Doors in Exit West: Magical Portals or Hidden Methods?

In Mohsin Hamid’s novel, Exit West, main characters Nadia and Saeed travel to new places through doors. Although Hamid does not explicitly state that these doors are magical, context often leads the reader to believe so. However, the lack of explanation of the methods through which these doors function leads me to believe that they are not really magical portals, but instead metaphors for methods through which migrants can travel.

As can be seen through the news, there are many ways that people smuggle other people out of dangerous situations to safer places. For instance, there was a truck found in Britain that contained 39 dead Vietnamese people, which is believed to have been a truck full of hopeful migrants. Unfortunately, in this case these people did not survive their passage, but they found the opportunity through an open door, so to speak.

Hamid references these types of doors in a magical sense, but only because these open doors often present illegal and dangerous methods through which to act. Instead of detailing Nadia and Saeed’s journeys through the doors, Hamid decides to focus on what lays at the other side. Therefore, he does not have to reveal and expose such types of methods. He can also establish more focus on Nadia and Saeed’s story as migrants as they live in their destinations, not necessarily as they journey to these places.

One thought on “Doors in Exit West: Magical Portals or Hidden Methods?

  1. Jordan SD

    I understand where you’re coming with the doors symbolizing as transport methods but another thing you seemed to look over was that these doors transported people at an instant rather than the long duration of time it usually takes. These doors were the gateway to different life but they served as safe transportation methods. Also to mention the fact that they transported people across the world in seconds. The only danger was wondering where you’d end up similar to real-life immigrants who go through sketchy methods trying to leave their country.

    Like

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