In what ways is this story shared by Juan Bautista in Ch 10 pivotal to understanding the changes that come upon Changez?

When Juan Bautista first introduces the Janissaries to Changez, Juan tries to implicitly suggest to Changez that he is similar to a Janissary, an individual who is being controlled by a bigger more dominant organization like the country, by making comparisons such as at what age did Changez come to the US. By doing so, Changez now unconsciously compares himself to a Janissary. Perhaps, he was trying to find a description of the situation he was put in, someone who was being taken control of against their own will.

Changez later realizes and states that he is a “modern-day janissary” and acts as a servant to the American Empire. Changez’s work ethic in America and trying to contribute as much as he can further shows the struggles he will endure, just to help America progress and become a stronger country, even if that came at the expense of hurting his country of origin. This can be seen as Changez was stripped away of his Pakistani identity upon coming to America due to the overwhelming culture shocks and adopting an American mindset, just like how the Christian boys had a to serve a Muslim army and stripped of their identity as well.

After Changez quits his job and moves back to Pakistan to work as a university lecturer, he considers himself an “ex-janissary”, implying the release from the shackles put on by the Americans and the regaining of his original identity. This leads to hatred towards America, and even gathering a group of students to protest against America and their actions. Changez recruits students (children) to create his army of janissaries, to fight for a common goal against America. The students also looking up to Changez as a mentor further portray the idea that Changez had much more power than his janissaries.

The transition from being a janissary to being the leader of a janissary serves as an interesting contrast for Changez’s search for identity.

 

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