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Subject two analyses
Posted by May
Posted on Sat Dec 12 05:17:05 1998
From IP h5.s125.ts30.hinet.net  

In the postmodern point of view, the word "history" can be questioned and challenged. The Indian history in
Midnigjht's Children is full of Saleem's subjective ideology, because he is too self-conscious during the process of
his writing. Saleem provides us with an alternative version of India's modern history from his point of view. In his
personal version of history, he uses a lot of Indian mythology, magic power, even the fairy tale beginning "once
upon a time" to make connections with the official history. History is treated by Rushdie as a fiction. On the suface,
Saleem is very self-centered about telling stories, but he in fact is quided by his listener Padma. Padma's interests
can make Saleem change the way he tells stories. Saleem even uses her facial expressions as his guide for writing.
Therefore, Midnight's Children just shows us a shattered, fragmentary Indian history. And Saleem's identity is as an
unreliable historian. This point of view also echoes with Lyotard's definition of postmodernity: He says the
postmodern mode calls for a recognition of multiplicity in the human condition and upholds heterogeneity and
respect for difference.
In the post-colonial analysis, self-identity is an important issue. Saleem's parentage is actually the illegitimate son of
the British colonizer, William Methwold, and an Indian street singer's wife Vanita. Therefore, his identity is split to
"Indain" as other, "British" as one. Saleem's search for his real father symbolizes the search for his origin and root.
But he fails. His final impotence symbolizes his fragmentary subjectivity. In the case of Aadam Aziz and Naseem's
love affair, we can see another colonial desire. Doctor Aziz who receives Western medical training symbolizes the
Western colonizer. When he inspects Naseem's body, we can see the masculine colonizer's gaze toward the colonized
(that is, Naseem's female body). And the perforated bedsheet indicates the difference between the East and the
West. But paradoxically, Doctor Aziz cannot get rid of his half root of Indian. His condition represents the Idian
young generation's problem. The Midnite-Confidential Club is established to solve this problem. But it is only a
mimicry of the West. The young generation still cannot find their self-identity there. Although India has seperated
from the British Empire, the colonizer's cultural imperialism still exists in the mind of the Indians.


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