Analysis Of Mohsin Hamid's Exit West

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While the cultural narrative divides refugees from nativists and finds reasons to bar refugees from entry to countries, Mohsin Hamid not only reveals the refugee perspective, but also questions the idea of nativism itself as a legitimate reason for division. While Exit West follows the story of Nadia and Saeed, it also includes the many other refugees that the couple run into, and the doors present opportunities not only for refugees fleeing war and persecution, but also for everyday people that are looking for a new place to go. In the main plotline, the couple meet and live with other refugees, but the subplots in each chapter – which break from any known characters and jump into a new story entirely – include the magical realism of the doors, …show more content…
Although this woman ostensibly has lived in this same house for her entire life, Hamid speaks of an emotional state of being at home, one which the migrants around her have achieved before her. Hamid’s statement that “even the homeless ones who spoke no English, more at home maybe because they were younger, and when she went out it seemed to her that she too migrated, that everyone migrates, even if we stay in the same houses our whole lives, because we can’t help it” (Hamid 209) questions the idea of nativity itself, even cleverly inserting that the homeless who spoke no English looked more at home than the woman, a statement that devalues nativism based on merit. Hamid then ends the story and chapter with his bold assertion that “we are all migrants through time” (Hamid 209), for even when not physically migrating like refugees, the woman was experiencing an emotional change that displaced her from feeling at home, ironically when the foreigners and homeless did feel at …show more content…
Hamid thus imagines a world with a type of travel that serves as an escape for the refugees, who are willing to go anywhere, not knowing their destination, as long as they are able to get out of their violent homeland that threatens them. While real-life refugees are also looking for any country that offers safety, they face hardship in being denied by governments aroused by the politics of nativism. Part of the hope in the doors is that it is the ability to travel without such terms or limitations, and gives access for escape to the people who truly need it, which Exit West asserts as not always having to be refugees. Other subplots include a suicidal man who finds happiness in the door that takes him to Namibia, and a Dutch man who meets a Brazilian man through the access of the doors which fosters love between the two. Hamid reveals the possibility that exists with these doors that connect people freely without the interference of nativism politics, of the positivity that can come with a more open, accepting world. It is not a fully perfect and conflict-free world that is present in the novel, though, and guards still defend the most sought-after doors that lead to the best places, barring migrants from ever having access to such

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