Together as The “Others”

The novel Exit West by Mohsin Hamid highlights the unity that forms among migrants. Hamid emphasizes the fact that it is not each individual migrant against the world, it is all migrants against the world. They form a bond, which is created by having similar struggles and lives that they need to leave behind. As Nadia and Saeed leave his father behind as they travel, it is described as, “When we migrate, we murder from our lives those we leave behind” (98). This is not a common occurrence, it is something tragic that connects those who can relate to it. Migrants leave their home, their family, their entire past life and often can never return.

Due to this connection through trauma, it is shown throughout the novel that migrants stick together and fight for each other. One example of this is when the police showed up to the house Nadia and Saeed were staying at with other migrants. The police asked them to leave the house until “Other people gathered on the street, other dark- and medium- and even light-skinned people” (128). These people bonded together and made a racket until the police decided to withdraw. This is an important event that shows the power of people of all different backgrounds and skin colors coming together and standing up for each other. Another example is when they have to decide what to do as people become more hostile and scared of the large groups of migrants coming in. One option included “A banding together of migrants…cutting across divisions of race or language or nation, for what did those division matter now” (155). This perfectly emphasizes how migrants do not fight for themselves, they fight for each other. They are all “others” in their new locations and their previous distinctions are put aside. The quote continues and states, “The only divisions that mattered now were between those who sought the right of passage and those who would deny them passage” (155). The migrants recognize that to survive and be successful, they must work together. This unity is present in Exit West and in the real world when migrants stand together as one against the rest of the world.

4 thoughts on “Together as The “Others”

  1. AVA ECKMAN

    I think it’s interesting that you highlight the unity of the migrants because I was not thinking of that when I read that part. I was more focused on Saeed and Nadia’s relationship but reading this post I see the significance in this part of the novel. It definitely can be connected to migrant issues today as well. When I read an article about migrant camps and how they build a community with one another is parallel to what is happening in those houses.

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  2. Willa S

    It’s pretty amazing what a common cause can do to unite people, I think that your point is really interesting. People can feel separated due to skin color, where they’re from, religion, all different sorts of differences. But going through a similar experience causes those differences to barely matter anymore. It’s really cool how that happens, and you pointing out how the migrants in Exit West banded together was the perfect example.

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  3. Danielle W

    Like what Ava said, I wasn’t thinking about the unity of the migrants when I was reading the novel; I was focused on the relationship between Saeed and Nadia. Thinking about it now, it’s kind of sad that it takes something like the trauma of being forced to flee your home to bring people together. Unity is a powerful thing, but it seems like it’s often the oppressed that come together more than anyone else. It would be nice to see the people with power trying to unite with those without it for a change.

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  4. Ella S

    I would just like to say this is very well written and flows together nicely. I agree with Ava and Danielle, I did not put unity together with the migrants. I tend to be a more literal reader and do not dive into the deeper meaning of the text. But now looking at it I realize that those traumatic events really do bring people together regardless of their backgrounds. Unity is a wonderful thing and can be used for many advantages.

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