THE ESCAPE Summary The protagonist, Samir, is a 73-year-old Pakistani living in the UK. The story starts with him praying for his dead wife in a mosque in Longsight. His son dropped him off at the mosque and is supposed to pick him up. He bumps into an old friend, Manzoor, who invites him to his home, but Samir refuses because he is afraid of old memories and witnessing the intimacy between husband and wife. Samir's son is a sports manager, and he has a house with five bedrooms, but with his family gone and his wife's passing, all the joy has gone away. He seems very lonely and doesn't know what to do within an hour because later that day, his son is picking him up again. It is a very special religious day where there is usually a lot of food, but there is nothing on his kitchen table. A year ago, everyone was there, including his kids, daughters, and sons-in-law. He eats cornflakes instead of the traditional food. When his son arrives, he lets his father eat alone at home, but he could have accompanied him. The family gathered at his eldest daughter's house, and his grandson makes him smile, even though he misses his wife a lot and doesn't know how to cope with the situation. He tears up and does not search for contact with family. Samir announces that he wants to go back to Pakistan for a few months to visit his family. He notices that he called Pakistan home, and when he thinks about it, he is unsure whether that is the truth. Three days later, he left for Pakistan and is greeted by his family there at the airport. He visits his parents' graves and sobs, noticing how strange it would be to be buried on a whole different continent than his parents. His wife did some charitable work in Pakistan in a village which he visits. The story reveals that the English capital is not for him as he is very shy and uncomfortable every time he goes out. But at the same time, he feels uncomfortable in Pakistan as well, and the situation is very awkward. In a "Flashback," he began a knitwear business when he first came to Manchester and worked his way up to a point where he didn't have to worry about money anymore. In the "Present," he visits the family who his wife financially supported, and a woman cries over death, and eventually, Samir bursts out into tears as well. The family reminds him of how lonely he is back in the UK, living in his big house all alone. He offers to keep on supporting them financially in the future and leaves their home without being recognized or recognizing anyone. He leaves Pakistan after only a week. On the plane, he sits next to a man of his age called Ibrahim, and they have very similar lives and talk about why they visited their "homeland." It turns out they are unsure which one is the homeland. In the end, Samir says he wants to escape to the UK and to a new home, which is an elderly people's home. He leaves his five-bedroom home to his children and his savings for the family in Pakistan and calls the elderly people's home his home in the very end. Notes: - Younger generations (no direct immigrants) have better education (-> student at Harvard, sports manager). - Samir says "his family," which is also the family of his children, implies that they may not have a lot of contact with them and are far more integrated into the UK, and would definitely call the UK their home. - Samir can't identify where he really belongs. Pakistan is his origin, but he doesn't feel comfortable there because his parents are dead. His children (+) all live in the UK, but there he doesn't feel at home either. - Speaking English is hard for him, and he knows no one in the UK, whereas in Pakistan, he can utilize his mother tongue. - However, in Pakistan, he doesn't know a lot of people either because he left early, and when he visits the family, there's no one of his age and no one who recognizes him. - Both countries are so different: UK mostly white people, hardly "brown ones," very high buildings, lowers Samir's self-esteem. Pakistan: poor country, same ethnic group. - Example of immigrants who built themselves a new and very good life without having to worry about money, but they didn't fully arrive mentally in their new country and will forever miss a part of their origin, even though the country they moved to is economically more stable. - Even though he succeeded in having everything other refugees would dream of, he is empty inside (obviously worsened by his wife's death), but he doesn't feel comfortable at all. - He wanted to stay in Pakistan for a few months but returned to England much sooner, as he notices there is nothing that makes him happy, and he only continued his wife's charitable work and visited parents' graves. - His wife is more important to him than children because he keeps savings for Pakistanis. Samir is unfulfilled, lonely, hardworking, and dedicated, ambitious (escaped poverty), good-hearted and loving, emotional, traditional, and religious (praying).

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