The Weight of Potential Regret

While reading Exit West it had a lot of similarities to the short film “La Loteria”. In “La Loteria” a man who just won the green card lottery must decide between going on his own and marrying his girlfriend so she can come with. Within the short 8 minute film, the couple grapples with their emotions for one another as they approach the date of their wedding. Ultimately, the two decide to get married so they can go to the United States.

Similarly, in Exit West Nadia and Saeed have to figure out if they should marry (65). Nadia, being put on the spot, must figure out if (or how much) she loves Saeed. Nadia ends up staying with Saeed and his father after the death of his mother, which leads to her and Saeed leaving together. At this point I think that Nadia has to convince herself that she is in love with Saeed so that she will not disappoint him or his father. The idea that she should not be with him would be too catastrophic to their current situation, and this is why she stays with him. Once they get to Marin, Nadia and Saeed both recognize that there are no repercussions if they were to separate at this point. Much like “La Loteria” their upcoming move is what is keeping them together not their love for each other.

A Migrant’s Journey

The protagonists of Exit West, allow readers to discover the journey that migrants have to face. Nadia and Saeed make the decision to leave their city to seek safety when a war breaks out. The novel states, “. . . for when we migrate, we murder from our lives those we leave behind.” (98). Nadia and Saeed realize that they can never return to their home and their family once they leave.

Their first stop after leaving their home is Mykonos, Greece. Nadia and Saeed expect to find safety there because there is no war taking place in Mykonos. They both state, “. . . they decided that Mykonos was indeed a beautiful place, and they could understand why people might come here. Sometimes they saw rough-looking groups of men and Saeed and Nadia were careful to keep their distance. . .” (113). Although they have left their old war-stricken home, they realize that Mykonos doesn’t provide them the safety that they require. While they have left their home for protection, they still have yet to discover safety.

Then Nadia and Saeed leave for London and find a nice home. Although they rest comfortably in their new city, they discover that violence follows them. Nadia and Saeed claim, “. . . but many of the migrants in dark London had taken to carrying knives and other weapons, being as they were in a stage of siege, and liable to be attacked by government forces at any time. . .” (150). The characters once again discover violence increasing between migrants and natives. Their search to find safety starts again, as they leave for a new home.

After moving to 2 different cities for shelter, they only find sanctuary when they reach Marin, San Francisco. The novel writes, “But there was nonetheless a spirit of a least intermittent optimism that refused entirely to die in Marin, perhaps because Marin was less violent than most of the places its residents had fled. . .” (194). Nadia and Saeed have finally completed their migration journey after visiting 2 different countries. They have finally found a decent home in Marin despite its flaws. Marin, San Francisco provides them safety even though its not wealthy. Nadia and Saeed have finally escaped the violence after a long journey.

Migrants struggle to make the decision to leave their home and family all for the sake of safety and a brighter future. Many people do not acknowledge the long journey of migration and that it is not a journey of point A to B. Migrants like Nadia and Saeed have to move from one country to another just to find a decent home. The journey for migrants is long and exhausting and Exit Novel highlights the struggle migrants goes through.