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The Role of Narrator in Midnight's Children

In Midnight's Children, the role of narrator has its significance. First of all, his way of self-conscious (narrator "I") narration makes the text filled with the possibility of being evaluated and rewrote by the self-conscious narrator throughout the narration. In this regard, the text itself is organic and autonomous. On the other hand, through the process of considering the plots, self-negation, self doubted and making commands on his own narration, the narrator will not be fixed within one particular genra -- the narrative will stay on the realm of having speech and the art of narrative will not reach its end or dying out.

Secondly, Saleem's "sought for father" reveals some epic elements of Midnight's Children. The motive of searching for origins and beginnings (focusing on fathers, ancestors, founders of families, origins and beginnings) reveals Saleem's struggle to make himself and his country into a unified subject, to assert his lineage. In the very beginning of this novel it deals with not Saleem, but his grandfather Aziz which is emphasized on his western education and position as both easterner and westerner. Saleem's position is also ambiguous -- his own status is neither Indian nor Pakistani, but a composite figure. This floating identity has its so-called "migrancy aesthetics" -- to (dis)locate within the metropolis -- the condition of being exiled does not present as a painful experience for the artistic consciousness (eg, figures like Joyce's "A Portrait of a Young Artist" or Henry James's national theme"). The floating identity is "belonging everywhere by belonging nowhere" -- that's the way to keep a free-floating subject which is autonomous and individual.

The epic world shows us a "fixed past" which reflects the heroic national history or tradition, and then is untouched by the present. But in Midnight's children, we can see that the "fixed past" is undermined by the way that Rushdie's handling of history. That is, the link between Saleem's life and national history (using personal events to show the significance of historical events). So the past is not fixed. It is possible to change, to re-think, to re-evaluate anything in it. It is not conclusive and completed as a fact, an idea or a value.

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