Theme and message

Identity and belonging

A major theme in “The Escape” by Qaisra Shahraz is belonging. Especially after his wife’s death, Samir feels like he does not belong anywhere. The feeling is closely connected to the wish to “escape” to a better place where he will finally “belong.” Thus, the title of the story, “The Escape”, also illustrates the theme.

Samir’s entire life has been a constant journey to “escape” from one place to another. His first “escape” was from Pakistan to England, in search of a better life. Then, in England, he moved to London, Blackburn, and finally Manchester. After his wife’s death, he again feels the need to “escape” – this time back to Pakistan, which he now refers to as “home” (p. 4, ll. 3-7). However, Samir barely spends a week in Pakistan, before making his escape back “home”, to England (p. 11, l. 8). 

Samir’s feeling of not belonging anywhere is heightened by his large family, who never manage to make him feel welcome and included, despite trying their best to take care...

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