Last Updated on July 9, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 335
As Saeed and Nadia move away from their home to one strange place after another, their love for each other grows stronger yet is also tested by the unfamiliar surroundings. The pain of moving away from their familiar but often hostile surroundings is only partially assuaged by the community...
(The entire section contains 335 words.)
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As Saeed and Nadia move away from their home to one strange place after another, their love for each other grows stronger yet is also tested by the unfamiliar surroundings. The pain of moving away from their familiar but often hostile surroundings is only partially assuaged by the community ties—always tenuous—that they forge in each new place they visit. Even in her initial move away from her family and their traditional beliefs, Nadia experiences dislocation as a female in a highly patriarchal society. While her relationship with Saeed is just budding in their home country, it develops further as they travel through the portals.
Love and Fidelity
As the two young students get to know each other and acknowledge their attraction, they also understand that the political and economic chaos in their city is pushing them, and many others like them, to act more quickly than they might otherwise, especially when random violence takes so many lives. These dramatic events encourage dramatic actions; Nadia takes the plunge and, defying her parents’ wishes, moves in with Saeed. The intensity of her commitment is rapidly increased by Saeed's father’s poignant plea that she use her love as an instrument of salvation for his son.
When the pair understands that they must flee the city, they open a door (or portal). The element of magical realism introduced at this point—and when other similar doors appear in future—eliminates the need for the physical travel that normally accompanies emigration. An initial move to Greece, where they get to know some people only to be displaced once again, and another to England only brings home the fragility of their connections to everyone, including each other. This series of doors, or "exits," ultimately take them to the edge of the Pacific in California—note that they are constantly going further west, as the title states. Although their conflicting desires challenge their devotion to one another and ultimately send them along different paths, the bond they forged proves durable.