The Epistemology of Trauma and 9/11 Literature in Mohsin Hamid’s Novel:
The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
Mr. Sidhique PDr.Zainul Abid Kotta
9/11 is not merely a terrorist act; it has evolved into an origin that has been dormant in the western cultural capital accommodation for many generations. It ushers in a new era of victimised/other ‘Muslims’ and the cultural appropriation of an alienated spirit within the Islamic tradition. 9/11 calls into question, not the history, but the present, the future of an entire generation. Changez, the protagonist of Mohsin Hamid’s novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist, enjoys a peaceful life in the United States before the horrific events of 9/11. Everything changed for him and his fellow Eastern Muslims immigrants settling in America after the September 11 attack. They became subjects of ridicule and disgrace as Muslims were demonised and viewed as outsiders. In this sense, Muslims like Changez, who adore America, bears a heavy price. The plot centres on the protagonist’s past experiences, with occasional allusions to the present; he reconsiders and recalls all those exquisite and awful recollections from his scarred past. The research paper considers the conceptual framework of Cathy Caruth’s observations on trauma theory for this goal. It evaluates the novel within the context of traumatic knowledge and identifies the strategies and procedures the protagonist, Changez, deals with. It applies trauma narrative theory’s concepts to the style of presenting the protagonist’s experience.
Key words: Trauma, trauma, 9/11 literature, hybridity, race, psychological trauma, Islamophobia.
9/11 had a severe emotional toll on Americans and has had a global impact on every aspect of human life. As writing is a reflection of life, the incident had a tremendous impact on literature in various ways. 9/11 literature is a new literary genre dedicated entirely to this terrible event and its aftermath. Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist represents this genre. 9/11 had a detrimental effect on the lives of Eastern Muslims, notably in US society. Muslims have faced hostility and ethnic profiling in the aftermath of 9/11. Muslims were accused of being terrorists for allegedly carrying out the Twin Towers attack. Muslims progressively registered strong protest against the West in general, and the United States in particular, due to the fallout from this catastrophe. Muslims who had been psychologically and physically damaged began retaliating against the US in a variety of means, the most notable of which is the literary medium. The literary works, particularly those written by Eastern Muslim authors, have described the whole scene explicitly and serve as a response to and a message to the West about the natural face of Muslims and Islam. Among these works, The Reluctant Fundamentalist stands out because it realistically illustrates the pre-and-post-9/11 worlds; the ill-effects of the attack on the world, particularly on the Muslim world; and the Muslims’ reactions to the attack.
Changez, the novel’s hero, is a Pakistani young man who immigrates to America chasing for the American Dream. When he reaches his pinnacle, 9/11 occurs, shattering his dreams. Apart from 9/11, his failed love affair with Erica forces him to flee America and New York, his ideal city. The novel centres on Changez’s experiences in America, with his pre-9/11 memories juxtaposed with his post-9/11 experiences inside US society. At first, he is entirely content with what he has, and in turn, he makes an earnest effort to contribute to America’s economy. He is a cheerful and proud young man. As the narrative progresses, different causes such as religious, cultural, and racial disparities contribute to his downfall. The ill effects of 9/11, along with his rising frustration over a failed love affair, prompt him to flee his beloved America. The narrative emphasizes Changez’s emotional and physical anguish representing Eastern Muslims due to the circumstances above. Additionally, it gives information on the victims’ reactions to the 9/11 tragedy. As the novel employs the technique of describing past experiences with brief references to the present, the narrator and protagonist Changez reconsider all those lovely and sad recollections about America that linger in his subconscious and torment him mentally.
Statement of the Problem
Victimization and cultural estrangement have been the critical thematic and popular imagination in Islamic cultural contexts in the post-9/11 world scenario. The current study emphasises the creation of new world order and explores the diverse possibilities for newer narrative forms in the aftermath of 9/11. The selected novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, continuously depicts the individual–social psyche, establishing criteria for Islamic ideology and survival notations in the world following 9/11. Globally, the Islamic survival sphere components with dubious goals traumatise the hesitant fundamentalist. The protagonist is a fictitious representation who experiences these predicted tragedies in the past and present while also breaking the individual temporal canvas up to more excellent socio-religious debate. Thus, the significant relevance develops as a damaged individual consciousness locates itself inside the larger cultural milieu’s survival struggle. When survival becomes a traumatic experience, the individual develops a parallel social/cultural psyche to the ideological realm into which he or she is already and permanently embedded. The visuals of the world trade centre collapsing/tumbling evoke unending agony for an individual who has historically been a part of it for eons. The fictional representation of an individual’s psyche fuses with the broader social consciousness, and the popular imagination conjures up new terrains for Islam as religion and ideology. The research paper concentrates on these silent sections of the individual/social brain and gradually defeats survival tendencies. Islam and Muslims have frequently been maligned in mainstream western discourses in electronic and print media and scholarly and literary works. They are seen as primitive and uncivilised. However, one could argue that Islam and Muslims have never been as thoroughly stigmatised or side-lined in western discourses as in the post-9/11 era when they are simultaneously portrayed as sources of freedom and terror. Numerous ostensibly mainstream writers were overtly Islamophobic, and their writings maintained the Muslim world’s stigma.
Significance of the Research
Trauma is an unfathomable collection of terrors; bleeding wounds’ tissues hardly heal but never cease to impose perennial trails of painful/shocking memories into the fold. In both the literary and non-literary worlds, traumatic events serve as a conduit for the realistic representation of persons and situations. Though trauma has incorporated a psychological knowledge field, the reality is frequently eluded by the fancies and magical possibilities associated with pre-and post-traumatic situations. The epistemological/historical split with world-shocking events is frequently applied to traumatic knowledge. Even now, more than two decades after the attack on the World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001, academic dialogue about the ramifications continues to emerge. The planet appears to be still traumatised. There has been a significant surge in what is referred to as 9/11 literature in the previous few years. While the literature on 9/11 focuses on its global, social, cultural, political, and religious implications, dread essentially communicates personal and psychological consequences. When something major, or rather a ‘global event,’ obviously has far-reaching consequences, the causatum 9/11 nonetheless has a more personal influence on others. Then what about these microcosmic vantage points? What is necessary to think about the macrocosmic implications of such a massive historical event/how do we comprehend what it can imply to an individual?
Objectives of the Research
The objectives of this research paper are addressed as the following. (1) To investigate the traumatic experience, representations, and history narrativized through a victimised sensibility when collective/popular imagination on Islam as an ideology was targeted, manipulated for a more significant political gain. (2) To combine narrative style and the traumatic events to shed light on how the protagonist, Changez, tries to free himself from the harsh memories by narrating and sharing those events through a technique called trauma narrative. (3). To explore the writer’s hidden message and how Muslims were tortured mentally and physically by the Americans after 9/11 and to explain the Muslims’ response and reactions to 9/11. (4). To discuss the struggle of Changez’s hybrid identity and how the personal, social, and political conditions affect him.
There is a wealth of written material defending 9/11 and post-9/11 literature that focuses on the impact of the terrorist assault on the subjects’ conscious and unconscious lives. Due to the case study’s importance, many texts on the novel are available, forcing the researchers to adopt a selective approach to the sources to be reviewed. As such, the survey of the literature concentrates on the most recent and theoretically relevant study on the novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
1. Peter Morey’ article ‘The Rules of The Game Have Changed”: Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Post 9/11 Fiction” argues that Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007) challenges the orthodoxies of the post 9/11 novel that, until its publication, had generally taken the form of documents of personal trauma and loss, or recapitulations of unproblematic notions of essential cultural difference, and that took as its default position a “clash of civilizations” mindset.
2. Fateh (2017), in his term paper, discusses the effect of 9/11. It deals with how the Muslim writers have tried to express the effect of 9/11 on the Muslim community in America. It discusses that The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a story of unrequited love; it is about the mutual interaction between a Muslim Changez and an American girl Erica According to this paper, both characters stand for two different cultures own.
3. M. Shihada elucidates the portrayal of Muslims in Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist in “The Backlash of 9/11 on Muslims” (2015). This study examines the strict encounters between westerners and Muslims in the aftermath of 9/11.
4. In “Changez’s Changing Beliefs in The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” Valerie Kennedy argued for identity change concerning Changez’s dramatic monologue (2018). Using Slavojizek’s phrase for identity, Kennedy asserts that the protagonist as the narrator has lost his actual uniqueness and is no longer ‘Changez.’ This argument undoubtedly aids readers in reconsidering the trauma process.
5. Since the novel pictures a post-9/11 subject that becomes a lecturer for his nation’s goods, Nishat Haider analyses The Reluctant Fundamentalist from a political perspective. Her study aims “to create counterintuitive rethinking on the Clash of Civilizations theory and to elucidate the linkages between new American imperialism, fundamentalism, globalization, and terrorism” (20).
Point of Departure
The concept of trauma in the historical and cultural situations of the post 9/11Literature emanates from the conflict of the archived form of political existences of various identities that Hamid has adequately portrayed. The historical and political implications of 9/11has generated subtle forms of epistemological ruptures in the textual aspects of the novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, within the traumatic experience of Changez, the protagonist, in varied ways. Such notions of traumatic imaginations create veritable nuances of trauma in the 9/11 literature across the globe.
This research paper is qualitative in type. It examines the relationship between psychological trauma/mental trauma and the events of 9/11, as well as components of trauma narrative theory, using the novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist as a case study. The words, phrases, and sentences are used to out the notion of trauma narrative from the perspective of Cathy Carruth’s point of view. Data are categorised into thematic patterns with the help of scholarly articles, reviews of the paper, thesis, and theoretical orientation. The close reading technique is employed for data analysis and data collection. It also examines why and how Muslims were tormented emotionally and physically by Americans in the aftermath of 9/11. Mohsin Hamid’s secret message to the west in general, and the US in particular, about the realities of Muslims and Islam.
Narratives of Trauma and The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist is based on the trauma caused by the 9/11 catastrophe and some more traditional sources of trauma such as religion, culture, and racial divisions. The novel’s fundamental topic is Changez’s awful experiences and answers to difficult situations. The current goal in this study is to concentrate on the techniques of recounting or transmitting the painful experience and thoughts, whether orally or in writing. The Trauma Narrative technique allows for representing unpleasant sensations connected with a previous negative experience through speech, writing, gestures, facial expressions, and responses. All of these coping strategies with heinous feelings are suggested throughout the story.
The novel’s principal focus is on Changez, the protagonist. He attends college in the United States on a scholarship and swiftly comes to fame as an analyst for a well-known firm, Underwood Samson. When he reaches the top of his professional career, the events of 9/11 shatter his dreams and completely transform his world. Apart from that, he is forced to leave New York, his ideal city, due to unrequited love and cultural hybridity. He leaves America ostensibly due to the external social conditions created by 9/11, but he is genuinely emotionally damaged by a series of events and experiences. Changez attempts to recount and reveal all of the events, sensations, and emotions that have psychologically tormented him from the narrative’s inception.
The discussion of nostalgia is frequently poignant. However, for someone like Changez, who has more tremendous accomplishments and success in the past than he does now, the nostalgic feelings are almost certain to be intense and unpleasant. Throughout the novel, Changez describes his memories of America, particularly his love with Erica, a combination of happy and painful memories, his actual accomplishments in the United States, and the respect and pride he has gained there. Changez employs a stream of consciousness approach to connect current events to his earlier experience. When he encounters some lovely woman, for example, he inquires of the American about his romantic adventures. He relates this vision to his own personal encounters with love. Erica’s romantic relationship is a major source of emotional suffering. His relationship with Erica begins magnificently and culminates in a defining moment. He speaks extensively about Erica during his conversation with the American. He begins dating Erica and visits numerous entertainment venues with her. He fondly recalls the wonderful experiences and time he had with Erica. He laments the ephemeral moments of love that elude him. While love is typically a beautiful experience, it can be even more so when it is unrequited. Erica’s fixation with her late boyfriend Chris’s recollections initiates Chris’s actual traumatization. She was unable to let go of Chris’s memory, which became a constant source of conflict and trauma for Changez. A love triangle arises between him, Erica, and Changez. He begins to observe Erica’s subtle gestures and more profound reactions, such as when he offers her his hand to grasp, but she ignores him and yanks her hand away. She does not dress differently for him as a result of her emotional sickness, but he dismisses this fact, thinking that she may be completely uninterested in clothing at all. Their complicated emotions get even more convoluted as the love triangle progresses. Erica is seeking assistance from Changez in overcoming her emotional trauma. Erica, too, is intuitively attracted to Changez; however, her conscious is fully hindered by her unconscious, which is obsessed with Chris’s memories. Changez is so enraged by Erica’s fascination with Chris’s memories that he requests that she consider him as Chris. It exemplifies the mental turmoil he goes through as a lover. He is even willing to give up his own identity in order to acquire Erica. He is at a loss for what to do as a result of this complexity. He aspires to aid Erica in regaining her senses and mental health, but is also motivated by his own desires. He is driven nuts by this frustration. His thoughts are consumed with dreadful nostalgic memories to the point where he begins to suffer hallucinations. He identifies everything in his environment with Erica, just like the guitar’s melancholy sound does. Thus, Changez tries to convey to Erica’s people his complicated, agonising, and conflicted feelings about her, which is why he carefully steers the conversation away from the sight of attractive girls in Lahore and toward Erica in America. He recalls and recounts every aspect of his lost-love narrative, which had a psychological and emotional impact on him.
The other main source of stress for him is his American Dream, which he initially achieves and realises but then shatters in the aftermath of 9/11. He initially obtains his ambitions in America. Here is an excerpt from the American Dream. He is hired by a conventional corporation and assigned a conventional job. He develops a tremendous sense of pride as a result of his life achievements. He recalls these proud and unforgettable moments in his life by stating that “he was bathed in a warm sensation of achievement.” Nothing disturbed him, and he had the entire city at his feet. Following these words, he states that he was ignorant that the sense of success he was experiencing was fleeting and would soon vanish. When he reaches the zenith of his fame and accomplishments, the 9/11 attacks come, upending everything. He loses everything overnight, including admiration, respect, and position. He is humiliated in the immigration office. When he returns from Manila, he is confronted with contempt for his firm and mistrust. Nobody wishes to speak with him or to demonstrate respect for him. As a result of his religion, he is even subjected to public abuse. All of these events jeopardise his ambitions. He rapidly forgets what he did in that location. This sense of loss torments him to the point where he resolves to flee America. He is perpetually nostalgic for New York, the city of his dreams. He is in pain as a result of these memories. He extols New York with statements such as “without a doubt, New York at night must be the most spectacular sight on the planet.” He enjoys New York but is unable to visit, and thus extols it in his words in order to derive pleasure. As a result of his great and terrible experiences, he develops nostalgic feelings for the American Dream. He expresses nostalgia in order to soothe the associated traumatic sensations.
Apart from nostalgia, another big source of trauma is America’s severe treatment of Eastern Muslims in the aftermath of 9/11. As 9/11 transformed the world’s political landscape and international relations, America blamed Muslims for the attacks, instilling Americans with strong feelings of hostility toward Muslims and Islam. They immediately began humiliating Muslims on every level. They were greeted with tremendous disrespect at America’s ports of entry. Muslim guys were mysteriously vanishing. Muslim women were subjected to cruel treatment. They began marginalising Muslims and demonising them. Changez is damaged by the severity with which Muslims are treated and by Americans’ misconceptions about Islam. They imposed strict regulations and policies on the Muslim world. Changez revisits all of 9/11’s negative consequences for innocent Muslims, traumatising the whole Muslim World. As he narrates these occurrences, Changez’s tone of voice and attitude toward Americans are the most vivid examples of trauma narrative.
Inextricably linked to trauma are cultural hybridity and cultural shock. Changez is a cultural enigma. He develops a dual personality after relocating to America. He is unsure of his place in either America or Pakistan. He himself remarks “how much I had changed since I had left Lahore,”. He was born and reared in Lahore and then relocates to New York, a city that is markedly different from Lahore. He is torn between Eastern and Western cultures. Despite his external look and belief in the American ideal, he maintains an unconscious connection to Eastern (Pakistani) culture and Islam. He is powerless to oppose the purported inner voice. Throughout the novel, these many personas make several appearances, most notably post 9/11.Changez says “I saw what I took at first to. But as I continued to, watch I realised that it was not fiction but news”. He further adds “And then I smiled, and my initial reaction was be remarkably pleased,”. Changez’s outlandish behaviour is a result of his numerous alter egos. As a Muslim and a native of the East, he has a long-standing aversion to the West (White Jews and Christians). Religion, culture, and civilization are all considered adversarial. This favourable attitude to America’s demise stems from his religious identity and Pakistani origins, as annihilating one’s foe signifies victory. Despite the fact that America’s demise was indirectly responsible for the demise of his dreams, he finds contentment.
On the one hand, he is sympathetic to the wounded families; on the other hand, he revels in the idea that his great economic, cultural, and religious adversary, America, has been brought to her knees by someone. He discovers a person staring at him anxiously and enthusiastically while in Manila, Philippines. As he turns to one of his employees, he immediately gets a sense of affinity with the individual who has piqued his interest. When he stares carefully at his colleague, he feels a sense of foreboding and estrangement toward the American. He eventually comes to terms with the fact that he and his American colleagues are not interchangeable. This sense of alienation from America is veiled and obscured by his materialistic wants, which can only be met by America. His authentic Pakistaniness is evident in his employment, overt appearance, and interactions with his co-workers. When America decides to attack a fellow Muslim country, Afghanistan, his religious side resurfaces, interfering with his work. Finally, he withdraws from the American economy. He wishes to leave America at this time, but he is unable to do so owing to the belief that he can never accomplish as much in another country as he did in America. He wishes to cry his heart out from the trauma of being hybrid, but his terrible pride keeps him from doing so.
When he develops reverse hybridity, transitioning from Pakistani to American and then from American to fundamentalist Pakistani, the issue of culture shock as a source of mental trauma becomes more prominent. He reverts to his previous self as a result of a series of circumstances. When he returns to Pakistan following his trip in America, he reclaims his original Muslim identity. He starts praying five times a day. He is weaned off by this initial religious self-awareness. Juan Batista calls him a modern-day Janissary who acts against his motherland, reminding him of his Eastern origins. This sombre conclusion astounds him. He comes to the conclusion that America has abused him. As a result, he has resigned from American. He chooses to leave America despite the fact that he has countless reasons to stay. Anti-American emotions expressed by Changez are not instantaneous. They are the result of his denial of his Pakistani, Eastern Muslim identity. How he hid and repressed his own personality in order to placate the Americans. 9/11 and the subsequent scenario, on the other hand, serve as a reminder of his veiled otherness. As a result, he is forced to develop anti-American feelings.
There is a technique called Trauma Narrative in which the psychiatrist attempts to make the patient aware of his or her strength. Changez is suffering from an inferiority complex following his departure from America, which is evident in his descriptions upon his initial return. He deliberately praises everything about Pakistan, including its food, monuments, historical buildings, and the glorious history of the subcontinent’s ancestors who ruled the world at various points in history. As he is profoundly captivated by everything about America, he is hesitant to convey this to the American, preferring to impress the American with his Pakistaniness. Throughout the story, Changez attempts to convince the Americans of his country’s power and value by repeatedly promoting one aspect of Pakistan. He attempts to persuade the Americans that the East, particularly Pakistan, has a vibrant history and geography and hence deserves the respect of a higher status, which the Americans are unwilling to grant.
Mohsin Hamid, the novel’s author, employs this trauma narrative approach to present his thoughts on Pakistan’s corrupt and decaying economic and social structure. Hamid utilises Changez as his mouthpiece throughout the narrative, commenting on Pakistan’s current state. Changez recalls a conversation he had with Erica’s father regarding Pakistan. Erica’s father remarks, “Pakistan has been raped by its politicians,” which deeply struck Changez. While he makes an effort to conceal his emotions from Erica, she can easily see the terrible expressions on his face. Hamid reflects on his forefathers’ brilliant past and laments their demise. He notes that Americans were uneducated barbarians and Muslims ruled the world; nevertheless, America now thoroughly rules the Muslim world. He laments the time in history when, while America was occupied with the construction of universities, Muslims were occupied with constructing cities. Hamid offers his opinions on the illiteracy of Muslims and laments Pakistan’s deteriorating social and economic system as a result of corruption.
Erica is the other character who employs the Trauma Narrative approach. Erica suffers from severe depression due to her fascination with her late boyfriend Chris’s recollections. She desires to have sexual relations with Changez, but Chris always stands in her way. When Changez suggests that she consider him as Chris, she happily accepts. This incident demonstrates Erica’s mental condition. It is nearly tough to substitute another person for your beloved in your thoughts, but she feels for Changez as well, which makes it easier for her to think of him as Chris. She is undergoing severe mental stress as a result of this complicated love triangle. The tragedy of 9/11 reawakens Chris’s recollections in her mind. “I keep thinking about Chris, I don’t know why, more nights, I have to take something to take rest.” she says. To overcome these traumatic feelings, she employs three strategies. To begin, she isolates herself from the outside world and avoids social interaction. Secondly, she uses writing to convey her trauma and to create a novel, believing that this would be the most effective way to communicate her sentiments and mental state to the world. Thirdly, she commits suicide. Suicide is the most extreme manifestation of trauma. To conclude, The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a novel of 9/11 literature that uses the Trauma Narrative approach to depict the terrible events of 9/11’s aftereffects.
Narrative of Trauma as Trauma Reaction
The “Trauma Reaction” is a significant and important aspect of Mohsin Hamid’s novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist’s trauma tale. The phrase “Trauma Reaction” refers to the process of overcoming traumatic feelings not only via narrative but also by reacting to and counter-traumatizing the person who created the trauma in the same way he did to the victim. Trauma narrative is a type of psychotherapy for those who have experienced psychological trauma. The therapeutic approaches used in this procedure differ depending on the kind and intensity of the trauma. Generally, writers in literature allow traumatised characters to communicate their unpleasant experiences and the events that have injured them psychologically. At times, the trauma is so severe and pervasive that no amount of recounting can console the sufferer. Thus, the writer/psychiatrist permits the traumatised character to exhibit physical reactions to the person or situation that produced the trauma. This technique is frequently utilised in literature but is rarely used in actuality. The novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist likewise use this Trauma Reaction technique.
Traumatic Reactions occur on three unique scales: the individual, the national, and the international. Individually, when Changez decides to grow a beard, trauma can be witnessed. This mindset is no longer his choice; it is a reaction to the crimes committed by the United States. Changez’s beard bears a lot of significance. As previously said, Muslims have been held liable for the twin towers attacks, and the beard is a primary sign of fundamental Muslims. Muslims were marginalised following 9/11. They would tease and humiliate them for no apparent reason. Suspicion was directed at the individual with the beard. At such a vital and sensitive period, Changez’s beard is extremely significant. He grew a beard during a time when beards were considered a symbol of extremism. As a result, the Americans are irritated.
Changez does not grow a beard in accordance with Islamic beliefs; rather, he perplexes the Americans. As the department’s man of significance, rank, and intellect, he desires to express that simply because a few individuals are suspected of being involved for the 9/11 atrocities, the entire religion or nation should not face persecution. He is aware that his beard may get him in hot water, as his mother and buddy When Wain wright constantly advise him not to grow one during that time period, but he is purposefully attempting to injure the Americans. Changez’s goal is to teach them about Islam, Muslims, and their appearance. Changez is well aware that the Americans will never suspect him as a result of his sincerity and expert contributions to their economy. By grabbing this infamy, he aims to wreak retribution on behalf of all hapless Muslims who have been subjected to great humiliation by Americans for being Muslims. By growing a beard, he hopes to physically respond to and debunk Americans’ prejudices about Muslims. In simple terms, he uses his beard as a physical medium to communicate with Americans his opposing opinions. Thus, Changez is a form of trauma response to Americans’ perception of beards as a symbol of terrorism. Changez’s beard could also be explained by his mental turmoil over his identity and origin. He develops a beard as a physical symbol of his awakening to the fact that he was not born in the country he adores (America). Thus, Changez’s beard serves as an outward reflection of his internal anguish.
Another component of the traumatic reaction is Changes’ refusal to contribute individually to the American economy. Given that America spent the majority of its economic resources on Afghanistan, a fellow Muslim country, this thought continues to chafe him on the inside. He is unable to act in this direction, however, because of his American dream, his beloved Erica, and a few other factors. However, when Juan Batista refers to him as a Janissary, the trauma escalates and becomes more severe. At this moment, his trauma has taken precedence over his desire for Erica and America. He eventually decides to leave America. Changez, who was first ecstatic and enthusiastic about his American dream, finally leaves his job. It only symbolises the suffering he has undergone as a result of American anti-Muslim prejudice and discrimination. He cannot transcend these terrible feelings simply by speaking out against the US’s stance toward Islam and Muslims; he requires a reaction, specifically growing a beard and eventually leaving America.
Apart from the individual, there is also a national traumatic reaction. Following his return from America, Changez begins teaching at a university. He instils an understanding of American realities, self-centred policies, and attitudes toward the Muslim world in his students. His rhetoric and teachings incite anti-American emotions among pupils. Changez has received repeated official warnings about this matter, yet he is unable to prevent from acting. This is because of the deluge of awful feelings that burst within him throughout his time in America. He aims to fan the flames of this tempest by exposing America’s true hypocrisy to his students, despite their warnings. He is instilling anti-Americanism in his students. Thus, his anti-American teachings and slogans are traumatic responses to the traumatic acts committed by America against Muslims. Extending this concept of trauma reaction to the national level, we may explore the hostility between Americans and Eastern Muslims in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. This fallacy was placed in the minds of innocent and ordinary Americans, who were persuaded to believe that Muslims were their violent rivals and perpetrators of the New York City Twin Towers attacks. Americans launched a tsunami of animosity on Muslims as a result of this misunderstanding and misconception. They began mocking Muslims on all levels; a distrust of Muslims was cultivated in their thoughts. The American’s actions and statements in Lahore reflect his hostility toward Muslims. Following 9/11, multicultural and liberal Americans expressed a reluctance to speak with or shake hands with Muslims. This is also true for Muslims in the Middle East, such as Pakistanis. The waiter’s and passer-by’s look show suspicion and hatred upon seeing the American. Both of these cultures have developed a sense of suspicion and animosity towards one another as a result of their mental pain.
At the international level, trauma reaction reaches a third degree. Although it is not stated clearly in the novel, Hamid refers to that experience by warning America about the negative effects of its actions toward Muslims and its misinterpretation of Islam. Hamid is referring to hostile sections within Muslim unions that have developed as a result of American policies and views toward the Muslim world. The ISIS, the Tehrikyz Taliban, and al-Qaida, for example, are unions. They are all collateral damage from the humiliation of Muslims by the Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq. Hamid wants America to understand that she, too, faces awful consequences as a result of her own hypocritical and self-centred policies.To conclude, as previously stated, Mohsin Hamid’s novel indicates Trauma Narration as Trauma Reaction on three unique levels.
This research paper analysed all the points it raised and attempted to clarify at the outset. It establishes a link between trauma and 9/11 literature by addressing similar issues, such as cultural hybridity, racial, religious, and national divisions, and failed love affairs, that contribute to the characters’ traumatic feelings, particularly the protagonist, Changez. Additionally, it alluded to the negative consequences suffered by Muslims in the aftermath of 9/11, how traumatised Muslims such as Changez reacted, and their strategies to overcome psychological trauma. Muslim writers used literary forms such as novels and poetry to express their anguish at the hands of America following 9/11. In contrast, others reacted violently in the shape of aggressive anti-American Muslims or groups. Mohsin Hamid wishes to convey a message to the west in general and America in particular about the realities of Muslims and Islam through the characters of Changez. He attempts to dispel all Americans’ misconceptions and misperceptions about Muslims and their faith. The novelist wishes to convince Americans that Islam and Muslims are as pure, cultured, and peaceful as they believe themselves to be. He indirectly addresses America’s attitudes toward the Muslim world, while Muslims such as Changez adore America.
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