Entering a Door – Exit West

In the novel Exit West, the author Mohsin Hamid uses doors as a way of transportation. In an interview with Hamid, he explains that a large reason on why he added this element, of long distance transportation through a door, into the story was to help the story focus on the before and after travel, and not on the actual transportation. The reader first experiences how a magical door works when Nadia enters one to leave the chaos of her hometown: “Nadia experienced a kind of extinguishing as she entered the blackness and a gasping struggle as she fought to exit it, and she felt cold and bruised and damp as she lay on the floor of the room at the other side, trembling and too spent to stand”(104). Nadia is repeatedly demonstrated as a strong-willed character previous to this event, but something about the transportation through a door weakens her, and then Saeed who follows behind her. This raises the question of why the door saps away the strength of a character.

I believe that if could mean several things but the following are my theories:

1) The effects felt by the characters are simply the effects of travel, as one is often tired and disorientated after traveling via airplane or on a road trip.

2) The effects felt by the character are a foreshadowing of where they will end up and the experiences they will have there.

3) The effects felt by the characters are a type of punishment for using shortened and easier travel, when regular travel is still available.

4) The effects felt by the characters are a side-effect of an experience they had when traveling through the door.

These are the theories that I thought made since. I believe there has to be some reasoning behind it as he could have easily made the process harmless, considering he created the idea.

Freedom vs Moral Rights

In the story The Stranger by Albert Camus the main character Meursault goes to jail for killing a man. For the first few months that he is in jail, he thinks about all of the freedoms he is missing. When he has a desire for women he complains to the guard that this was an unfair treatment. He responds by saying, “‘Well, yes-freedom, that’s why. They’ve taken away your freedom'”(78). Meursault agrees that this is makes sense and now understands. However, this raises the question on what should be considered a freedom and what should be considered a right. The law decides what is considered a right, but what makes the line the law draws correct? There is some question of funding, as the state can only provide a certain amount of things without going over their budget, but the main question is of morality. One could argue that prisoners deserve the bare minimum rights because they are horrible people, but not all prisoners commit morally incorrect crimes. There is a serious argument, and evidence to back it up, to be made that prisons do not help rehabilitate or change the viewpoint of prisoners, and that once they are released, they are more likely to commit another crime. If the rights in prison’s were improved it would cause less problems in prison and the rate of re-entry in prison would drop.

Morals and Emotions of Meursault

Meursault’s morals are misplaced because of his lack of ability to display and feel emotion. It is evident to the reader throughout the first six chapters that Meursault has little to no emotion. This is clear from the first moment in the story, where he is unbothered by his Maman’s death. It is later confirmed as not a weird occurrence when he is unable to know if he loves Marie or not, despite mentioning that he had previously had a crush on her.

Meursault’s lack of emotion leads him to have questionable morals in many circumstances. An example of this is his friend Raymond. When he first talks to Raymond over dinner at Raymond’s apartment, Raymond describes to him how he beat up his mistress. Raymond understands the stranger’s viewpoint on why he did so and decides to befriend the man, saying that he had no problem with being friends with him. A person with emotion in this situation would have felt bad for his mistress, leading them to dislike Raymond for beating up his mistress, even if she had cheated on him. However, because Meursault has no emotions, he is unable to make a correct moral decision and realize that Raymond is not a good person.

Additionally, Meursault displays this again when he shoots someone. The situation had already de-escalated and he was in little to no danger. He describes his urge to shoot him as a burning pain in his forehead that made him move forward. When he shot the man there was no emotion involved except him being slightly annoyed. After he killed the man it was clear it effected his morals, as he had no reaction and shot the man 4 more times.