a person who adheres to their religion studiously. First and foremost, I will comment on the differences between the plots, primarily the U.S. and Pakistan. At the beginning of the book, we get an insight into how Lahore is like.

Although some of the finer plot points were omitted on the big screen, it is compensated by providing historical examples that are of relevance. For instance, the director of the movie which happens to be named, Mira Nair, displayed the wealthiest people in town to be living luxuriantly. On the contrary, approximately 40% of Pakistan lives in poverty, although Changez’s family is wealthy, according to the book and movie. By my reckoning, the USA is still the same both in the book and in the movie. The 9/11 incident and his sinister reaction were also mentioned in both mediums. The book begins with an American interviewing Changez where he was pretending to be a journalist, while the movie starts off with a kidnapping scene. By adding a stronger opening scene like the movie, this fashion allows us to reflect and mull over on what is inevitably going to happen. My guess was that the movie was going to maintain the ordinary Changez until the changes came out to play. Secondly, the difference between the characters. The main noticeable difference would be Changez. In the book, he seemed to possess a more down to earth personality and rather a calm temperament, unlike in the film. Admittedly, Changez’s innocence remains evident in both of the versions as he appeared to be a cordial local to both of his home country, Pakistan, and his second home, the USA.

Changez felt that he is a failure to his family and Erica as a result of his role in America’s society, possibly having an identity crisis and an estranged relationship with Erica. From my point of view, his parents may have come to the conclusion that he might be a homosexual and not a devout Muslim. Gradually, he started to have a lackadaisical outlook on his company as well. Changez was an outsider, one who does not belong, one who suspects suspicion. Last but not least, the difference in relationships. Straining conflicts between Afghanistan and the USA still continue. There has been a lot of rumors about Changez’s implication in the abduction of Rainard, as according to the movie. Therefore, this makes Changez the most suited suspect to the CIA. This is where it all starts with The American. The American was given a very vague description in the book, whereas in the movie, he was given the name, Bobby, for sure an alias. Their relationship seemed to be tense. Almost like they were entering a possible brotherhood. It is no surprise they both are recognized as dynamic characters due to the changes we read through indirect descriptions from the book- since we have absolutely no clue what they like, except for Changez’s trademark beard and that the American/Bobby was a fake journalist, which made The American an insipid character.

On the other hand, the movie was able to provide us with a clearer visual representation of the protagonists. In the beginning, Changez met Jim during his job interview. Changez was the best applicant for the job. My impression of Jim and Changez’s relationship is that they are more conflicted in the movie. This is evident when Jim had an outrage as a result of Changez suggesting himself to quit his job at Underwood Samsons. I can not think of the reason why, but it was possibly due to all the changes that came out to play or perhaps Jim had feelings for Changez. Therefore, is Jim only static in the book, but remains kind in the book and the movie for that matter. Changez and Erica met the year after they graduated from Princeton, whereas in the movie, where they encountered each other in Central Park while Erica was having a photo shoot for a skateboard magazine. It was love at first sight, but eventually, they had to part ways as they were unable to handle a long-distance relationship. There will never be any relationship between these two lovebirds, which made me conclude that Erica is a complex character.

She had feelings for Chris. In the movie, Erica refuses to come along with Changez to Pakistan, while in the book we read she is either went missing or committed suicide. Erica could be a symbol for Changez’s love for America, (after America, hope you know what I mean DENZEL),( uhh I don’t know what you mean HAHAHA) that eventually torn apart. The Reluctant Fundamentalist could be considered a warning in order to persuade the audience of the importance of foreign cultures. The more I read the book, the less I understood the drastic changes. It is clear that the book left me with a lot more questions than answers. Eventually, I did comprehend the story when it was adapted to a movie due to I am a visual learner, and I learn better through visualizing. Therefore, I would say all the changes improved the story from the movie’s perspective. One should assume that changes can make us lose the subtlety and complex ambiguity of the story, but only seen from the novel’s perspective. That is why I did not like The Reluctant Fundamentalist in the first place due to the monologues, idioms, and confusion.

The principled fundamentalist in Hamid’s novel and Nair’s movie is the American. The American’s suspicious nature caught my attention into believing that there are Christian fundamentalists out there. Our Bobby figure was hesitant to discuss any aspects of Changez’s view of the story in spite of being sent by the CIA. Furthermore, reluctant means unwilling, which means this meeting would have never happened if the CIA did not send Bobby to embattled Pakistan against his own will, as I interpreted it. Bobby is involved in an internal conflict where he as a protagonist is presented in a struggle against himself. In conclusion, the moral of the story, which includes both of the versions, is: never underestimate or detest someone of a different racial group or nationality. For people from all walks of life have paved their own way into their achievements. Adding colors that contribute to the nation’s vibrancy. Eventually, Changez finds his true colors. He was never destined to live the American dream, but as an advocate for change.


  • source found February 12, 2018
  • source found February 12, 2018
  • source found February 12, 2018
  • source found February 12
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist, written by Mohsin Hamid, published in 2007
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist, directed by Mira Nair, released in 2012Pamphlet Hanna handed out about literary devices and elements, source found February 14, 2018


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