To me, Exit West seemed anticlimactic. The book was built as if it is the opposite of the traditional pyramid where there are smaller events that build up to the climax near the end of the novel then a small resolution to complete the story. Exit West seems to be built like the climax is at the beginning of the story, when Saeed and Nadia first leave their home country, and everything after that is them dealing with that first change in the story. Exit West seems to be built like the climax is at the beginning of the story, when Saeed and Nadia first leave their home country, and everything after that is them dealing with that first change in the story. Every new place they go is just another change in their lives that again uproot them and lead to Saeed and Nadia’s inevitable separation. I say “inevitable” because it is hinted at that they will separate during their trip to Mykonos and is very foreshadowed in London. Because of all this foreshadowing, the reader could predict the ending, making the actual ending to the book very anticlimactic. The ending was gentle and fitting to the story but when it comes down to it, nothing really happened that couldn’t already be predicted. The book has a strong emphasis on change and how change is okay and is a natural part of life and I thought the ending of the novel fit this theme very well.
What does it mean to be happy? What makes people happy? Most people will say that their family or their religion makes them happy but where did we get this attachment to these things? Does our family really make us happy or are we obligated to see them? Does our religion make us happy or are we obligated to worship something? Our society attaches value to our objects and relationships that really mean nothing because they simply make our limited lifespan more manageable for our brains, in terms of avoiding the inevitable. But by having all of these relationships, we do complicate our lives by having to navigate all these other people when in reality, these inevitable squabbles are pointless just like our relationships.
Meursault exemplifies this perfectly though his absolute lack of friendships or relationships. When Raymond asks Meursault if he would like to be “pals” with him, Meursault responds with “‘Yes’. I didn’t mind being his pal, and he seemed set on it,” (pg. 33). Meursault responds the same way when Marie asks him if he would like to marry her, always responding “We could if she wanted to,” (pg. 41). Meursault understands that he is here on this earth for a good time, not a long time so he doesn’t distract himself with useless relationships, unless they give him pleasure.
Meursault is a person who doesn’t give much thought to anything, not even his girlfriend. Marie asks Meursault if he wants to marry her and he simply responds with “We could if she wanted to” (41). Mearsault lives his life without doing anything of any substance and somehow get himself into dramatic situations. He never has an opinion about anything, always going with whatever the other party says should happen.
So is it better to not care about your own life? Is it better to never have to worry about your own opinion or anyone else’s because you simply don’t care enough? More specifically, does Meursault not care about life choices because he really has no opinion or does he just lack the energy to fight back or did he never even develop a sense of things he actually cares about? I wish to figure out this book.