Exit West


Mohsin Hamid

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Themes and Colors
Love and Connection Theme Icon
Borders, Division, and Fear Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Escape Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Exit West, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Love and Connection

The migrants in Exit West must navigate vast cultural rifts, both in the foreign countries to which they flee and amongst themselves. Saeed and Nadia find themselves needing to connect with refugees from other nations and cultures, a task made necessary by the fact that each encampment they join—first in Mykonos, then in London, and finally in Marin—is made up of people from all over the world. Establishing a sense of unity in these communities…

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Borders, Division, and Fear

The migrants in Exit West find themselves searching for safety despite constant threats from people who want to enforce borders, such as the radical militants in Saeed and Nadia’s city, who try to keep people from leaving, or the British government, which tries to rid London of refugees. Fortunately for Saeed and Nadia, the world has opened itself up in a mysterious but beautiful way, as doors are appearing that transport anyone who walks…

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Rather than mining the specifics of a given faith, in Exit West, Hamid explores the ways in which religious practice in general can influence an individual’s relationships, memories, and sense of self. Because the country where Saeed and Nadia live remains unnamed throughout the novel, the religion Saeed practices is also never identified (though certain elements, like calls to prayer, suggest that it is rooted in Islam). Nonetheless, religion brings itself to bear on…

read analysis of Religion
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The most obvious manifestation of the theme of escape in Exit West comes when Saeed and Nadia flee their city through one of the many mysterious portals that transport people all over the world. However, this is not the only way these characters escape their lives. In fact, Hamid showcases a handful of smaller forms of escape—like the use of technology or recreational drugs—that Saeed and Nadia indulge in order to distract themselves from their…

read analysis of Escape