Changez's scar seems to worry the Stranger, since it looks like a mark of some violent encounter, but Changez insists that he acquired it as a small child, when a candle dripped molten wax on his arm. It's also possible, of course, that Changez is lying—that he got it more recently, during the course of violent opposition to the United States. The qualities of the scar itself are almost mutually contradictory: it's dark, which traditionally symbolizes evil, but also smooth, which traditionally symbolizes innocence. In this way, the way one interprets Changez's scar mirrors to the way one interprets Changez himself —he could be a sinister figure who conspires to kill the Stranger, he could be innocent of all wrongdoing whatsoever, or he could be a terrorist who’s “innocent” insofar as the United States has pushed him to fundamentalism. Interpreting the scar is like an inkblot test: one's interpretation says more about the interpreter than about Changez.
Changez’s Scar Symbol Timeline in The Reluctant Fundamentalist
The timeline below shows where the symbol Changez’s Scar appears in The Reluctant Fundamentalist. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.