In the novel exit west by Moshin Hamid, Saeed and Nadia are the main characters and have to migrate from their birth country. They are faced with lots of emotional challenges that they have to overcome. Just like in the real world outside of this novel real people have gone through these same challenges. Such as leaving everyone they know behind in their birth country and migrating in search of better life. Challenges that shaped them into the adults they become at the end of the book.
In the book Saeed and Nadia meet up with an agent that will get them to a door so that they could leave their war zone country. When it was time to leave Saeed dad told him he wasn’t going to go. This made Saeed talk to him like he never had before and threatened his dad that he would carry him over his shoulders if he had too (Hamid95). Saeed dad didn’t want to leave because he wanted to be able to visit his wife’s grave. Plus he had realized that he had come to that point in a parent’s life when, if a flood arrives, one knows one must let go of one’s child, contrary to all the instincts one had when one was younger, because holding on can no longer offer child’s protection, it can only pull the child down, and threaten them with drowning, for the child is now stronger than the parent (Hamid 96). This is a real life challenge that real people are faced with in country’s that’s war is breaking out or countless other reasons that the younger generation have to migrate to be able to live a better life. Leaving young adults with a life changing choice that will scar them forever.
For Saeed and his dad talked about when things got better Saeed would come back to him but both men knew that this would never happen (Hamid 97). Saeed had a choice whether to leave his dad and survive or stay with him and die. That is a choice that would never which upon my worst enemy. But sadly this is a choice that a lot of humans are faced with. Conflict in the Middle East is driving millions of people from their homes: Estimates from the UN Refugee Agency suggest that more than 4 million Syrians are refugees, 50,000 more have sought asylum and at least 7 million more are internally displaced. In Iraq, near 2 million are displaced. One out of three residents in Lebanon and Jordan are refugees (Yale Global). Saeed father also called Nadia daughter as she also called him father and talked to her to before they left ,and told her to promise to stay with Saeed till they were at least until they were safe. She promised and they left.
Throughout the book after Saeed left their home country he has to overcome his decision that was to leave his dad behind. For example on page one hundred and twenty four in the book when they get to London and they have their own room and the first thing that Saeed does is take out a picture of his parents and places it on the book shelf. This is all he has to remember his parents, but the only thing that is keeping him from going back and seeing his dad is a door and the possibility that he won’t be able to make it back to London if he does. This is very true in the real world not just in this book, Mexico is the top origin country of the U.S. immigrant population. In 2016, 11.6 million immigrants living in the U.S. were from there, accounting for 26% of all U.S. immigrants (pew research).
The U.S and Mexico are right next to each other you could drive from Los Angeles, where most Mexican immigrants live, to Mexico City and less than 36 hours. These short 36 hours is keeping family members apart for a lifetime, because immigrants left their home country illegally when they were young not realizing the future consequences. Consequences such as having to pick whether to stay with their family in the states or going back home to see their living parents one last time before it their time go, but if they do there is a great chance they will not make it back to their family in the states. Just like Saeed they only have pictures to remind them of their parents.
Later on in the book after time has passed of them leaving their home country there is a noticeable change in both characters. Saeed has become more man like and not boyish any more as he had been working hard and had grown white hairs on his stubble. He started to pray more regularly and was drawn to people form his birth country and sought to strengthen his connection to his home country (Hamid 187). Saeed and Nadia started to loose feeling for each other and started to feel more or sister and brother relationship. They still stuck together for Saeed Nadia was her only close family he had and he valued family above all (Hamid 188). For Saeed after gone through all of this he had realized that we are all children who lose our parents, and that we will too be lost by those who come after us and loved us (hammid203). Saeed had overcome all emotional obstacles through his faith of his religion. He prayed more often but he had learned how to pray through his dad and his mom when they were still alive and he was much younger. For when he prayed he felt like he was able to touch his parents (Hamid 202). Nadia even though Saeed’s father wasn’t her father she still kept her promise and stayed with Saeed till they were in a safe place.
Saeed and Nadia had to take difficult chooses in the book and some chooses that changed their life’s completely. Family getting left behind so that they could have the chance of living a better life and untimely change them and their personalities. Some of the same challenges that most immigrants are faced with in the real world.
2015 YaleGlobal and the MacMillan Center
Pew Resech Center Key findings about U.S. immigrants, Gustavo Lopez, Kristen Bilaik 2018
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid