Daily Archives: October 2, 2019

page 57 of 231 of Exit West

Again he describes a place as having different times, and Nadia comments that she’s not sure if the photography (is it Thiery Legalt being referenced?) looks like the past, the present, or the future. And when the cell phone signals are cut, it’s like the past again, but a present past, a present past extending into the uncertain future. Same place, different time.

page 52 of 231 of Exit West

“Saeed prayed for peace and Saeed’s father prayed for Saeed and the preacher” prayed for the righteous to be victorious without indicating who that might be – typical. Or is it? How do we know who the righteous are? I mean it’s easy to tell when you’ve got nazi’s or something, but what about when it’s more subtle? Is everyone righteous or is nobody? Is there even such a thing?

page 47 of 231 of Exit West

Shame that the only time people often feel “a desire for peace, that peace should come for them all, for everyone, for everything, for we are so fragile, and so beautiful, and surely conflicts could be healed if others had experiences like this” is when we’re tripping on mushrooms. Imagine if we could do this sober? Or outside of art?

page 44 of 231 of Exit West

Wasn’t it a scene in An Unrestored Woman where one of the characters got in an accident with someone far wealthier than they and so they lay down in the street in absolute protestation for fear of what the retribution might be and meanwhile their daughter feels nothing but the shame in all of it. Similar scene here with Saeed nicking his car’s mirror on the “shiny black SUV”.

page 41 of 231 of Exit West

“tongues of a planet that would one day too be no more” – great line juxtaposed next to the section on how everyone uses a cell phone (though Saeed is far more conservative than Nadia). One day the planet will be silent – again, though maybe that day is coming sooner than what the producers intended.

page 34 of 231 of Exit West

Hamid is being quite clear about the coming tragedy, that people are going to die and that knowing this makes us feel all the more powerless than if it had been a surprise. But wouldn’t death, like that of her cousin being blown to literal bits have been a surprise, or is the author suggesting the people who live here should think a lot more carefully about the fact they could die at any time?

page 28 of 231 of Exit West

Funny seeing Saeed dress up as a woman to get into Nadia’s apartment. The trouble people will go through to be with each other – the more strict the rules the more elaborate the ruse.

Hamid is being careful to not rely on intertextuality such as naming the zero calorie beverage, the name of the dead Soul singer. I wonder why he’s doing this?

page 23 of 231 of Exit West

Is her “nonjudgmental female gynecologist” acquaintance providing her with birth control? Is this how Nadia is able to maintain independence- because the next line talks about dealing with men, aggressive men, aggressive men who were police so she’s talking about men and authority, and I imagine birth control in this country is even more unusual than a single woman living on her own?

page 22 of 231 of Exit West

Nadia’s family situation is like a precursor to what (might) happen to the city as it’s destroyed. She has no family, though the weight of carrying no family is greater than the weight of carrying a family. Funny how the loss of something makes it even greater. And all this because they are all too stubborn – family’s are like nations that way.

page 16 of 231 of Exit West

Mars, the god of war – no wonder they hear gunfire in the streets. Funny how you never think about people looking at the stars / planets through a telescope when you see images of Syria or Lebanon or Bosnia – all you see is what was once there, in the past, not the way things used to look, not like how we see the stars as they once were. One wonders what the stars look like right now.

page 13 of 231 of Exit West

The theater kept the name but was a new place yet was still the same place in a different time. He’s written about how time changes things, first how the bullets would speed up the crumbling facade in a day what would take decades, and now how the town has changed while still somehow being the same.

page 4 of 231 of Exit West

Is he paying closer attention to Nadia’s birthmark than he is the class on “corporate identity and product branding”? Funny too how this class sort of mirrors the fashion choices – how we brand ourselves is more important to us than how corporations brand themselves.

Add he ties this all into how we are always existing in the middle of life, unaware (willingly or not) to the fact life will end. Liminal.

Pain – has an Element of Blank

Simple Bodily Pain, 1785, Charles Le Brun
Background Image: Simple Bodily Pain, 1785, Charles Le Brun

Whereas “Pain” is all consuming of itself, it’s interesting how she describes it has having an “Element of Blank”, as if there are other elements which make up “Pain”. And what is this “Blank”? Usually it’s an absence which is unusual in that “Pain” is made up of a lack of something, a lack of some “Element” which is also “Infinite”.

Plato spoke of the Forms and the ancients were familiar with the elements (Water, Earth, Air, Fire), but I wonder if it ever occurred to them to think of “Pain” as a form? Perhaps, though Emily has identified what it is about “Pain” that makes it so hard to describe because it contains elements of a lack inside of itself. And if we keep with the Greeks, then anything that lacks means it is not a form because a form can lack nothing, only the imitations of things possess a lack, therefore “Pain” could not be a form. Thus “Pain” would be the absence of the forms, would mean that when we experience “Pain” we are as far away from the good, the beautiful, and the true as we can get.

Another interesting aspect of this poem is that Emily does not use the word “I” at all. She seems more interested in studying “Pain” the way a scientist or a philosopher might. She does not say ‘I am in pain and it sucks’, rather she places “Pain” in the poet’s petri dish and attempts to describe what this bugger is and what she sees is basically something that feeds only on itself whose “Future” is only more “Pain”. In effect she is separating herself from “Pain” (and “Pain” from herself) by describing at some outside force so in a way she has sort of got control of it because first she identifies that it is made up of “Blank” (a lack) and that it is something which exists independently of the “I” which means it can be mastered and contained and perhaps eliminated.

Yet on an emotional level we can identify with this poem because whenever we have experienced “Pain” we feel as if we become “Pain”, as if that all-consuming energy of being hurt truly does not seem as if it will ever end. And perhaps that is because it is so difficult to remove the “I” from “Pain” because as creatures with senses there is no other way for us to experience “Pain” – we can’t put it in a petri dish and poke it and electrify it and contain it, all we can do is deal with it.