The Invisible Third Person in Saeed and Nadia’s Relationship

Saeed and Nadia’s relationship is not one we often see in novels or movies. Compared to many representations, which come off as spontaneous and easy, the two characters relationship reaches depths of pain, irritation, and fear that is rarely ever shown. But, more rare, is seeing the death of a relationship. And a “death” is exactly what occurs in “Exit West”, or at least how it is portrayed by Hamid.

Hamid writes the relationship of Saeed and Nadia like a third person, complete with multiple facets and an ability to be born and to die. Throughout the book, this new person goes through so many changes and shifts: innocently childlike and playful at the beginning of the book; hopeful but weighed down as the two start travelling across the world; broken and tired nearing the end, but somehow still aware. Just as the two characters grow, so does the relationship, but it almost seems as though the relationship is responding in accordance with it’s environment, as a person interacts with their environment, and not as a result of the characters individual actions. And in the end, just as a person dies, the relationship must as well. Nearing the end of the book Saeed and Nadia bury a drone, and soon after part ways and start separate lives. This burial isn’t just the literal burial of the drone but seems to represent an understanding of the end of another life, their relationship. Something Hamid does well is make the end natural. A natural death, just as it was a natural beginning. Because although this third person died, it shouldn’t prevent a celebration of it’s life or an acknowledgment of it’s existence. Hamid makes sure of this.

2 thoughts on “The Invisible Third Person in Saeed and Nadia’s Relationship

  1. Jordan SD

    I like the analogy of their relationship as a person. Starting off as a baby, innocent and playful but growing old and dying off later in the story. You could also imagine this third-person being kind of a troubled child growing up. The child grew with good intentions just like Saeed and Nadia did together but as the story progressed, this child was confused, angry, and worried about what was going on in the world. This can be seen when Saeed and Nadia ended up living together, not having sex, and showing beliefs in different things. Finally, as Saeed and Nadia were coming to an end, so was their relationship. That was the instant when it died.


  2. Jenna K

    I can definitely see this. It makes a lot of sense to see the third person as their relationship and in the end when they go their separate ways the third person dies/leaves. Also it is true that this relationship is something we don’t always see, it is always the perfect or tragic relationship. Saeed and Nadia had something but it slowly disappeared and sometimes that happens in life.


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