The Faces of Migration in Exit West

At first glance the magical doors in Exit West that transport those who enter to a new location seem to represent hope, freedom, and the breaking of boundaries. However, these portals are meant to represent the constant grapple that migrants are faced with when leaving their homeland. The hope for new opportunities contrasts with the fear and nostalgia of leaving home. Shown by the camps in Mykonos and the houses in London, upon arrival migrants struggle with alienation and the longing for connections in a place filled with people who appear different from themselves.  

The contradicting feelings on migration between Nadia and Saeed are representative of the yearning for new opportunities contrasted with the pain of leaving what is familiar and comfortable. In Nadia’s case, she embraces migration as a pathway to a new life whereas Saeed is more fearful about leaving his father behind in a potentially dangerous situation. Through Nadia and Saeed, Hamid portrays how migrants are swept up by seemingly mandatory migration both willingly and unwillingly. Hamid presents migration as an inevitable occurrence that should be embraced or at least accepted since it cannot be denied. 

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