Literary Allusions
  • Star Wars (film) by George Lucas
    • A reference by Jim alludes to their skin colour, and like in the film, foreshadows a temptation. Beware the darkside, young Skywalker. (p43) Good versus evil.
  • ‍Top Gun (film)
    • Compares Wainwright's 'cavalier' attitude (p39): in a fashion reminiscent of Val Kilmer in Top Gun. he leaned towards me and whispered, "No points for second place Maverick." Changez reply attempts to show his fondness for American culture and his ability to fit in with the dominant culture.
  • ‍Poems of **Faiz** and Ghalib
    • Immediately after the Star Wars quote, Changez comments that Wainwright quotes film references the way his mother would quote these famous poets. The implication is that the poems of his native Pakistan are of deeper cultural value than the disposable film culture of America. (p43)
  • The Great Gatsby (novel) by F Scott Fitzgerald
    • Comparison to Jim (p48) - a magnificent property that made me think of The Great Gatsby.A novel about careless wealthy Americans who had plenty of money but little moral fibre.
  • ‍James Bond (novel and film series)
    • British secret service-spy 007. His sense of adventure in America (pp72-73) I was, in my own eyes, a veritable James Bond- only younger, darker, and possibly better paid.
  • ‍Gwyneth Paltrow and Britney Spears
    • Comparison to Erica (p25) she belonged more to the camp of Paltrow than to that of Spears.American pop culture, celebrities.
  • Heart of Darkness (novella) by Joseph Conrad
    • Compares himself to Kurtz, the antagonist of Conrad's narrative (p208) Since then I have felt like a Kurtz waiting for his Marlow. Kurtz was a soldier who had turned into a renegade and so his original army/nation was sending an assassin to get rid of him.
  • Sleepy Hollow
    • This appears in the last chapter. A tale about a headless horseman who terrorises people. Sinister and menacing associations.
  • Tin Tin Flight 714
  • Tells the story of Tin Tin, the hero who helps to rescue a millionaire who is kidnapped and on a lost flight that lands on a beautiful island-maybe references to a simpler timewhere good guys and bad guys were easily distinguished?

General Tecumsah Sherman

* Brilliant general in the Union army in American Civil War-noted for his skilful military strategies and inventing the

scorched earth' method-where everything is destroyed before or behind the enemy eg crops are burnt-so the enemy is

ruthlessly shown no mercy and given no avenues to escape/survive. A bit like the training of the Underwood Samson 'troops'?

Personification of America
Hamid makes several allusions to America as being a 'woman'- a clear allusion to his feelings for Erica (Note that Erica is found in the word 'America').
  • He describes himself as "a lover of America."
  • He personifies Princeton by saying that it "lifted its skirt ... and.. showed them some skin." (p5)
  • After September 11 he explains his pleasure that "someone had so visibly brought America to her knees."
Similarly, there is some reference to Chris as a symbol of being "All American." This is both an unattainable dream for Erica and something Changez can never truly be. (Like Erica, the character's name is also an allusion with Chris being derivative of Christianity).
  • Erica refers to home as "a guy with long skinny fingers." (p32) ( Uncle Sam?)