Considering the disappointment from the class regarding the ending of the novel, I thought about what the love story as a whole brings to the common theme of the novel. The relationship between Saeed and Nadia adds an element of humanity in the story and serves as an analogy of why migrants immigrate in the first place. The couple embarked on a perilous journey, leaving their home behind to seek a better life, in hopes of marriage, and the desire to get to certain places in the world, together. The heartbreak of their relationship is a metaphor on how migrants struggle connecting with their partners in process of a cultural shock and social turmoil.
We both see Nadia and Saeed first hand as two strangers who overtime, made a romantic bond throughout the first few chapters of the story. Intimate moments were shared between the two in their hometown, as they share joints together, share a bed and ultimately having plans of marriage. As their homeland started to fall in social turmoil because of the civil war, their bond was put to the test as they travel from place to place seeking asylum. The author suggest that old bonds in process of migrating to different countries, can put their relationship to the test as they are forced to adapt socially whilst maintaining a healthy relationship as well.
We first see the downfall of the two lovers as Nadia was surprised to sense a feeling of bitterness towards Saeed when they were at Mykonos.
“What she thought she had glimpsed 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) Considering that the act of kissing was looked down upon in their homeland, causes Saeed to feel a disconnection with Nadia. The fact that they are both on foreign soil makes it harder for them to adjust and changes that displaced started to stress the frayed lovers.
As Saeed and Nadia went on teleporting through place to place, they disconnect indefinitely. During their time in Marin their bond is almost non existant. Saeed spent most of his time with his mind at home as he reminisce of his roots as he prays and befriends a preacher and his daughter. Nadia, on the other hand, tries her best to forget about her past and where she came from, which was emotionally opposite of Saeed’s. Both of them refuses to acknowledge the wall between them. “Neither talked much of drifting apart, not wanting to inflict a fear of abandonment, while also themselves quietly feeling that fear, 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) The couples refusal to “abandon” their relationship entails that their bond as an analogy to their past lives, as they both were from there. If they both go their seperate ways, their “world of shared experiences” will go with them as well, questioning their relationship’s importance.
Ultimately, Saeed and Nadia found each other again in their hometown, 5 decades later. Coincidentally meeting at the same town where they were born and raised and met each other, encompassing their love as they were torn from their own home and moving to foreign cultural communities impact our personal relationships that we have along the way. I personally liked the ending because I would love to believe they have rekindled their relationship in Chile.
Hamid, Moshin. Exit West. New York: Riverhead Books, 2017.