The Escape

This study guide will help you analyze the short story “The Escape” by Qaisra Shahraz. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it. 

Presentation of the text

Title: “The Escape” (2013)
Author: Qaisra Shahraz
Genre: Short story

Qaisra Shahraz  (1958) is a British-Pakistani novelist and journalist. She was born in Pakistan, and currently lives in Manchester, England. She has published three novels and several short stories. In 2020, she was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to gender equality and cultural learning. 


Here, you can read an extract from our study guide:

Social setting

The social setting of the story explores immigration. When Samir first arrives in London, he feels “anonymous” (p. 6, l. 38) in the big city and “intimidated by the huge buildings and mad evening traffic” (p. 6, l. 41). He only feels comfortable when he sees “brown faces, mainly Sikhs and Indians” (p. 6, ll. 41-42), which remind him of home. This suggests Samir experiences the uncomfortable effects of culture clash and finds it difficult to adjust to the new environment. 

The narrative also explores the poverty associated with being a newly arrived immigrant. For instance, Samir and his friend have to share a double bed, and Samir is cold at night (p. 6, ll. 32-36). He has to work overtime to earn enough money for him and his family (p. 7, ll. 14-15). He also has to take up “dull and demeaning work” (p. 7, l. 25), even if he is overqualified for it (p. 7, ll. 25-29). Rather than finding the work itself humiliating, Samir is embarrassed at what his father would say (p. 7, ll. 27-29). This suggests that an immigrant often has to take up menial jobs. 

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The Escape

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