The Other in Her Homeland

Throughout Exit West, Nadia makes multiple points to talk about how her womanhood impacts her experience in her community. Even before her move to her new land as an immigrant, she feels as if she is seen as something nonhuman. Right at the beginning of the book, Saeed asks Nadia why she wears a conservative and concealing robe if she’s not religious. To this she responds: “So men don’t f**k with me,”(Chapter 1). Ending the first chapter with those words highlights to the reader just how much Nadia must watch herself in her home country. Because she is seen as a target for men, Nadia is seen as the other, even before leaving her city to go to Europe. Her experience as a woman has already forced her to watch her back, so unlike Saeed, the switch to a foreign land does not make her feel much more different or exiled. Nadia already lives in fear of what people will do to her because of how she looks- she is already the other in her own land.

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