In the novel Exit West," Mohsin Hamid uses various writing styles and imaging techniques to bring forth the content of the story. He tells a story of migrants, Saeed and Nadia, who fall in love amidst a civil war and escape to Greece, England, and finally, to the United States from their unnamed origins in search of a better life. The two migrants get an opportunity in the United States where they settle and later separate due to their differences. Hamid occasionally uses long sentences, metaphors, magic, restrain among others both to achieve grand style in the story and to keep the reader glued to the story. His choice of words and techniques are useful and has enabled him to deliver the content of his storyline correctly to the reader.
The author has used a considerably forced narrative voice to tell the story (Motion). The tone is pure, and it leans on brutality so that every scene and conversation seem essential and dramatic (Motion). This sound is, undoubtedly, required in novels especially in the action ones to create that visual sense for the reader to imagine. Hamid has used that style in his story to describe the extreme way in which specific violent activities occur. He explains how Saeeds mother dies by saying, a stray heavy-caliber round passing through the windscreenand taking with it a quarter of her head (Hamid). The style captures the readers attention and gives them the dramatic touch so that they can imagine how it happens.
Hamid explores the use of magic (Motion). He has used this style to eliminate the plainness of the story and bring up a parable-like feature so that readers can think of the story as a form of a parable. He introduces the audience to the black door where Seed and Nadia escape. Through these doors, the two migrants move to Greece, England and finally to the United States where they look for a place to settle (Motion). Elements of science fiction are also brought up making the story enjoyable. Reasonably, the writer says that the doors could open either way to mean that even the citizens of the destination countries could go to the migrants origins (Nguyen). It is symbolical to engage the readers from the mentioned countries to be able to ask themselves why they should close doors for migrants when time may come when it is them who are migrants to the unmentioned countries (Nguyen).
He also incorporates metaphor in his writing. With the aim of achieving a story that is not plain-texted, Hamid uses metaphors to describe situations, and that keeps the reader engaged (Takami). He says, it was as if they were bats that had lost the use of their ears, and hence the ability to find things as flew in the dark (Hamid). He uses that statement to describe the fact that Saeed and Nadia can no longer use their cell phones for contact. It keeps the reader guessing the meanings of the use of words in the sentence.
As the story goes on, Hamid maintains the pattern of storytelling (Motion). He does not deviate from the narrative of the two migrants, Saeed and Nadia. Through the storytelling mechanism, Hamid entertains the audience, and at the same time, airs out the issues of national identity, social cohesion, and war that still occur in the world today (Motion). Towards the end of the story, the author resumes a quiet state. He concludes, and it gives him a platform to engage the reader to a considerate thinking when he states, it might be possible, in the face of death, to believe in humanitys potential to building a better world (Hamid). Through this tone, he is also able to deliver the message of the story to the intended audience.
The writer chose to shape the story to fit in the current refugee migration occurrences. Hamid seems to always write about political and emotional realities as seen in his previous works such as The Reluctant Fundamentalist of 2007 (Rashidi). The writer can shape the story to show the struggles that migrants pass through and perhaps his own migrations story from Pakistani to the US and England and the East again. The author writes the story at a time when the world is facing the current Mediterranean refugee crisis and Brexit (Rashidi) maybe to remind people of these happenings although humanity is told about them before they unfold.
Also, Hamid loads the sentences with emotions and various descriptive words which have enabled him to set moods and provide vivid images of what he is describing. However, they are precise and not overwritten towards the end (Rashidi). That style enables him to be clear in his expressions and the description of the story. He shows it when the relationship between Saeed and Nadia ends too abruptly (Rashidi). One would think that a relationship such as that of the two migrants would end gradually, but the writer chooses to use very few words to describe the breakup of the two. On the other hand, the artist might have used that because a gradual breakup would be unrecognized by the reader until it is finally done.
In conclusion, Mosin Hamid has used various styles and techniques in his novel Exit West to relay his message about refugee migration due to civil war and also to keep the audience glued to the story. That describes the content of his storyline. Therefore, from metaphors, fantasy, to storytelling, he has achieved his primary objective.
Hamid, Mohsin. Exit West. Penguin Books, 2017.
Motion, Andrew. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid review magic and violence in migrants tale. The Guardian, 2 March 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/mar/02/exit-west-mohsin-hamid-review-andrew-motion-migrants. Accessed on 8 Dec. 2017.
Nguyen, Thanh, Viet. A Refugee Crisis in a World of Open Doors. The New York Times, 20 March 2017. www.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/books/review/exit-west-mohsin-hamid.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FBook%20Reviews&action=click&contentCollection=books®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=7&pgtype=collection&mtrref=www.nytimes.com&_r=0. Accessed on 8 Dec. 2017
Rashidi, Yasmine. Caught Between Worlds. The New York Review of Books, 20 April 2013 www.nybooks.com/articles/2017/04/20/mohsin-hamid-caught-between-worlds/. Accessed on 8 Dec. 2017.
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