The Prolonged Ending

During the final pages of Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, We learn that the two main characters, Saeed and Nadia, end their relationship. Saeed and Nadia met in their home country while there was a relative sense of peace. As their relationship progressed the world around them seemed to deteriorate as militants slowly took over their city. The state continued to worsen until Saeed and Nadia decided to leave the country together leaving behind everything in their old lives including their families. Saeed and Nadia travel the world looking for a place to call home using mysterious portals called “doors”.

Saeed and Nadia’s relationship is more than just any romantic relationship. Their relationship represents their old way of life. When they leave their home country the only thing they have from their old life is each other. After their time in their country ends their relationship begins to end because they grow further apart from each other. The more distant they get from their old home, the more distant they get from each other. This is why Saeed and Nadia’s relationship represents their old lives and it was destined to end once they left their home.

The Trial of Meursault

On page 63, Meursault goes on trial for murdering the Arab man. But during the trial and the period before it, little, to no investigation of the crime itself is done. Meursault is asked to provide details of what happened and he says everything, including confessing to killing the Arab man. What people take the most interest in is Meursault’s character, especially his reaction to his mother’s death.

The trial then begins to become an investigation of Meursault himself, instead of a trial of his actions. The lawyer is puzzled by his lack of concern over his mother’s death. The lawyer becomes so frustrated with the situation that he waves a cross at Meursault screaming to him that he must repent. Meursault has no reaction to this and simply agrees with the lawyer, as to not have to listen to his speech about God.

After this confrontation with the Meursault, the lawyer and judge both accept that their efforts to change Meursault are futile and simply acknowledge that: “I have never seen a soul as hardened as your’s”. The judge also refers to Meursault as Monsieur Antichrist showing that they have lost all hope for him and perceive him as evil.

Does Meursault Care?

Throughout The Stranger by Albert Camus, it is implied that Meursealt is indifferent to his mother’s death. In the opening chapter Meurseault shows a lack of knowledge of his mother’s death, stating “Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know”. During his mother’s funeral he observes things such as; the weather, the screws on the coffin, and what the other people at the funeral are wearing. But throughout the funeral Meursault does not reflect on his mother’s death and does not even mourn. This leads the reader to believe that he does not care that his own mother has died.

However, in the final chapter when Meursault faces his execution, he has a true understanding about his perceived indifference to life. He thinks about all of his friendships and all his romantic relationships and realizes that they hold no inherent meaning to the universe. After doing this he thinks about his mother for the first time in a while. He relates his impending death to what Maman was feeling in the nursing home. He feels a sense of freedom as his death approaches and realizes that his mother must have felt that same comforting indifference of impending death. After realizing this he declares that; “Nobody, nobody had the right to cry over her.”

To me this shows that Meursault did love his mother and that a part of him was affected by her death. His lack of emotion was due to his indifference to the world but not because he didn’t care. He did not show emotion because he knew that his mother was at peace on her deathbed and therefor nobody should be sad for her. He realized that death is something and Maman was at peace in her final days. This gave Meursault the comfort to know that his mother did not suffer so neither should he.