The Versatility of Stories
Through Haroun Khalifa’s adventure on the story moon of Kahani, Salman Rushdie discloses to readers the value of stories that are not even true. In Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, the author illustrates how powerful and versatile fictional stories are to real life. From the colorful Ocean of the Streams of Stories to the conflicting Lands of Gup and Chup, Rushdie creates a world within the novel that undoubtedly and continually portrays the point of made-up tales to Haroun and readers.
During his journey, Haroun encounters many obstacles that test his strength as a character. The first major trial Rushdie challenges Haroun with is making a wish using the Wishwater. After Haroun’s failure, Iff the Water Genie attempts to mitigate his sorrow, stating that “ ‘cheering-up procedures to be instituted at once’ ” (71). He goes on to “ ‘give the lad a happy story to drink ’ ” (71). Iff’s first reaction in how to make Haroun cheerful again was to give him a story from the Ocean. Rushdie implies that the nature of stories is to make people feel joy. Rushdie also states that Rashid’s storytelling abilities were constantly sought after by political parties because he could bring a sense of trust and happiness to places where no one else could. Different political parties were always pinning after Rashid because he could sway the outcome of the political vote just by telling stories. Snooty Buttoo—a client of Rashid’s—says, “You will tell happy stories, praising stories, and the people will believe you, and be happy, and vote for me” (47), further buttressing the idea that stories can change emotions. The need for Rashid represents how fictional stories have the power to influence and inspire people.
Within the novel, Rushdie also fashions the Ocean of the Streams of Story indicative of the nature of story. The Ocean of the Streams of Story is “evidently a warm ocean” (68) and “Haroun could see steam rising off it” (68). The Ocean is...
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