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Paris and The Reluctant Fundamentalist


I made this collage after reading The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Because of the timing of the lesson and its correspondence with the terrorist attacks in Paris, I wanted to capture the reactions from the media, because I felt that my understanding of the events was influenced by my reading of the novel. Because of this realization, I felt that a collage would be the best way to display the images. Real life visual representation of the the reactions to these attacks show the perspective of the news media. After reading The Reluctant Fundamentalist I looked at these images with a new sense of clarity. I felt sadness and sympathy for those who lost loved ones, but I deliberately chose images that showed these feelings, not the many pictures that called for attacks on Muslims. When I read the headline “Shocking Terror, Enduring Grief” I thought of the word terror. The Reluctant Fundamentalist could not have been assigned at a more opportune time. Changez’s story gave meaning to the word terror. It gave it an origin, an origin that does not have anything to do with terror itself. Terror is not a person, it is a concept, and The Reluctant Fundamentalist showed the way one becomes a fundamentalist in a way that was logical to a Western reader. I think it is important to not be “terrorized” by religious extremists and instead to seek to understand the causes behind such movements. This novel greatly aided my quest to learn more about potential followers of extremist or fundamentalist groups. For this reason, I included the image with the lights that read “NOT AFRAID” because The Reluctant Fundamentalist taught me to not be afraid of the people who are so antagonistically portrayed on the news.

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