Midnight's Children

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 179
  • Published : October 8, 1999
Open Document
Text Preview
Salman Rushdie's novel Midnight's Children employs strategies which engage in an exploration of History, Nationalism and Hybridity. This essay will examine three passages from the novel which demonstrate these issues. Furthermore, it will explore why each passage is a good demonstration of these issues, how these issues apply to India in the novel, and how the novel critiques these concepts.

The passage from pages 37-38 effectively demonstrates the concept of history, as it foregrounds elements important to this issue. Rushdie, challenges the conventional modes of history through his self reflective narrative structure. The passage is a good demonstration of its topic as it illustrates the problems of re-writing history. His mode of writing attempts to encourage the reader to reconsider the valid interpretation of his history. Saleem writes "please believe that I am falling apart" ,as he begins "to crack like an old jug", illustrating a sense of fragmentation of his story. This parallels the narrative structure of the novel as being circular, discontinuous and digressive. This fragmentation appropriates the concept of history, which was developed by colonisers. History works for a particular class of ideology, and therefore it will be contaminated, oblique and subjective.

The ‘fictionality' of history is grounded in the simple assumption that life is shaped like a story. For Saleem, who is "buffeted by too much history", it is his memory which creates his own history. "Memory, as well as fruit, is being saved from the corruption of the clocks". This reflects back to concepts of time and place. Yet, for Rushdie, it is not based on the universal empty time that has been conceptualised by the colonisers. Notions of time and space are integrated into his own history.

The novel critiques concepts of history by challenging traditional conventions. Rushdie uses unreliable events to subvert official notions of history. For example, in his...
tracking img