Hamid’s Implementation of the Portal Forces Focus on Migrant Mentality

In Exit West, Mohsin Hamid emphasizes the mental struggle of migrants prominently. The idea of a refugee traveling thousands of miles from home, seeking a place to pursue happiness, only to be rejected by those who were there before them. It greatly displays the idea that humans as a species are selfish and unforgiving.  In doing so, he exposes the privilege we all hold from remaining where we are while even more so exposing the damage that migration does to those who bear it. Yet, he intentionally visualizes the internal effects on migrants through the very real story of main character’s Saeed and Nadia.

Hamid incorporates, through the use of doors as portals. Not regular doors, but doors that are a means of escape, a transportation system that simultaneously speeds the story of migration while also slowing down the significance of the journey. However, after encountering the doors time and time again, I began to believe that their purpose held much more than to be seen as a fantasy element. I believe that the doors never did exist, but more so Hamid uses them to take the focus on the story of migration off of migration itself. The physical occurrence of a migration is one thing, but through using the doors as portals, Hamid is able to focus more on the personal effects on Saeed and Nadia. There is more time to focus on how they feel about the strenuous act of migration, mentally, which is what I think the biggest problem is for migrants of the world.

In summary, Hamid addresses how difficult it can be for a refugee to have to leave their home and their family and the life that they are comfortable with. I think by exposing details like this, through the implementation of doors removing the physical aspect of migration, it helps the reader see refugees from a more personal perspective.

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