Throughout Exit West, Saeed and Nadia turn to their cellphones in order to connect not only with one another, but with the outside world. In fact, they get local numbers immediately upon arriving in Mykonos. This way, they don’t have to wait long before they can reach out to people they know, tell them they’ve made it through the doors safely, and access the internet. Sitting next to one another on the ground after setting up their tent, they scroll through the news on their phones and read about “the various routes and destinations migrants [are] taking and recommending to each other.” In this way, their cellphones become portals into a universe of information that is directly applicable to their current circumstances—an ethereal community of refugees that can communicate over vast distances without any hindrance, thereby transcending the borders that otherwise separate migrants from each other. However, Saeed and Nadia’s phones also help them to escape from everyday life and, eventually, from their relationship. Indeed, although they rely heavily upon text messaging in the early stages of their courtship to build their bond, it isn’t long before Saeed and Nadia willingly distract themselves from one another by peering at separate screens. As such, depending upon the context in which they’re used, these devices take on the dual power of uniting and separating, essentially representing the tenuous, fragile ways humans connect with or push each other away.
Cellphones Quotes in Exit West
Nadia and Saeed were, back then, always in possession of their phones. In their phones were antennas, and these antennas sniffed out an invisible world, as if by magic, a world that was all around them, and also nowhere, transporting them to places distant and near, and to places that had never been and would never be.