We Are All Migrants

In Exit West, Nadia and Saeed are two very different people. Saeed is very religious and is more conservative, while Nadia is more modern and is not religious. As we move throughout the story we can see the differences between the two as Nadia rides a motorcycle, does not pray like Saeed, and wants to have sex with him before they are married. The two get along well together despite their differences but over time it seems they grow apart.

After leaving their country, both describe feeling tension and feel a coldness towards each other. At the same time, Nadia seems to be finding a part of herself she had been keeping down. To me, Nadia was obviously less traditional than Saeed and many other people, but she put on an act for the society she used to live in. After leaving her home, Nadia started to let more of herself show to others. The narrator describes how she thought of the girl she met in more than just a platonic way and was thinking of her romantically. Nadia and Saeed ended up going their separate ways. Saeed was comfortable with his own traditional beliefs but Nadia seemed to be discovering new things about herself in her new home and seemed to embrace herself more.

I think a huge part of this book is how traumatic events and change, in general, can change us, and even though it can be hard and painful, sometimes it is necessary to discover our true selves. Nadia needed to move on from her home country and even from Saeed in order to truly embrace herself. People and places are not always going to last forever, and sometimes they are just there for our journey, to guide us to the right path to finding happiness and love for ourselves and others. No matter if we are moving from one place, person, or time in our lives to another, we are all migrants searching for a home and searching for ourselves.

4 thoughts on “We Are All Migrants

  1. LAUREN F.

    I think change is an important part of life that allows people to explore what their true values are. The only problem is that some people find change frightening, i.e. Saeed. He specifically goes back to a more traditional woman from his own country. He is not the kind of person that enjoys change.


  2. Gigi D

    I love the final connection you made in the last paragraph. Nadia’s eagerness for new things in contrast to Saeed’s uncomfortable reaction to change is exposed and unable to be overcome in their relationship in the face of death. This connection back to every person being a migrant due to inevitable change in relationships and life events, regardless of change in location, was very intriguing.


  3. REID B.

    I agree with the connection you made about Nadia’s need for new things in while on the other hand Saeed’s uncomfortable reaction change is exposed. Nadias past and the feelings in her head often stirred the disagreements between the two


  4. charlotte g

    I like the connection you made at the end because Nadia and Saeed lost the land that they called home at the start of the book which follows them in hopes to find a new home. The idea that home can be a person and not a place is very important here, as well. Nadia finds her true love in the end and can consider wherever her partner is, is home. This also, to Nadia’s personality, isn’t the traditional way of perceiving what home is to most people. To most people, it means having a place to sleep every night with a roof over your head consistently, and people don’t always think about the people around them.


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