Examination of Salman Rushdie's "The Courter."

Topics: Television, Popular culture, Roy Orbison Pages: 2 (681 words) Published: October 24, 2005
POP-CULTURE REFERENCES IN CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE

Salman Rushdie's "The Courter." is an example of a story that uses popular culture references to address the events and the feelings of characters of a particular time. In "The Courter" Rushdie uses references of culture from the early 1960's, such as pop-songs, television shows, and movies, that help readers understand and relate to the characters of his story. These references are also of a historical orientation and help direct the time frame of the story. The style that Rushdie uses for each reference help give "The Courter" its own individuality and clarify the true essence of the time.

Of all the references in "The Courter" most of them have to do with music. Music is used to show and amplify the feelings of the characters whether it is a mention of an artist's name or the lyrics of an unforgettable song, Rushdie uses this as his main form of expression. To express the changes in his teenage body and his hormonal mindset towards teenage girls he uses love songs like, "Sherry" by the Four Seasons, and "It's Over" by Roy Orbison. He used music to express his loneliness and issues that related to the state that his family was in. "On the radio, people were always singing about the joys of being sixteen years old.....They certainly weren't in my neighborhood. London, W8 was Sam Cooke country that summer." Rushdie also makes reference to the artists that help express characters, and events that take place. "Outside Waverly House they were approached by two well-turned-out young men with Beatle haircuts and the buttoned-up, collarless jackets made popular by the band." The reference to the "Beatles" is to show that sometime you get what you least expected when encountering people. These "mobsters" prove to be more dangerous compared to the "Stones" who are less violent then they are portrayed. In connection with reference, in the sixties the "Stones" were considered the more dangerous ones....

References: IN CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE
Salman Rushdie 's "The Courter." is an example of a story that uses popular culture references to address the events and the feelings of characters of a particular time. In "The Courter" Rushdie uses references of culture from the early 1960 's, such as pop-songs, television shows, and movies, that help readers understand and relate to the characters of his story. These references are also of a historical orientation and help direct the time frame of the story. The style that Rushdie uses for each reference help give "The Courter" its own individuality and clarify the true essence of the time.
Of all the references in "The Courter" most of them have to do with music. Music is used to show and amplify the feelings of the characters whether it is a mention of an artist 's name or the lyrics of an unforgettable song, Rushdie uses this as his main form of expression. To express the changes in his teenage body and his hormonal mindset towards teenage girls he uses love songs like, "Sherry" by the Four Seasons, and "It 's Over" by Roy Orbison. He used music to express his loneliness and issues that related to the state that his family was in. "On the radio, people were always singing about the joys of being sixteen years old.....They certainly weren 't in my neighborhood. London, W8 was Sam Cooke country that summer." Rushdie also makes reference to the artists that help express characters, and events that take place. "Outside Waverly House they were approached by two well-turned-out young men with Beatle haircuts and the buttoned-up, collarless jackets made popular by the band." The reference to the "Beatles" is to show that sometime you get what you least expected when encountering people. These "mobsters" prove to be more dangerous compared to the "Stones" who are less violent then they are portrayed. In connection with reference, in the sixties the "Stones" were considered the more dangerous ones. It is easy to see that music played in a huge part of his life and through these references Rushdie is able to demonstrate its significance.
The importance of movie references in "The Courter" isn 't as great as the magnitude of the music references but is used to intensify the emotions that were present in the story. "Or was it that her heart, roped by two different loves, was being pulled both East and West, whinnying and rearing, like those movie horses being yanked this way by Clark Gable and that way by Montgomery Clift, and she knew that to live she would have to choose?" The way that Rushdie expresses the emotional distress present in Certainly- Mary with "The Misfits" scenario expresses the truths behind the emotion. These references help the characters become more humanistic and allow specific emotions to become associated with them.
Television shows and references help explain the time set that the story was placed in. The aspect of the television characters as well as the idea of the television, show the tremendous impact that television had on society in the sixties and the amount of excitement that surrounded it. The reason television was so important was because the majority of the population had a television set and it allowed people to relate with the characters portrayed onscreen, as well as with each other by watching the programs. "Once giggling, Mary confided to Mixed-up that Fred and Wilma reminded her of her Sahib and Begum Sahiba upstairs; at which the courter, matching her audaciousness, pointed first at Certainly-Mary and then at himself, grinned a wide gappy smile and said "Rubble." Rushdie uses television to explain the relationships between the characters and the way that they view themselves in the relationships.
Popular culture is very important within American society and Salman Rushdie expresses that throughout his writing so that readers can relate to the story with their own experiences. The popular culture is something that most people can relate to in one way or the other.
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