Midnight's Children Salman Rushdie

1862 words 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…

Saleem claims that he is physically falling apart because his body is overrrun with cracks, and as a result, the past is spilling out of him. In addition to the narrative and physical fragmentation, India itself is fragmented. Torn apart by Partition, it is divided into two separate countries, India and Pakistan. New nationalities are created, and with them come new forms of cultural identity that reflect the constant strife and separation. Consequently, Saleem as well as the people affected by this division struggle to determine their identities. Even though Saleem’s identity is disintegrating, various characters play essential roles in helping him discover his true self. Saleem’s archrival Shiva is born at exactly the same moment as Saleem but is raised in poverty by a single father unlike Saleem who is raised in a loving, wealthy household. Blessed with a pair of strong knees and an amazing prowess in war, Shiva is named after the Indian god of destruction, whereas Saleem represents Brahma, the god of creation. The two boys represent violence and restraint respectively. However, Saleem acknowledges the ambiguity between good and evil and is able to mature from this realization. Born into poverty and nearly mutilated by his father in order to make a living, Shiva is as tragic as he is violent. His anger and affinity for destruction are inevitably