Midnight's Children Salman Rushdie Essays

1868 Words Feb 25th, 2011 8 Pages
Midnight’s Children Awarded the Booker Prize in 1981, Midnight’s Children is Salman Rushdie’s most highly regarded work of fiction. Rushdie was born on June 19, 1947, and his birth occurred simultaneously with a particularly meaningful moment in Indian history. After almost one hundred years of colonial rule, the British occupation of India was coming to an end. Almost exactly three months after Rushdie’s birth, India gained its long-awaited independence at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947. Just as Rushdie was born during a revolutionary time period in Indian history, Saleem Sinai, the narrator and protagonist of the novel, is born at midnight, August 15, 1947, at the exact moment India achieved its independence from British …show more content…
However, the narrative implies that Saleem, in losing his sharp sense of smell, also loses the ability to communicate with the midnight’s children; thus, he becomes drained of hope and optimism along with India. His seemingly personal loss reverberates across the entire country since the Midnight’s Children’s Conference represented India’s potentially bright future. Finally, private and public histories become united and completely inseparable when Saleem claims that the war of 1965 occurred for two reasons: “because [he] dreamed Kashmir into the fantasies of our rules; furthermore, [because he] remained impure, and therefore the war was to separate [him] from [his] sins” (Rushdie 393). Once again, Saleem declares personal responsibility for large-scale, national events. Because Saleem equates his life path with that of India’s path as a new nation, his identity is forever associated with that of India.

Although Saleem seems to understand that his individuality is associated with the fate of the nation, his identity is physically and emotionally fragmented, hindering his ability to discover his true self. Rushdie’s writing style contributes to this feeling of fragmentation because the readers must piece together Saleem’s narrative to extract meaning from it. Saleem’s story, spread out over sixty-three years, is a fragmented narrative, oscillating back and forth between past and present
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