Recurring Themes in The Reluctant Fundamentalist

-shame: at his immediate reaction to 9/11, at not being US American enough, at not being Pakistani enough, at not having power (both him personally and Pakistan nationally), ashamed of his acquired US American gaze and the financial decline of his family

-comparisons to the West: particularly in the form of references to US American popular culture—films—possibly pointing out the exportation of US American stereotypes and how people are represented to other countries/the strengthening of american hegemony and empire through exportation of popular media and possible counterpoint to the various mentions of how 9/11 was characterized in the news

-identity: fitting into US American upper-crust society, choosing how to physically represent oneself, being a New Yorker vs being a US American, experiencing his US American peers as foreigners and identifying more with the Filipino man

-displacement: living in a new country that at first seems to welcome you and then explicitly rejects you; the steady financial decline of his family vs the financial privilege he finds at his new job

-nostalgia: as a sickness both personal and national, as something that enhances imagination, as something that catalyzes transformation, as something that masquerades as memory

-how much more powerful imagination can be than reality

-liminality: spends majority of narrative in a place of uncertainty and transition