“Not the first time this week that he had seen a group of Filipinos who seemed oddly clueless in his bit of town. He disliked Filipinos. They had their place, but they had to know their place.” 

The second moment involving the magic doors appears in Chapter Three, and, as this quotation reveals, the arrival of foreigners can generate a very harsh response from some individuals. The man in this scenario expresses racist sentiments right away without knowing anything about the two Filipina girls he sees come through the door. His quickness to pass judgment on them as a result of their cultural background alone highlights one of the dangers of nationalism, and this hostile attitude foreshadows the larger conflicts about identity that will occur later in the novel.

"Without borders nations appeared to be becoming somewhat illusory, and people were questioning what role they had to play. Many were arguing that smaller units made more sense, but others argued that smaller units could not defend themselves." 

This quotation, which appears in Chapter Eight, emphasizes the idea that nationhood is a manmade construct rather than an undeniable indicator of difference between people. The magic doors effectively create open international borders, and this freedom of movement allows the novels’ characters to view the world in a more wholistic way. While belonging to a larger nation may seem to promise safety in numbers, the outbreaks of violence that seem to follow Saeed and Nadia wherever they go suggest that no country can guarantee its citizens happiness and security.

“And yet it was not quite true to say there were almost no natives, nativeness being a relative matter, and many others considered themselves native to this country, by which they meant that they or their grandparents or the grandparents of their grandparents had been born on the strip of land that stretched from the mid-northern-Pacific to the mid-northern-Atlantic…” 

When Saeed and Nadia arrive in Marin, California in Chapter Ten, they observe that there are simultaneously very few “natives” and many people who would consider themselves “native” to the United States. This distinction calls into question what it really means to be native to a particular place, and for a diverse country like the US, Hamid seems to suggest that the term functions more as a justification for belonging rather than an accurate description of one’s ancestry.