“Excuse me, sir, but may I be of assistance? Ah, I see I have alarmed you. Do not be frightened by my beard: I am a lover of America” : Highlighting bias in The Reluctant Fundamentalist with Positioning Theory, for the purpose of teaching students to crit

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för språk (SPR)

Abstract: This paper sets out to analyze The Reluctant Fundamentalist by a narratological application of positioning theory with the aim of highlighting the bias of the main character. The paper argues that using said novel in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classroom in conjunction with positioning theory could result in an improved understanding of how language is used in different situations for different purposes, which in turn can teach students to critically assess narratives in any medium. This paper also suggests that The Reluctant Fundamentalist could be a beneficial novel to use with the aim of providing students with ethical knowledge and awareness. The findings show that there are several acts of positioning from the main character where his bias against Americans is evident. These instances often consist of the main character contrasting himself and his behavior with Americans where differences of ethical values are expressed. The paper argues that his bias was formed because of an identity crisis, which was constituted of a multitude of factors. Furthermore, the pedagogical implications section suggests some benefits of working with positioning theory and the novel in the EFL classroom, in addition it also discusses some problematic aspects that could be important to be aware of when working with said novel.

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