Kiefer Sutherland as Jim Cross in the filmitazation of The Reluctant Fundamentalist


Jim is the managing director at Underwood Samson, and also the first person Changez has contact with within the company, as he is the person who gives him the job. The first time we encounter Jim is in the job interview. At first Changez is intimidated by his speech, but later in the interview he comes to both acknowledge his intelligence and  respect Jim's ability to see "through him in a few minutes more clearly than had many people who had known him for years". Jim shows sympathy with Changez's because of his desire to succeed, which relates to his own lack of financial means to go to college as Jim himself comes from a disadvantaged background:

"I was the first guy from my family to go to college. I worked night shift in Trenton to pay my way, far enough from campus that people wouldn't find out. So I get where you're coming from, Changez. You're hungry, and that's a good thing in my book." [p.25]

Relationship with Changez

Jim is the embodiment of an successful, American, self-made man, a firm believer in meritocracy. He immediately likes Changez and seems immune to the racist hysteria that takes hold of most americans after the 9/11 attacks. He is always understanding of Changez and never fails to ask him about both his troubles after the attacks and his family when the war between Pakistan and India is inevitable. Jim says he understands how CHangez fells because he himself is used to feeling out of place.


Yet I feel that there is a darker side to him. His fortune is made by exploiting the failure of others and, tellingly, when Changez goes to the party at Jim's "magnificent property" in the Hamptons, it made him think of The Great Gatsby. This is most likely an allusion, that Jim's dealings are not completely clean. This is also hinted at later when Jim describes himself and changez as “sharks”. In addition, Jim makes Changez “pakistaniness” disappear,which is something the character is happy about at first, but is problematized later in the novel. He is the embodiment of corporate capitalism and imperialism, which both are things that Changez becomes increasignly suspicious about. You could also wonder whether Jim's nice attitude towards Changez is not also dictated by perversive thoughts, as he is constantly making physical contact with him. Reading between the lines we can understand that he is gay. His giant loft is described as:

of attaching great value to design. Not that it was cluttered, or indeed feminine in any way,...the walls featured... a not insignificant number of male nudes.” [p.119]

Changez asks him, in the same scene which I quoted above, about his wife and children. Jim is "visibly amused" and says he has no wife nor children.