Everyone is a Migrant

Towards the end of Exit West, Hamid introduces a new character, an old woman from Palo Alto. The old woman has lived in the same house in Palo Alto her whole life and as she sees Palo Alto change over time, she starts to feel like an outsider. 

The community has changed so much that she doesn’t really leave her house. She feels like a migrant in the town she’s lived in her whole life. She’s seen new people move in and out of her neighborhood and doesn’t even bother trying to get to know them anymore. She loses her sense of belonging in the community. She compares this to the exclusion that comes with being a migrant. She has migrated through time.

I like how Hamid creates a connection between everyone. Migrants or not. It breaks down the traditional power dynamic that others migrants by pointing out something migrants and “natives” have in common.

2 thoughts on “Everyone is a Migrant

  1. MAEVE M

    I find it super interesting how Hamid put a spin on what we usually think of a migrant and “native.” Usually people think of these two words in the context of where you live/come from. However, Hamid points out how people can be migrants in other senses, and in the case of the old woman it’s a migrant in time. There are so many cases in which people feel like an outsider in their lives. It’s also interesting to think about how being a migrant by moving has a much more negative connotation though than other types of migrants.

    Like

  2. LG

    I love how you took the example Hamid gives of the lady from Palo Alto and drew a wider conclusion from it. Because the world, and culture, changes over time, the neighborhood became just as much a new world to the lady from Palo Alto as it was to the immigrants moving into the area.

    Like

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