You Can’t Unlove

In Mohsin Hamid’s novel Exit West, he spends a quality amount of time discussing and showing Saeed and Nadia’s relationship in different ways to the reader. He does so in a way that makes us feel what they are going through and understand their emotions. While their connection begins very deep when they first start, there are factors that come into play that seem to distant their love for one another. Saeed develops as a character but also as a lover throughout this novel, going from being “certain he was in love” to considering his options of leaving. The two characters strive to keep their relationship fresh, promising to try to speak kinder to one another and distract themselves from reality, but as time went on even this began to fade.

When Saeed and Nadia started spending days apart from one another, taking time to do individual tasks, they seemed to have deeper connections and enjoy their time together more. This slowly led to them slipping away, just like many others during these hard times of war. Towards the end of the book, it is revealed that both characters moved on and found new significant others with whom they found love again. I understand how both in books and in the real world this happens, but in their case, we are clearly shown when they meet again 50 years later, their love will always be present, even in the slightest way. Basically, this is showing us that once you fall deeply in love with someone, in this case, Saeed and Nadia, their love will fade and maybe even get hidden by the presence of fresh relationships, but when they meet again they remember their experiences and feelings they once shared.

Expression Of Awareness

Meursault is characterized as an insensible and emotionless character. As we have seen in many examples throughout the book, this characterization is supported by his actions and thoughts. However, in the second part of the novel, Camus begins to reveal a bit more into Meursault’s internal conflict and reasoning. His awareness of topics can be very easily misinterpreted and I believe that he is misunderstood in many situations. From the first part of the novel, Meursault doesn’t seem to have weighted opinions on matters, but in part two when he is experiencing life in prison, he seems to be more aware of his surroundings and to details. This may be a factor that is simply revealing in his character, or that developed from his shift to life in prison, but in many instances he finds himself “noticing” things he previously wouldn’t have seen.

I think that Meursault’s way of interpreting events such as his mothers death is simply different than the stereotypical reactions one would have, and this seems so out of the ordinary to the judges and courtroom. The judge characterizes Meursault as “calm” because he didn’t cry at his mothers funeral. I understand how this may seem insensitive from the outside but everyone processes events differently and the fact that it was such a big factor in his case seemed unfair to me.

89 100 73

To Care or Not To Care

I think our initial exposure to Meursault begins and influences our perception on his character throughout the first six chapters. As we can tell, he is presented as a pretty odd character who doesn’t seem to feel or express many emotions at all. The few times he speaks up or develops relationships, they are out of the ordinary and pretty strange. In the first few lines of the novel, we can already see Meursault’s neutral feeling towards rather important matters. When reading the telegram about his mother’s passing, he immediately follows with “that doesn’t mean anything”(3), something one would normally have very differently feelings about.

Not only with his mother’s death and whole situation, but also with other characters and events does Meursault reveal his careless side. His interactions with Raymond support his characteristic of emotionless and different. When Raymond invites Meursault over for dinner, he accepts to stay, however, not out of excitement but because he “didn’t have any reason not to please him”(32). These examples just make his character so impersonal and don’t allow us to connect with him as a person or have any feelings associated with him.

Even more specifically and evidently is his relationship with Marie. Once again we are presented with his lack of effort and internal feelings even when he is around her. It is obvious that he enjoys her presence and activities they partake in, which complicates my view on their relationship when he is faced with the idea of marriage. His response to her sort of proposal is simply “It didn’t make any difference to me”(41). This somehow doesn’t surprise me because of how he’s been describes earlier in the book, but I see a little but of a problem if they are together and he has no feeling about marriage. Similarly when Marie asks if he loves her, his generic response comes to “it didn’t mean anything”(41).

I think that Meursault is an interesting character with still lots to still discover and unravel, but so far Camus efficiently projects him with an uninviting attitude and extremely neutral feeling towards basically anything that occurs to him or to others.