The Afterlife

A lingering question among generations continues to be, “What happens after death?” and so he prayed as a lament, as a consolation, and as a hope” (203). Some say we go to heaven or hell and some say we are reincarnated into other organisms. Both of these theories are based on different religions, reincarnation originating from Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, and heaven coming from Christianity. Simultaneously, nonreligious people believe there isn’t one and we just decompose into the Earth, while life moves on. What if there was another thought of the afterlife? What if our loved ones keep us alive after we die? Whether it’s through prayer or memories, we continue to flourish despite our loss of breath.

In Exit West, Mohsin Hamid narrates the experience of losing a loved one as the uniting of humanity, “the temporary nature of our being-ness, and our shared sorrow” (203). Heartache affiliated with death unifies communities because everyone experiences it at least once in their lifetime. Some people go to funerals, some have services, and some pray; ways to heal from the pain of losing a loved one. Saeed prays for his parents, “as a gesture of love for what had gone and would go and could be loved in no other way… he prayed as a lament, as a consolation, and as a hope” (203). Prayer is utilized as a coping mechanism for Saeed’s grief over the death of his parents, specifically his father. “Young men pray for the goodness of the men who raised them, and Saeed was very much a young man of this mold” (202).

Saeed’s father’s soul continues to exist through Saeed’s prayer. He remains alive.

2 thoughts on “The Afterlife

  1. Sylvia G.

    I think that the description of loss in Exit West is very profound and important. I agree that there are many different ways loss is portrayed in different cultures, but it still unites us all. Saeed’s reaction to his fathers death is definetly on the more religious side. Your description of his father’s soul living on in Saeed’s prayers reminds me of Dia de Los Muertos, a tradition in a very different area of the world that still focuses on the death living through memory and appreciation of those gone.

    Liked by 1 person


    I think this piece you wrote makes us think about what it means to die. Do we die when our hearts stop beating, or when we get forgotten by time? Albert Camus, for example, is dead, but his ideas still live in classrooms, studies, and philosophy students’ minds and will do for decades, perhaps centuries, perhaps millenia if we get a really good internet storage system.


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