Exit West

by

Mohsin Hamid

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An elderly migrant who lives in a mansion nearby the one Saeed and Nadia occupy in London. Like all of the other residents in his mansion, this man hails from Saeed and Nadia’s country. This ultimately attracts Saeed to him, since Saeed desperately wants to reconnect with his homeland, culture, and religion. Indeed, the bearded man provides Saeed with an outlet for this desire by leading prayers and even inviting him and Nadia to move into the mansion to be among fellow countrywomen and –men (a proposition Nadia shoots down because it would mean giving up their private room to live in communal spaces divided by gender). When rumors circulate that angry Britons are going to attack the refugee population, the bearded man advises his community to organize themselves according to “religious principals,” and though Saeed likes the sound of this, he also recognizes a certain dogmatic quality in such words—a quality that reminds him of the way the radical militants spoke while taking over his city.
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The Bearded Man Character Timeline in Exit West

The timeline below shows where the character The Bearded Man appears in Exit West. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 8
Love and Connection Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Escape Theme Icon
...part of this group.” For a painful moment, he thinks of his father, but a bearded man next to him distracts him by putting his arm around him and saying, “Brother would... (full context)
Borders, Division, and Fear Theme Icon
That night, Saeed tells Nadia what the bearded man said, framing it as “good news.” Nadia, though, is perplexed. “Why would we want to... (full context)
Love and Connection Theme Icon
Borders, Division, and Fear Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
...is the best idea, suspicious about surrendering completely. Saeed feels similarly, though he listens to the bearded man deliver a much different message to his countrymen. Indeed, the bearded man advocates “a banding... (full context)
Love and Connection Theme Icon
The bearded man gives Saeed a pistol from the house, which is full of guns. “In his heart... (full context)