Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Rei Magosaki, Ph.D., Chair
Joanna Levin, Ph.D.
Jan Osborn, Ph.D.
This thesis discusses the central concern of the global refugee crisis through the fictional novel Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. The novel tells the story of two protagonists who are portrayed as the modern subject that Hamid comes to humanize, which reflects on current society’s representation of the refugee as dehumanized or “the Other.” Hamid takes his readers on a journey that represents his characters as normal everyday humans that are forced into the process of refugeehood and displacement. Throughout this thesis, I discuss what makes the novel so unique in representing the modern-day refugee. In the first section titled “II. Humanization of Hamid’s Characters,” I discuss what distinguishes this novel from other forms of American Literature with its use of two central protagonists, the form and structure of the novel, the use of vignettes, magical realism, and its transition of privileged stable characters to displaced beings in the world. In the next section titled “III. The Role of Technology in Representing the Modern Subjects,” I discuss the subjectivity of Hamid’s main characters through their use of technology and the inevitable deterioration it brings to their homeland and each other. The thesis aims to highlight Exit West as a modern and effective representation of the global refugee crisis today, through the uses and growth of technology in the 21st century and its unique form of storytelling within U.S. fiction in representing the refugee as human. The goal of the novel and the paper is for readers to recognize refugee individuals as human beings.
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Gazazyan, Ani. Title: Humanization of the Refugee as the Modern Subject in Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West. 2023. Chapman University, MA Thesis. Chapman University Digital Commons, https://doi.org/10.36837/chapman.000464