Salman Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories Essay

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Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer once stated, “Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever.” This was a problem faced by Salman Rushdie. After years of suffering from writers block, he overcame his obstacles and published "Haroun and the Sea of Stories". It is not only a story for his son, but a proclamation of the triumph of the writer over the oppressive forces that sought to silence him. When read literally, the resolution of "Haroun and the Sea of Stories" is the defeat of Khattam-Shud as dictator. However, Rushdie’s true resolution is the conquest of freedom of speech over oppression. This is seen in how the characters’ …show more content…
He left the protection of the British government in 1988 after Iran officially renounced the fatwa. However, there is still a bounty of 5.8 million U.S. dollars for his head (Allingham). In "Haroun and the Sea of Stories", Khattam-shud is a metaphor for Ayatollah Khomeini and Rashid is a metaphor for Rushdie. Khomeini stifled Rushdie’s freedom of speech which caused him to develop writer’s block. He was forced to leave his family to go into hiding, which was the catalyst for his divorce. In the novel, Rashid experiences the same plights. He looses the Gift of Gab and his wife because of Mr. Sengupta, who is Khattam-Shud’s real-world counterpart (155). Khattam-Shud has a cult following called the Zipped Lips, who sew their lips shut as a visual opposition to speech (148). These are extremists, like the Muslim fundamentalists willing to carry out Khomeini’s fatwa. The majority of the Chupwalas do not believe in Khattam-Shud and are only afraid of him (132). Rushdie believes that most Muslims were only afraid of Khomeini, and there was only a small group of zealous extremists that endangered his life.

Many of the events from "Haroun and the Sea of Stories" seem like childish parables, however they are truly metaphors for freedom of speech. In the war between the Guppees and the Chupwalas, the uniforms of both sides include bulbous nose warmers (179). This clown-like attribute is used to mock the entire conflict between freedom of speech and
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