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Western and Eastern Cultural Clash


Nowadays, the scholars are practically and theoretically unanimous in their opinion that globalization is unstoppable. Although the process does seem to be entirely beneficial in its nature, there is always a negative side of the issue that is to be considered as well. The cultural paradigms of the particular national environments clash with the international dogmas. Although international cultural diversity has been many times proclaimed on the international level including multiple statements of the United Nations organization, contemporarily the practice indicates that cross-cultural bias and misunderstanding is till reported to take place.

The novel of Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamin “The Radical Fundamentalist” reveals the way the oriental culture integrates into the Western American world, and the accentuates the outcomes of this fusion, discoursing  broadly over the political, economic and US imperialism aspects of the post-modern international relations. In contrast, the novel “So Vast the Prison” written by Asia Djebar focuses on the status of the ladies in post-paternal Algerian society, which is on the verge of the fundamental reforms, but strong traditional impact is still reported to be taking place. 

Indeed, the cultural mix is becoming more and more intricate nowadays causing the clash of national identities and international values. Under the aegis of global anti-terrorism campaign, the people of oriental appearance are persecuted and lynched, both physically and mentally. Whatever illuminative actions are taken, no active have been produced so far.

The discussed literature works have been used to accentuate the escalation of the outlined conflicts. The ultimate objective of this paper is to analyze the cross-cultural dialogue and the repercussions of the ensued conflict of interests, with the accent paid on the exacerbating contradiction between the Western and Eastern universes. Personal experience of the main characters have been linked to the events occurring in Algeria and the United States of America, especially after 9/11 onslaughts of the terrorism radical activists.

Reluctant Fundamentalist

The plot of the story is typical and can be considered as an aggregation of personal life experience of all oriental highly-skilled and perfectly educated specialists hired by the United States companies. The story is focused on a brilliant finance student Changez of Pakistani origin who, having graduated from one of the most prestigious United States educational establishments, the Princeton University, is hired as an associate by the upscale consultancy firm. In Greece, he gets acquainted with the girl Erica and falls in love with her. However, she is still mourning for her beloved one, who died from one of the most fatal diseases: the lung cancer. Whatever attempts are taken by Changez, all they went fruitless, and the lady is eventually hospitalized with the symptoms of a serious mental breakdown. His further inquiries indicated that she allegedly committed a suicide by drowning herself.

Having concentrated fully on his career, he travels a lot fulfilling the commissions of different nature in the countries of Latin America and worldwide. The author makes an emphasis on the fact that the main character is fascinated with the work he does. He generates immense profits for his company, and the firm reciprocates him. Being financially independent, he extensively explores the given opportunity to broaden his academic and professional horizons. However, gradually he started to perceive the fact that he serves the global empire, which aim of existence is the exploitation and manipulation of the small and dependent nations including his homeland, India and Pakistan.

The pivotal moment of the story are the 9/11 attacks on the twin-towers in the USA. Since the devastating blow on the US sovereignty and the well-being of the United States citizens was perpetuated, the Muslims and every one of oriental appearances were targeted and victimized by the United States community. Demonstrating his growing sentiment of solidarity with his compatriots and other Islam people, he started to grow a beard, intentionally highlighting his national identity. Eventually, his purposeful uproot of a particularly important assignment resulted in his dismissal and comeback to his motherland, where he occupied the position of a university economics professor. Having returned home, he eventually realized that his true vocation was to bring knowledge and to spread his newly-born ideas on globalization and US economic and financial expansion. The end of the story is open, thus, the targeted audience is free to apply its fantasy to finalize it.

Obviously, the main message of the author in this story is to elucidate to the readers that wrongful perception of Muslim and all Oriental country is being cultivated in the West. The fact that the word terrorist is immediately connected with Islam worshipper is totally unsound and lacks both academic and practical substantiation. The escalation of the long-nurtured conflict culminated after Osama Bin Laden initiated the notorious air blows on the US citizens. The Muslims were started to be victimized ubiquitously. That policy caused a natural radical reaction of the Pakistani, Afghani and other people of Oriental origin. “It seems an obvious thing to say, but you should not imagine that we Pakistanis are all potential terrorists, just as we should not imagine that you Americans are all undercover assassins.” (Mohsin 132) – elaborates the main character of the story. 

Another important aspect of the study is the relations between him and western lady Erica. The author intentionally accentuated the fact that their prospective matrimony collapsed. “I responded to the gravity of an invisible moon at my core, and I undertook journeys I had not expected to take” (Mohsin 89), says Changez eventually realizing that the attempt to unite Western and Eastern lifestyles failed.

So Vast the Prison

The story tells the adventures of Isma, the lady raised in a traditional Algerian community with its strong values and immense religious impact. She is married, but she falls in love with her colleague. In a purely Western World this situation is considered immoral but nevertheless, it is acceptable. Whatever attempts are painstakingly taken by her, the matrimony cannot be dissolved due to the strong influence of the religious canons and deeply ingrained inveterate moral principles of the society (Djebar 18).

Obviously, the main message of the writer in this novel is to draw parallels between the individual prone to progress and the community unwilling to accept her progressive views. Old traditions will soon pass away and marriage dissolution will definitely become common practice, even among the most radical Muslims. However, the price for these long-needed changes is the broken fates and distorted souls of the individuals (Djebar 132).


Having summarized the main points of this study, several conclusions are to be made. Firstly, the escalation between the Western and Eastern worlds has intensified and the culmination is imminent. Unless serious actions are taken by the common efforts of the international community, the repercussions can go really far. Secondly, the perception of Muslim world that is predominant in the Western society nowadays is to be modified. In particular, an average American must be purposefully instructed that a Muslim clothed in Hijab and bearded is not necessarily a terrorist.

Lastly, the civilization has made multiple steps upwards, while the cultural paradigms of the Muslim world still remain antiquated. The rights of the women are now recognized, but the cultural and moral standards are discriminatory. Steep actions should be unleashed in order to stay consistent with the growing standards of democracy.

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