Essay on Salman Rushdie's Midnight Children

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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
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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 long nose is seen as repulsive, snot-ridden and nuisance, yet as his power giving tool to help him converse telepathically with hundreds of other children in his mind. Saleem’s grandfather could smell when danger was approaching and this attribute, at least symbolically, has been inherited by Saleem in his later youth. Saleem’s nose also “sniffs out” the
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