Migration in Exit West

In the novel Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, migration is a bittersweet experience for Nadia and Saeed. They have to leave their homes, jobs, and entire lives behind. It is especially heartbreaking because Saeed’s father refuses to come with them through the door. “And so neither expected, when a handwritten note from the agent arrived, pushed under their apartment door one morning and telling them precisely where to be at precisely what time the following afternoon, that Saeed’s father would say, ‘You two must go, but I will not come'” (95). No matter what Saeed or Nadia say, Saeed’s father will not change his mind. And before their journey, Saeed’s father talked to Nadia. “Saeed’s father summoned Nadia into his room. . . and all he asked was that she remain by Saeed’s side until Saeed was out of danger. . .” (97).

He wants to ensure Saeed’s safety because throughout the novel, Nadia proves to be an independent, strong, and responsible woman. If they stick together they will have a better chance of surviving. When the two are traveling through the door, “It was said in those days that the passage was both like dying and being born, and indeed Nadia experienced a kind of extinguishing as she entered the blackness. . .” (104). The experience of their migration to Mykonos is short, but almost surreal. When Saeed and Nadia get to Mykonos, “The beach was fronted by a beach club, with bars and tables and large outdoor loudspeakers and loungers stacked for winter” (105). The description of their new home seems positive. Nadia and Saeed’s journey from their home to Mykonos is sad in some respects, but hopefully it will be better in the long run if they are safe from the violence that they had to endure. My question is will this new environment strengthen their relationship or tear them apart?

2 thoughts on “Migration in Exit West

  1. Mirabella V.

    This is really interesting to think about. I really liked how you described their time on Mykonos because it does have that happy and sad aspect to it. Especially as a reader who wants them to find a better home and for life to get more positive reading the book you realize while even if there are positives in this new life its still not the same.


  2. Kianna G.

    Migration is a big big part of this novel, hence the title, but a part of telling the migration story is by showcasing the relationships that are formed and torn apart. I think that incorporating the separation of Saeed and his father is an important aspect that Mohsin Hamid incorporated well. It really focuses on the hardships of what people need to leave behind in order to survive and migrate. I also wonder how their migration will affect the relationship between Saeed and Nadia.


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