Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007) and Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925): A Study of Literary Influence and Originality
This article falls within the scope of Influence Studies as it shows the influence of Francis S. Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925) on Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007). To study this case, an appeal has been made to Northrope Frye’s Anatomy of Criticism (1957) and Harold Bloom’s The Anxiety of Influence (1973). In the first chapter, I have introduced Mohsin Hamid and The Reluctant Fundamentalist and given a background to both 1920s and post-9/11 America. I have shown that the definition of America and the American dream changes from ‘positive’ in the 1920s to negative in post-9/11 America. In the second chapter, I have studied the similarities between the two works in terms of both plot and characterization from Northrop Frye’s perspective. I have shown that not only does Hamid’s novella fit the characteristics of romance, but also that Hamid is influenced by Fitzgerald’s plot and protagonist. In the last chapter, I have analyzed Hamid’s misreading of Fitzgerald’s novel and drawn the differences between the two works in terms of plot and characterization. After analyzing the two works in the light of Bloom’s theory, I have concluded that Hamid misreads Fitzgerald’s novel to distance himself from it and create his originality, resulting thus in ‘an anxiety of influence’ embodied in the novella. I have also concluded that Hamid recontextualizes The Great Gatsby and gives it a new perspective which alters its former reading and foregrounds his originality.
- Département d'Anglais