Stressful Circumstances

As many know stress can have many adverse effects on relationships, but it can also bring people closer. Mohsin Hamid does a great job illustrating how damaging stress can be on a relationship, but also how stressful circumstances can strengthen a relationship. Nadia and Saeed start off extremely passionate, always wanting to be together and meeting each other, “Nadia and Saeed began to meet during the day, typically for lunch…Saeed was certain he was in love. Nadia was not certain what exactly she was feeling, but she was certain it had force” (53-54). They are always together, enjoying each other’s company, and texting. As the story progresses we see Nadia and Saeed’s passion begin to fade seemingly as the result of the extreme circumstances they are forced into. After leaving home, going to Mykonos, and then traveling to London we begin to see Saeed and Nadia having disagreements and arguing, “She emerged from the bathroom wrapped in her towel..he said, looking at her, ‘you can’t stand here like that.’ ‘Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do.’ … they sep on the slender single bed together without speaking, without touching, or without touching more than the cramped space demanded, for this one night not unlike a couple that was long and unhappily married” (126-127). Both haven’t been comfortable for months, being in new places and in other people’s homes. Saeed is understandably worried because of this and both of their inability to relax has seemed to cause them to become irritable. Hamid’s depiction of the effect of the stress of migration on their relationship draws parallels between the effects of migration on families as well.

The way many people view migrants today is negative. We fail to see things from their point of view and consider the fact that they may have and probably don’t want to leave their home country. We fail to see the many adverse effects migration has on the people forced to do it. We don’t seem to understand that people are leaving out of necessity and not choice. They are forced to separate from their families and friends and yet many people make rude demeaning comments and hateful attacks against migrants. I think one of the main purposes of Hamid’s novel is to make a comment on the poor treatment of migrants and give people the ability to see their perspectives and allow us to understand the reality of many migrants’ situations.

3 thoughts on “Stressful Circumstances

  1. VERITY F.

    I never thought about it like this. I really liked how you discussed a stereotypical, negative emotion and emphasized its positives in a relationship. This is very well written!


  2. Caitlin C.

    When you think about it, the whole structure of the novel shows a migrant couple starting a relationship in one city and having their love wane as they are forced to leave for their own safety. Since we already know Saeed and Nadia and their relationship before they have to become migrants, it forces the reader to consider them (when they are migrants) as people, whether they want to or not, so your point about the objective of the novel is very true.


  3. Rachel C.

    Wow, I totally agree with your analysis on this topic within the novel. In some ways, Nadia and Saeed’s relationship flourished with the fear of the outside world, while also diminishing in passion and warmth. It shows that migrants experience the same situations as everyone else and they aren’t different, so not only is the mistreatment of them ignorant, but it’s also invalid.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s