Being a migrant, presumptions and aspects of their being can typically be assumed, but the more perspectives one is able to obtain, the better their understanding and outlook can be formed to create a more equal recognition of the other beings. In the novel Exit West written by Mohsin Hamid, he narrates the story of migrants who are trying to escape from the violent conflict in their country. He represents the migrants, in general, in conflicting perspectives, showing them on one side of a situation, as powerful or the other, lacking power. Hamid describes the migrants’ reaction to the arsenal used by the military, stating that they “were frightening, because [the arsenal] suggested an unstoppable efficiency, an inhuman power” (154). Hamid puts forth the perspective of the government’s forces as the callous and brutal “predators”, who assert an overpowering threat upon the migrants who he shows as the weak and defenseless “prey”. Hamid’s depiction of the migrants’ dominant opponent, who, in teasing the migrants, initiates a feeling of dread and uneasiness for them, helped portray their lack of power and vulnerability against the government’s power.
When the migrants are narrated as powerful, Hamid writes, “[F]or armed resistance would likely lead to a slaughter, and nonviolence was surely their most potent response, shaming their attackers into civility” (154). A collaboration of ideas between the migrants in Saeed and Nadia’s neighborhood is arranged, they seek to protect their youths as well as their morals. The council determines that they will guilt their oppressors into realizing the unreasonable efforts of their attack. They are able to fight their opponents psychologically instead of physically, which they knew would fail in taking control and dominance of the situation as well as compromise their morals. In presenting these contrasting representations, it sheds light on experiences that diverge from the typical binary, adding to the unconventional perspective for migrants, and giving notice to the more authentic side of being a migrant.