Types of Migration in Exit West

  1. Doors

Doors are the clearest form of migration in Exit West, as they are quite literally how Saeed, Nadia, and the other migrants are able to travel from one place to another. They connect the world, causing new cities, homes, and cultures to be born, speeding up the process of migration as we experience it now. 

  1. Technology

There is a clear focus on the connective power of technology in Exit West. Though one cannot physically move with a phone or a TV, technology still serves as a way in which citizens of Hamid’s world connect with and become a part of larger communities. This is how technology acts as a secondary form of migration — it allows people to travel, experience, and become a part of worlds outside their own. 

  1. Relationships

The relationships in Exit West change throughout the book. Nadia and Saeed leave their families, grow apart, and meet new people. Other families come together, like at the orphanage in Tijuana, or the two old men connected by doors. Such change in personal relationships can be seen as migration in how people are consistently forming new homes and communities with new people. 

  1. Time

In the era of constant global change seen in Exit West, physical locations everywhere undergo dramatic shifts over time. Nadia and Saeed’s hometown changed since their parents were young, became a place of turmoil, and calmed down. Cities break and form again because of rapid migration. Even natives are not immune to migration, as the world is changing through time. 

  1. Stars

Stars are a recurring motif in Exit West. Stars migrate through the sky, and eventually return to the same place, over a world changed. This is analogous to Saeed and Nadia’s experience. They moved throughout the world, together and then apart, and eventually returned to their hometown, different people in a different yet familiar community.