Salman Rushdie's Midnight Children Essay

1545 words - 6 pages

Salman Rushdie's Midnight Children

Salman Rushdie is one of the greatest writers India has ever produced. Amongst the premier works of Rushdie, Midnight’s Children continues to be one of the best meta-fictional works of the postmodern era. Rushdie’s attempt to break the binary by using a different kind of narrative and play of words put him in the likes of American prodigies like Thomas Pynchon. Rushdie has marinated each line of his story with a web of words, abundance of allusions and a chutney of twists and turns.

Midnight’s Children is a story that refers to the children born within an hour of midnight on August 15th, 1947, when Independent India was born. The novel itself describes the history of Saleem Sinai’s life and origins; and because of his oddly synchronous birth, it is also a history of the fledging nation, up to and including the Emergency under Indira Gandhi and India’s first nuclear test. Another relevant plot of the story is that Saleem’s family has roots in Kashmir, the Muslim-majority Indian state that remains the biggest brogue under the nation’s veil. Rushdie skillfully portrays how, in India, myth and reality, are often intertwined. His use of figurative language, therefore, dramatically showcases the domestic and political lifestyles of the people living in post-colonial India.

Rushdie coherently makes use of various metaphors and symbols to aide his intentions of informing the readers about the major events while at the same time keeping them close with the everyday life of people.

The most predominant metaphor of Midnight’s Children is the making of chutney. Chutney is a sweet and spicy relish stirred and mixed with different vegetables, spices or meat items. Rushdie attempts to explain that the only way to preserve the variety of ingredients in the jars is the painstaking process involved in preparing the chutney. The idea of making a chutney or pickle also coincides with the idea of giving immortality. The fish, fruits and vegetables are hung embalmed in spice and vinegar after making them “dead” and changing its taste to an intensive degree. Thus, the metaphor of chutney also amalgamates the political as well as the domestic lifestyle of Indian people during the post-colonial India. In the story, Mary’s chutney ring familiar to grown up Saleem and thus brings him back to her after years of separation – where in becomes “pickler-in-chief.” The “grasshopper-green” chutney or the “guilty chutney” describes the intensity of “realms of life lost into time” (Towers 5). Thus, Chutney becomes a spicy mixture, mixed with emotions of the stirrer, and pickled food is preserved as the stories, remaining sluggish within the characters who tell their stories.

In the beginning of Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, doctor Adam Aziz’s nose releases a stream of metaphors -“plantain,” “vegetable,” “proboscissimus” whose bridge could cross a river. Later in the story, Saleem’s large and...

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