The Reluctant Fundamentalist notes
Why is the interaction with the hostile driver in Manila significant? This interaction is significant because it is the first time that Changez sees himself as the rich, stuck-up, corporate American working man rather than a Pakistani in another country. It is due to the look of disgust he sees in the eyes of the driver that he realizes who he has become. He even tells people, upon being asked where he is from, that he is from New York, despite being from Pakistan originally.
The feeling he has, however, when telling people he is from America is shame. This is an indication of his self-loathing that he feels because he is an American now.
What is the conflict Changez feels?
The conflict Changez feels is the need to succeed and join America’s elite, however he feels that by doing this he will lose his cultural roots, for example his respect for elders. He also does not want to be part of a society like that of America’s elite because they are not really looked up to in other areas, they are more looked upon with anger, like the driver in Manila. He feels out of place and yet very much at home with the firm he works for, for example in Manila he feels that he should join the Filipinos on their way home because he is not an American, however his winning smile and his obvious drive and commitment to his work take him in the direction of success.
Third world sensibility: shared experience between Changez and the driver, USA to Filipino. They share a third world background however Changez is in a limo while the other man is not privileged or wealthy like Changez is. Changez is protected by his American co-workers and is considered to be part of that society even if he doesn’t feel that way all the time.
Play acting: he is an outsider, a third world man but he takes on the identity of someone that is not him, that is someone of riches and opportunity. However, in the airport he is detained and questioned, suggesting that he isn’t American he is Pakistani in a costume.
Implication of “foreign” said to Jim: he is not part of the society, he is not one of those people filled with opportunity.