Throughout the novel Exit West, Saeed is influenced by many different people, altering the decisions he makes and the way he acts. Most notably, his love for Nadia pushes him to protect her at all costs, ensuring their prosperity together. However, Saeed is also influenced by his family, and his connection and longing for his parents throughout the novel. Saeed is pulled apart by his two devotions, and must make compromises.
Saeed truly cares about Nadia, and it is evident in his actions. For example, Saeed decides to leave his hometown with Nadia, because he cares about her safety. By doing this he is valuing Nadia over his family, as he is leaving his family in his hometown that is ravaged with war and revolt. He also will be unable to see and connect with his parents after leaving with Nadia. Hamid writes, “‘You go first,’ but Saeed, who had until then thought he would go first, to make sure it was safe for Nadia to follow, now changed his mind, thinking it possibly more dangerous for her to remain behind while he went through, and said, ‘no, she will.” (103). Clearly, Saeed is always thinking about Nadia, and how his decisions will impact her.
In addition, Saeed is impacted by his family, even though he is not with them. This is clearly seen in his devotion to prayer and how he feels connected to his family through praying every day. Hamid writes, “When he prayed he touched his parents, who could not otherwise be touched, and he touched a feeling that we are all children who lose our parents, all of us” (202). Undoubtedly, Saeed’s connection to his family is very strong.
Often people are forced to choose between devotion to a significant other and family, and this is a choice that Saeed has to deal with throughout the novel.