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Wilson - March 2020: Writing Prompts

"The Reluctant Fundamentalist" Writing Prompts

Mohsin Hamid, as a Princeton educated, Pakistani born novelist who consistently engages the Muslim world may well have a body of literature that is instructive for the scholars of global literature and the kinds of bridge-building they often propose.  Hamid’s work goes a long way toward constructing that third space between us and them.  His fiction opens up a liminal zone—a borderland—between not just the East and the West, but also between apparently opposed conceptual and formal-generic categories like critique, irony, and satire, on the one hand, and ideology, dogma, belief, and belief of the strongest and extreme variety, fundamentalism, on the other. ( For this paper, you will have the option of choosing between the following 5 prompts to write a 5-7 page research paper that uses The Reluctant Fundamentalist as your primary source along with at least three secondary sources.

Option 1:

Thinking about the above passage taken from The Mantle website, how does Hamid use The Reluctant Fundamentalist to present a counter narrative about the post 9/11 era? How does Hamid bridge the gap between the east and west in the novel? Is he effective in engaging an American audience?

Option 2:

What are some of the ways that the novel highlights the ways that a sense of self is determined by a person’s social, political, and cultural circumstances? What does this argue about Hamid’s interpretation of identity formation? What does this argue about Hamid’s interpretation of the post 9/11 era and identity formation?

Option 3:

In what ways does Hamid use the theme of nostalgia as a critique in the novel? Who or what is he critiquing? What is the effect of nostalgia in the novel?

Option 4:

Hamid uses setting and place to consistently create tension in the novel. How does place and setting impact Changez’s identity formation? What does Hamid appear to be arguing about globalization, the west and east, and identity formation?

Option 5:

Form an argumentative question about a theme, motif, or aspect of symbolism in the text that you wish to answer in your essay. You must okay your question with me first.

Important note: all of the prompt options have a lot of questions that go along with them. You are not required to answer all of the questions associated with each prompt. Keep in mind that you are writing an argumentative, not an informative, research paper. Just as with your other essays, this research paper requires a thesis statement that contains an argument that you will be proving. You must also use three to four secondary sources, each coming from either an academic book or published journal from the Rutgers libraries database system; you may not use news articles for this paper.

Your essay should include a thesis statement that directly, accurately, and specifically responds to the question asked. Your paper should be carefully organized: main ideas should be put forth in a logical order and paragraphs should be guided by topic sentences that support the central thesis. You will need to explain your points thoroughly, support your arguments with specific evidence from the text, and analyze the quotes and examples that you use. Your paper should be carefully proofread for word choice, sentence sense and variety, and grammatical errors.


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