The Prophet's Hair by Salman Rushdie

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THE PROPHET’S HAIR
By
SALMAN RUSHDIE
(Summary/Analysis/Critique of a third world short story)

BY: ABDUL BASITH 00002172
course: ENG220 | 70B
professor: dr. SAMANTHA KULATHILAKE
date: JUNE 21, 2012
CONTENTS
1. Introduction ………………………………………………………………………

2. Summary …………………………………………………………………………...

3. Analysis ……………………………………………………………………………. * Plot
* Character
* Setting
* Point of view
* Symbolism
* Theme
* Style
* Tone
* Irony
* Post-Colonial perspective

4. Critique ……………………………………………………………………………..

5. Conclusion ………………………………………………………………………….

6. Bibliography…………………………………………………………………………

INTRODUCTION
The Prophet’s Hair is a Magical Realistic short story by the famed writer Salman Rushdie. Salman Rushdie is an Author, Novelist, Essayist and sometimes a critic. He is famous for his supreme narrative style where he blends myth and fantasy in a world of reality. This is described as “Magical Realism”. It is a literary genre in which the magical elements are injected in an otherwise realistic setting without breaking the narrative flow. (Pavlovski, 2012) The short story “The Prophet’s Hair” is also one such story permeated with metaphors on both small and large scale. This report aims in analyzing, and criticizing this story by studying the seven literary elements. Also this story will be perceived in a post-colonial concept. SUMMARY

Characters:
* Hashim: The protagonist. He is the father of Atta and Huma. * Atta: He is the son of Hashim.
* Huma: She is the daughter of Hashim.
* Sheik Sin: He is the thief whom Huma hires.

The prophet’s Hair is based on a story of the theft of the Prophet Muhammad’s Hair. Whoever comes into contact with this relic face miraculous or disastrous events. Hashim, the protagonist of this short story come upon this stolen hair accidentally. As greed consumes Hashim he does not return the relic. He justifies his act as a community service basing it on the Islamic views of deity. Thus Hashim turns into a religious hypocrite from a secular person. Suddenly Hashim turns into a controlling and arrogant rich man from a wonderful and kind person. Hashim’s son Atta knowing the truth about the hair steals it from his father and tries to return it to the mosque, but fails. Atta’s sister seeing that her dad keeps the hair with him all the time decides the sacred relic has to be stolen. She hires a thief to do this job hoping that they will be relieved from the curse once the hair is removed and returned. The thief steals the hair but things escalate drastically and Hashim kills his own daughter accidentally and the thief runs away with the hair. The thief is hunted down and shot by the police and the hair is safely returned. But, the thief’s four crippled sons and his blind wife have been miraculously cured due to their short contact with the relic. ANALYSIS

PLOT
Plot is “a plan or scheme to accomplish a purpose. In literature, this is the arrangement of events to achieve an intended effect consisting of a series of carefully devised and interrelated actions that progress through a struggle of opposing forces, called conflict, to a climax and a denouement. This is different from story or story line which is the order of events as they occur.” (Plot, 2000) The plot strategy employed in this story is somewhat similar to that of William Faulkner’s, “A rose for Emily.” Yet the events do not keep moving back and forth like it happens in “A rose for Emily”. Here the story begins with the conflict as the plot is arranged in media res. The conflict is presented so well with descriptions plotting the minute of details so that the scene becomes live with magnified effects. Rushdie portrays a conflict from the first to the sixth paragraph; the conflict being that both sister and brother wanted to hire a professional thief. The intensity of the conflict is reinforced when Huma returns to the same place to hire a thief even...
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