When people think of refugees, images of people taking long, difficult journeys to reach a new, better world pop into mind. And while the journeys refugees take are dangerous and amazing stories, that one trip does not define who these people are. The novel, Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid dives deep into the stories of refugees without a single mode of transportation mentioned. Hamid’s use of magical doors for refugees to walk through and end up in random, beautiful countries, stresses how society focusses on the least important part of a person’s journey to a new place.
The real story is how a migrant adjusts from their homeland to a new place with a different language, people, food, religion, and government. When Nadia and Saeed were adjusting to there new home in London after traveling through a door, “The fury of those nativists advocating wholesale slaughter was what struck Nadia most, and it struck her because it seemed so familiar, so much like the fury of the militants in her own city” (159). Hamid’s comparison of the struggles Nadia is facing while adjusting from her homeland that she was forced to leave to a new “safer” land, full of strange people that dislike her simply because she just moved in, creates a new perspective for readers. The readers realize that migrants are people that have faced hardship, they are not invading, but simply trying to adjust, and suspicious natives don’t make that transition any easier. It is challenging for people to travel across unruly waters, but the real challenge comes when those people have to fit into an alien world.