The Relationship

In the novel, Exit West, author Mohsin Hamid focuses on the development and change of a relationship between Nadia and Saeed. In the beginning, when they first meet, Nadia and Saeed experience the typical honeymoon phase of their romantic relationship and one expects them to have a great long lasting relationship. But, their relationship is put to the test once they step through a black door.

Right after they completed their first big move and migrated to Mykonos, they experienced their first hiccup. Nadia attempted to kiss Saeed and he “turned his face away angrily” (107). This is just one of many incidents that start to tear Saeed and Nadia farther apart.

They again traveled through a door and found themselves in London. This move increased the tension between them:

… they slept on the slender single bed together without speaking, without touching, or without touching more than the cramped space demanded, for this one night not unlike a couple that was long and unhappily married, a couple that made out of opportunities for joy, misery.

(127)

Yet again, the hardships of migrating can bee seen as it affects Saeed and Nadia’s relationship. They slowly grow apart in this unfamiliar country as Nadia spent time with the Nigerians and Saeed spent time in another house with others from his country (151). Moving to a new area and being surrounded by different people brought out their differences. It showcased Saeed’s desire to reconnect with his culture and find others like him while Nadia’s desire is to leave behind their past and start anew.

However, there is hope in the salvation of their relationship as Mohsin Hamid ends chapter 9 with, yet, another migration, “… both of them were filled with hope, hope that they would be able to rekindle their relationship …” (189). Will Nadia and Saeed be able to salvage their relationship or will they grow apart?

6 thoughts on “The Relationship

  1. Mirabella V.

    I really like your post! I’m a sucker for a good romance whether it is in a book or a movie so from the start a big pull of this book for me was the relationship between Nadia and Saeed. The dynamic between the two is very intriguing because while both are knowingly drifting apart from each other it seems that neither of them want to admit it or move on from each other. It will be very interesting to see what the future of their relationship will look like and what terms will they end on.

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  2. Molly H

    I like what you said about the different phases of Nadia and Saeed’s relationship. At the beginning, they were drawn towards one another and I think that the violence in their hometown brought them closer together. However, like you said, on page 107 Nadia sees a different and unpleasant side of Saeed. I am hoping that they will be able to continue their relationship because they have gone through a great deal together.

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  3. Audrey S

    I think their relationship resembles a modern day relationship of a traditional “honeymoon phase” into a more real connection, sometimes consisting of struggles and fights. Relationships are always hard once real problems come in, but at this point, I think their connection is strong enough to withstand anything that comes their way. I would not say they are perfect lovers, but they are there for each other and when all alone in another country, that is almost all you need.

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  4. AVA ECKMAN

    I don’t think that Saeed and Nadia will end up with each other later in life. I agree with Audrey that they were definitely in a honeymoon phase and they grew out of it as they moved around together. I think that their moving was (at the end) the only thing keeping the two of them together. At the end of the book it’s evident they’re on good terms and that they were able to move on in a healthy way. I think they still have a connection from all the events they endured together but nothing more than platonic at this point. Additionally, they each deserve different people that cater to their individual needs and that they were not those people for each other.

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  5. Abby S.

    It’s really interesting how the story shows how migration can effect a relationship between two people. Nadia and Saeed have been through so much together that it’s sad to me that they went their separate ways. I had initially thought that escaping your home country together could bring you closer together, but didn’t realize that there are aspects that can still bring you apart. I think they were so focused on surviving and not as focused as how they felt about each other. I agree with Ava that I don’t think they will end up together later in life, because with all the moving around they discovered new things about each other that were more friendship based rather than romantic. They definitely have a connection though with all the things they’ve been through together.

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  6. CAROLINE TURNER

    I love your explanation! As having finished the novel, I know that Nadia and Saeed do drift apart. However, in the end, they rekindle their relationship, but not romantically. I think their friendship is very genuine because even after spending fifty years apart, they meet again at the end of the novel. They meet with developed identities. This does not mean that their initial relationship, as you described before, had no meaning. I personally the experience they had, in your post, was essential to their discovery of themselves.

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