Quotes

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Reviewed on June 12, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 399

It might seem odd that in cities teetering at the edge of the abyss young people still go to class—in this case an evening class on corporate identity and product branding—but that is the way of things, with cities as with life, for one moment we are pottering about our...

(The entire section contains 399 words.)

Unlock This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this Exit West study guide. You'll get access to all of the Exit West content, as well as access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

  • Summary
  • Themes
  • Characters
  • Analysis
  • Quotes
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
It might seem odd that in cities teetering at the edge of the abyss young people still go to class—in this case an evening class on corporate identity and product branding—but that is the way of things, with cities as with life, for one moment we are pottering about our errands as usual and the next we are dying, and our eternally impending ending does not put a stop to our transient beginnings and middles until the instant when it does.”
This passage, occurring near the beginning of Exit West, reminds us that even in countries that are afflicted by potentially ruinous violence, the routines of everyday life and, perhaps even more importantly, the attempts of young people to craft futures for themselves persist. The passage reflects upon the ironic proximity of the seemingly trivial minutiae of ordinary experience and world-shattering catastrophes. Here, the author meditates on the extent to which human imagination immerses itself in worldly details until "the instant" that the bearer of that imagination—the embodied person—no longer exists.
When she went out it seemed to her that she too had migrated, that everyone migrates, even if we stay in the same houses our whole lives, because we can’t help it. We are all migrants through time.
In this passage, the author suggests that the migratory sensibility is a property of human consciousness, rather than a phenomenon peculiar to migrants as such. Permanent residence is no guarantor of a sense of rootedness; rather, it may be a condition resulting from the senses of estrangement, fragility, and loss that tend to be attributed to migrants. The author singles out "time," temporality (implicitly), and mortality, as the reason why human beings feel ourselves to be merely passing through, as it were.
In this group, everyone was foreign, and so, in a sense, no one was.
This passage ponders the blurred boundaries between the "foreign," on the one hand, and the "native," on the other. In context, the passage describes a scene in which the protagonists of the book encounter a scene suggestive of a "refugee camp" in which everyone is a different shade of brown and in which countless languages from all over the world can be heard. What brings these people together are fires burning "inside upright oil drums." The human need for light and warmth transcends boundaries even as it blurs them.
Illustration of PDF document

Download Exit West Study Guide

Subscribe Now
Previous

Analysis