The Reluctant Fundamentalist

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist Characters


Changez, the protagonist of the novel, is a Pakistani man who went to college in Princeton, and who narrates the story of his time in the United States to the Stranger. For most… (read full character analysis)

The Stranger

The unnamed person to whom Changez recounts his time in America, the Stranger never speaks in the book. In fact, the reader’s only impressions of him come from Changez’s remarks. Because of this, it’s left… (read full character analysis)


Erica is a beautiful and popular Princeton graduate, with whom Changez falls in love. She has strong feelings for Changez, though she sometimes seems to view Changez as an exotic foreigner more than a true… (read full character analysis)


Jim is an executive vice president at Underwood Samson, and Changez’s mentor for most of his time with the company. Because he worked his way up from an impoverished family, Jim identifies with… (read full character analysis)

The Waiter

The Waiter serves Changez and the Stranger while they sit and drink tea in the café in Lahore to which Changez steered the Stranger. A member of a tribe victimized by America’s military, he appears… (read full character analysis)
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Changez’s friend at Underwood Samson and the only other non-white trainee, Wainwright is laid-back and popular with his peers. He and Changez quickly become friends, but because he is more comfortable with America and… (read full character analysis)


The president of a Chilean publishing company that Underwood Sampson values. Changez works on the project, and becomes friendly with Juan-Batista. It is Juan-Batista's questioning that leads Changez to see himself as a "janissary" –… (read full character analysis)

Jeepney driver

One day while traveling to work for Underwood Sampson in a limousine, Changez notices a jeepney (a kind of public bus) driver staring at him angrily . Changez can't figure out whether the man seems… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Erica’s dead boyfriend. She describes him as being a dandy, with an “old world” appeal. Erica continues to love Chris throughout the novel, years after he has died, and her growing obsession with Chris after 9/11 ultimately leads her to depression and mental illness.
One of Changez’s classmates at Princeton. He goes on a vacation to Greece with Chuck, Erica, and Changez, and attempts unsuccessfully to flirt with Erica.
One of Changez’s classmates and soccer friends at Princeton, he travels to Greece with Changez, Erica, and Mike.
Erica’s Mother
A kind but reserved woman, who seems to like Changez.
Erica’s Father
A powerful businessman, who treats Changez somewhat condescendingly.
A vice president at Underwood Samson, ranked below Jim.
Changez's mother
She lives in Pakistan. When Changez returns to Pakistan, she hopes he will soon get married and wonders why he does not.
Changez's brother
He lives in Pakistan. He gets married not long after Changez returns to Pakistan, and at one point tells Changez that many people are fortifying their houses because they fear a war with U.S.-backed India.
Changez's father
He lives in Pakistan, and fears war with U.S.-backed India though he refuses to discuss it.