Representation of Trauma in Post-9/11 Fiction: Revisiting Reminiscences in Mohsen Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Document Type : Original Article


1 MA in English Language and Literature, Department of English Language and Literature and Linguistics, University of Kurdistan, Sanandaj, Iran

2 Assistant Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, Khorasgan Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran



The current paper aims at presenting a close reading of the protagonist’s reminiscences in Mohsen Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist in terms of an eclectic approach toward representation of trauma. Freud and Breuer’s theory of psychological trauma, Judith Herman’s concept of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Jeffery Alexander’s notion of cultural trauma are employed as the conceptual framework of this analysis. Psychological trauma refers to the unbearable, untreatable, and unspeakable psychological wounds remaining on the subject’s unconsciousness. PTSD concentrates on troublesomeness in regular physical activities including rapid distraction, insomnia, and shifting in and out through past memories, triggered by trauma. Cultural trauma traces the changes at the level of collective identity of a group due to a formerly experienced horrendous event. The Adventures of Changez, the novel’s narrator, dating back to around the 9/11 attack are represented in The Reluctant Fundamentalist. The paper conducted a survey through theories of trauma depicting memory as a venue where the subject’s psychical status could be fully scrutinized. The results of the study demonstrated that a traumatic event such as that of the 9/11 has a long-term devastating impact on Changez’s subjectivity as well as a collective negative consequence for Pakistan’s new generation of intellectual immigrants.


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