Through life we face several challenges and struggles that lead us to grow as people and allow us to find our place in the world. One of the biggest struggles that some of us face is change. Some people love change, they see it as a new opportunity, new beginnings. As for others, change is scary because they are afraid of the outcome, the possibility of not being happy with their change. It is safe to say that people tend to settle and are satisfied with “okay” regardless of the possibility of something better out there for them. This novel does an amazing job of representing a change for the better.
It starts off with the two main characters who we just assume are going to be only the beginning of this beautiful love story. From a very beginning, you are able to see the different mentalities that these characters have. Saeed is very traditional as where Nadia, is fiercely independent, lives by herself even though she is not married which is totally inappropriate for a woman for where she is from and was actually cut off by her family because of it. So we are able to see a bit of the rebellion side of her. As chaos begins to unravel in their homeland, they escape and begin their search for a new home.
They make plans of marriage and being together, but little by little we begin to see that will not be the outcome. They begin to shift from being so into one another to just being indifferent towards one another as they migrate. You begin to see this shift when they are in Mykonos when Nadia finds herself feeling bitterness towards Saeed. “When she thought she had a glimpse in him in that moment was bitterness, and she had never seen bitterness in him before, not in all these months, not for one second.” (Hamid 108) This is only the beginning of the change that begins to unravel all around them as well as between them.
Through it all Nadia seemed to be the one that was far more open minded than Saeed when it came to change. Saeed was so focused on finding fellow countrymen in order to not feel so out of the ordinary. He wanted to “feel part of something, not just something spiritual, but something human, part of his group.” This is an example of how afraid he was of change. He kept reminiscing and trying to stick to his roots and beliefs. On the other hand, Nadia was completely open minded towards exploring new things and almost as if she just wanted to completely forget about her past or where it is that she came from. Which is normal for both of them to be responding to this big change in their life in that way. Saeed seems to be a bit more stuck in his ways and want to hold onto that part of him forever. Nadia wants to grow and prosper from this big step towards change. It almost seems as if she has not lost much. When in London, Nadia see the hatred that those people directed towards her and she responds in an understanding manner. Saeed then attempts to point out that several other people had gone to their country before they left, Nadia responds, “Our country was poor. We didn’t feel we had much to lose”(Hamid 158).
As the story goes on, their relationship growing weaker becomes obvious, yet they are both in denial towards this shift. “The fear of the severing of their tie, the end of the world they had built together, a world of shared experiences in which no one else would share” (Hamid 204). It was almost as if they were only holding on to one another due to the familiarity that they felt towards one another. They had both lived through so much and although that spark was not there anymore, it almost seemed impossible to let go. Which is a typical situation that a lot of people find themselves in, holding onto something because it seems familiar and maybe even a habit.
In reality, it was just a matter of them accepting the changes in their life, nothing was going to be the same and they had to adapt. In the end, it was not confirmed whether they actually ended up together or not. It is disappointing due to it not satisfying a hopeless romantic in this beautiful love story, but if anything it was the best for the both of them. To grow and not settle for one another due to the fact that they were seeking something different. Saeed wanted marriage and do everything properly as where Nadia wanted to be free and enjoy life, smoke a blunt when things got complicated and just go with the flow of life. The way that the story ends they are reminiscing on the past and in a way laugh about it. Nadia says, “Imagine how different life would be if I had agreed to marry you” and he responds with, “Imagine how different it would be if I had agreed to have sex with you”(Hamid 231). Both of them reminiscing and thinking what could have been, but accepting that they were better apart. They plan to meet someday, but it is not certain which was a perfect ending due to them not knowing what to expect with these changes they have each experienced in life.