The Beauty of Friendship

In Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, Nadia and Saeed continue to drift apart as they begin to build their new lives after leaving their home country. Eventually, once in Marin County, CA, they make an official break from each other and go on to live their own separate lives. Although this initially seems like it is a sad ending because the main characters don’t end up together, I think it was the perfect way to end the book. Realistically, not all couples end up together. Usually in novels when this happens, either someone dies or the characters end up hating each other once the relationship has ended. However, I think that the beauty of Nadia and Saeed’s relationship is that they still cared for and supported each other after the split. Just because they had broken up didn’t mean that they had to disappear from each others lives. In fact, after they first split, Nadia and Saeed met to go on walks and would communicate through text and phone calls because they wanted to ensure the other was okay. After a little while they wouldn’t talk on the phone or meet up as much until all communication completely stopped, but it still took them time to fully break off. There was also no malice in this break because it happened naturally and they both had their new lives to live. They had both cared so much for the other while in their relationship, so even though it had changed from being romantic to more platonic, they were still friends that wanted the best for the other. When they meet up about half a century later in their birth country, Saeed and Nadia found easy conversation “…for they were former lovers, and they had not wounded each other so deeply as to have lost their ability to find a rhythm together…” (230). I think that their reunion shows that even though they didn’t end up together, they still appreciate each other and are friends above all else.

3 thoughts on “The Beauty of Friendship

  1. Olivia M

    I think what you said about them caring so much about each other even though the split up is really true. I originally saw them splitting up as a really sad thing but I think you’re right by saying that the way they treated each other after they split shows how important they were to each other. I think you’re right when you say that that’s the beauty of their relationship.

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  2. ELEANOR R

    I think viewing the ending as a happy conclusion is really interesting. After reading this I was actually a little upset that they split but after looking a little deeper I have come to understand why this is a good thing. I think that the ability to adapt during difficult times is what allows people to move through different periods of their life. In Saeed and Nadia’s case, being able to find happiness in their separate lives shows how peace can be found in letting go of what is old and comfortable.

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  3. Michael D.

    I agree. While they could have ended up married, Nadia and Saeed are clearly still bonded through their shared experiences at the end of the novel. I do wish they stayed closer in contact, I think that would have been a better end to the story than just a random meeting 50 years later.

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