Not an Other

In the media today, stories of migrants are written in a way that emphasizes their journey, their struggle, and the hardships they come from. Essentially, these stories do their best to create an “other”, to emphasis everything that makes migrants different from the person reading the story.

In Exit West, Mohsin Hamid takes a different approach. The book focuses heavily on relationships between people, particularly Saeed and Nadia, as well as familial relationships and the connections Saeed and Nadia make with different people as they traveled away from their home. Everyone has relationships of some sort with people in their lives, and so people reading this book, who most likely live in entirely different circumstances from Saeed and Nadia, are able to relate in that way. The use of doors as methods of traveling from place to place reduces the emphasis of the physical journey of a migrant and allows the reader the focus on what is more important: who the characters are and the connections they form with others.

Exit West combats the narrative of migrants as nothing more than a distinct “other” from non-migrants. It emphasizes the things that humans have in common, regardless of what part of the globe they are from.

2 thoughts on “Not an Other


    I agree with you Maggie Rose. I’m glad as a reader Hamid focused more on the aspect of their lives rather than the journey itself. While the journey is essential it takes away from the story about Nadia and Saeed and their relationship. The book reminds us that migrants are just like anyone else with families, houses, and friends.


  2. MIIKA F.

    I love your take on this! I wrote about a very similar idea and how Hamid’s use of doors is kind of like a portal of understanding migration. I think it helps us empathize and relate and lot more to the characters, good post!


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