Exit West makes many readers, including me, think about how our society tells the stories of global others. Oftentimes, when people think about an immigrant, they see them as a global other before a human being. The media often strips the humanity away from migrant stories, making people see migrant journies as more of an entertaining story than someone’s life. The way that we acknowledge global others reminds me of the way people look under a microscope. When people look under a microscope, they study the specimen with fascination over how unique and different it is.
Similarly, I think that people treat migrant/immigrant stories with that same “other-worldly fascination” that you feel when looking under a microscope. The media treats migrant stories simply as fascinating action-packed tales instead of treating global others with humanity. Instead of regarding an immigrant/migrant as a person first, people often only acknowledge global others by their “other-worldly” migrant history.
The idea is clearly acknowledged in Exit West. By using the doors as a symbol for Saeed and Nadia’s journey, it makes the reader focus less on the actual process of migration and more on Saeed and Nadia themselves. This makes people focus on the humanity behind Saeed and Nadia’s story, not just their journey away from their home country. Hamid knows how people and the media can have a twisted fascination with migrant stories, so he used the doors to make sure readers don’t just focus on the migration aspect of the book.