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A Literary Essay Sample: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

4 pages
925 words
Wesleyan University
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In the novel "Exit West," Mohsin Hamid introduces his readers to two protagonists of the story, Saeed and Nadia. They fall in love, but because of a break out of civil war in their unnamed country, they are forced to migrate to Greece, England and finally to the United States of America in search for a better life (LeBlanc). Despite their need to be together, migration, political happenings, culture, religion, and economic factors influence their relationship. These conditions either break or make their love, even though they both have the desire to be in love with each other.

First, there is a culture of education. In the unnamed society where Saeed and Nadia originate. All members of the community value education; both Nadia and Saeed attend a class on corporate branding (Book Rags). It shows that the girl-child learning is also encouraged by the members of this society for the boy-child education. It is from this class session that Saeed and Nadia meet for the first time and they interact. Afterwards, the two start flirting and even go out for coffee and their relationship is built. Hence, it is evident that the culture of education is a significant contributor towards the growth of the affair between the two.

Secondly, there is a tendency of children having a rebellious attitude. Hamid narrates that Nadia has a rebellious behavior especially to her family (Book Rags). Arguably, there is a sense of indiscipline inhibited by children of this society. That problem causes a stir between Nadia and her family, and she decides to relocate to a studio apartment in the city by herself (Book Rags). Although it is inappropriate for her to fall out with her family, this chance enables her to stay alone and occasionally meet with Saeed. She invites Saeed to her house where they smoke weed and have good times. Saeed also at times brings her kerosene stove and some candles (Book Rags). This continuous interaction and spending time with each other builds their relationship as they can even hold hands in the house.

Also, the two soulmates live in a violent community. In the first case, Saeeds mother is shot in the head when she is in the car (LeBlanc). Facing this difficulty, Saeed and Nadia decide to leave the city to look for a safer place. In the second case, while they are in London, they are unwelcomed, together with other migrants, by the native-born citizens. In the process of wanting to regain their country, the natives plan a warfare and migrant massacre (Book Rags). These two incidences cause the relationship between Saeed and Nadia to be distant as they work for long hours. They still have the desire to be together and even move to the United States to repair their relationship, but this migration again causes them to be apart, and eventually, their connection fails, and they find other partners (Book Rags). Some may argue that if the migrations did not happen, they would have found a way to strengthen their relationship.

Also, regarding economic factors, Saeed and Nadia's relationship is put to the test. Nadia and Saeed both have professional jobs; the former works with insurance while the latter is a marketer (Book Rags). In the pursuit of their professional qualifications, they attend a business class where they meet (Schaub). From that day they start flirting and build their relationship. After migrating from their city, they reach London where they are forced to work at a construction site (Book Rags). The work is tough and runs for long hours, and it makes them grow distant; their relationship begins to deteriorate. The lovers, however, are still passionate about their love and decide to move to the United States to find a better place. In the US, Nadia is employed at a food co-operative to be stable economically. Due to lack of communication, they move apart, and Nadia starts seeing the firms female head cook and the relationship between Nadia and Saeed ends (Schaub).

The community in the story is also religious. Some people in that society embrace faith while others do not. Saeed is religious and event towards the end of the story, he becomes more and more spiritual and joins a local Christian group, he also gets into a relationship with the preachers daughter. Nadia, on the other hand, does not value religion and uses a robe meant for spiritual reasons only to scare away men (Book Rags). She also gets involved with a female cook where she was working- this is believed to be against the religious beliefs. Despite their difference in religion, their urge to be together is so high that they begin to date without considering religion- it does not affect their relationship. Therefore, Nadias disbelief in religion brings their love to an end.

In conclusion, the love relationship between Saeed and Nadia is strong at the beginning. Nonetheless, due to the circumstances, they face such as war and violence, economic factors, and migration, their love fails. However, education and work supports the existence of their love. Therefore, despite the urge to be in a relationship with someone, there must always be factors to affect the relationship.

Work Cited

Book Rags. Exit West: A Novel Summary & Study Guide,

LeBlanc, Lauren. Exit West': Novel's refugees find no easy home. 4 March 2017,

Schaub, Michael. Escaping A World on Fire in Exit West 1 March 2017,

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