The Chutnification of History as Postcolonialist Device in Midnight’s Children

Reality is a question of perspective; the further you get from the past,

the more concrete and plausible it seems -

but as you approach the present,

it inevitably seems

more and more

incredible.[1]

“Once upon a time, there were Radna and Krisna, and Rama and Sita, and Laila and Majnu; also (because we are not unaffected by the West) Romeo and Juliet, and Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn.”[2] What is striking about those words of Saleem Sinai is that characters from Indian culture, Indian religion and storytelling are intertwined with characters from Western drama and cinema.  Those are presented in the novel with post-colonial Indian history to examine the impact of these distinct cultures on Indian people.  It is in this sense that Midnight’s Children is a post-colonial text, via its presentation and examination of the temporal and cultural status of India as an independent nation.  This, as Edward Said writes, has been initiated in the text to portray the “conscious effort to enter into the discourse of Europe and the West, to mix with it, transform it, to make it acknowledge marginalised or suppressed or forgotten histories[3]

In attempting to make their voices more powerful, “writers from elsewhere,”[4] more specifically postcolonial writers like Salman Rushdi, have clearly borrowed some subversive strategies from postmodernist writers who likewise seek to subvert this totalitarianism of the West in an attempt to grant those systematically excluded from the centre the opportunity to tell their own forgotten and ignored stories.  Likewise, the narrator-author, Saleem Sinai, who is a representative of the post-colonial subject living in post-colonial India, is given voice through his attempts to write his story.  Angela McRobbie suggests that postmodernism heralds “the coming into being of those whose voices were historically drowned out by the (modernist) meta-narratives of mastery, which were in turn both patriarchal and imperialist.”[5]

On the literary plane, Postmodernism, which is referred to as an “incredulity towards metanarratives”[6] by Jean-François Lyotard, the most influential proponent of postmodernism par excellence, challenges those totalitarianist notions of the Enlightenment by using diverse strategies.  As opposed to those grand narratives, “[e]ach text, each little narrative, is a local, subversive struggle.”[7] Midnight’s Children employs some of those strategies in order to challenge those notions which see History as the one and only version of the past.  To achieve this, true to the spirit of postmodern fiction, the novel both uses and deconstructs Realist claims.

Postcolonialism has the somewhat same relationship to colonialism as postmodernism does to modernism.  Rather than signifying a time after colonialism, it covers all the culture affected by the rise of capitalism and the imperial process, and it challenges the Enlightenment narratives this has conceded to.  Edward Said, in his book, Orientalism, shows the distinction between the East and the West in the orientalist way of thinking.  Colonialism, as he avers, has created an Other to define itself as the centre and sees the world as defined in terms of the colonised and the coloniser, the margin and the centre.  He also propounds that the Westerners endeavoured to educate and thus control the “other” through some mediums, one of which was education, mainly literature, whereby the superiority of the West would be inculcated.  Colonialism, by employing Ideological State Apparatuses as defined by Louis Althusser, retains an unequal relation of power and “[i]t turns the Orient into something objectified, unknowable, feminised, dehistoricised, ripe for colonisation.”[8]

The novel is structured in the three-volume form of the classic nineteenth-century realist text, highlighting Rushdie’s awareness of his literary predecessors.  For instance, the name Dr. Aziz is used in reference to the Aziz of E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India. For Linda Hutcheon, such postmodern intertextuality is used

to put into question the authority of any act of writing by locating the discourses of both history and fiction within an ever-expanding intertextual network that mocks any notion of either single origin or simple causality.[9]

The story of the novel covers the three generations of Saleem Sinai’s family, the history of which parallels that of India’s.  But despite those seemingly Realist claims, the novel largely draws upon Indian myth and supernatural events.  Midnight’s children are endowed with magic powers, and the fairy tale opening “once upon a time”[10] is employed.  This formal technique of Magic Realism “(with its characteristic mingling of the fantastic and the realist) has been singled out by many critics as one of the points of conjunction of post-modernism and post-colonialism.”[11] The magic realist novel collapses traditional distinctions between the fantastic and the normal, the supernatural and the natural, the objective and the subjective, fact and fiction, which Malcolm Bradbury calls “factionality,” in an attempt to demonstrate how these spheres interact to determine private lives and national destinies.

The elements of Magic Realism that are easily discerned in the novel act as a device binding Indian culture of the past to the current cultural influences, thus complicating the binary between Indian and British identity.  Magic Realism in the novel involves the 1001 Indian children born in the hour of midnight, who possess distinct magical powers, the force of whose is greater the closer the child’s birth occurs to the stroke of twelve.  The most powerful among them are Saleem and Shiva.  A painful washing-chest accident and later a concussion through a bike accident ignite his gift of telepathy, owing to which, the 581 surviving members of the midnight’s children can communicate with each other through him.  Then in Pakistan, he can sniff out the lies with his strong sense of smell.  His alter ego and rival Shiva, has bulbous knees that give him the power of war.  Apart from them, Saleem’s sister, Brass Monkey, can talk to cats and birds, which is a legacy of his great-grandfather.  Tai Bibi, a prostitute, can alter her bodily odours to match those of anyone.

The postmodern text self-consciously reconstructs its relationship to what came before.  In the same way, Magic Realism distorts the power of historical reality and patriarchy but does not deny its power nor does it remove fiction from the political world.  The 1001 children are the alternative futures of India, as for Saleem “1001 is the number of night, of magic, of alternative realities – a number…  detested by politicians, for whom all alternative versions of the world are threats.”[12] Hence “the reality of fiction and the fictionality of reality coexist or clash in a world that the Rushdian anti-heroes [in this case, Saleem Sinai] watch as it unfolds towards folly and nothingness.”[13] This is postmodern parody, which is for Linda Hutcheon, “a value problematising, denaturalising form of acknowledging the history of representation.”[14]

In historiographic metafiction, another genre under which the novel can be placed, the conventional prepositions of writing history as unity, continuity and objectivity are challenged.  This is primarily done through an overtly controlling narrator who is not confident of his or her ability to know the past with any certainty, which is, for Linda Hutcheon, “not a transcending of history, but a problematised inscribing of subjectivity into history.”[15] Saleem Sinai, dying in a pickle factory near Bombay tells his tragic story.  He is born on the August 15th, 1947, the day of Indian independence from British rule so he feels he is “mysteriously handcuffed to history, my destinies indissolubly chained to those of my country.”[16] Saleem is duly destined to witness the fate of his country and thus he is responsible to weave the events into an autobiography.

Before Saleem is born, her mother Amina Sinai says that “the baby in my stomach stopped the clocks,”[17] which invites the reader to remember the novel Tristram Shandy.  Thus from this time on the fate of the nation is connected to this individual being and all the historical happenings take on a personal attitude.  As such, he is, along with the other children born at midnight, the child “of the time: fathered, you understand, by history.”[18] A letter from Jawaharlal Nehru, congratulating him on the accident of his birth at such an auspicious moment, encourages Saleem to see himself as an integral part of India’s story: “You are the newest bearer of that ancient face of India which is also eternally young.  We shall be watching over your life with closest attention; it will be, in a sense, the mirror of our own.”[19] From the onset, it is accentuated that the history he is going to unfold will become his story.  Thus, Salem, whose face imitates the map of India, becomes, in a sense, the text upon which India’s story is inscribed.

Michel Foucault accentuates the aspect of power in terms of how writing changes temporarily and culturally.  And his emphasis on power leads to questions concerning which discourses have been “historically” privileged, that is, which histories get told and by whom.  Unlike traditional History, contemporary histories deal with the interrogation of the past from ex-centric positions like from the subject positions of women, homosexuals, the colonised other and so on.  Saleem writes of his version of history:

I have been only the humblest of jugglers-with-facts…  in a country where the truth is what it is instructed to be, reality quite literally ceases to exist, so that everything becomes possible except what we are told is the case.[20]

Postmodern fiction suggests that to re-write or to represent the past in fiction and in history in all its arbitrariness is to open it up to the present and to prevent it from being conclusive and teleological.  It shows history an ideological construct.  “It openly fictionalises its own given history, and in the process subverts the concept of innocent historiography.”[21] Historiographic metafiction recognises the impossibility of imposing a single determinate meaning on history, on texts, on history-as-text.  Historiography is a poetic construct, as Saleem Sinai recognises:

Reality is a question of perspective…  Rereading my work, I discovered an error in chronology.  The assassination of Mahatma Gandhi occurs, in these pages, on the wrong date.  But I cannot say, now, what the actual sequence of events might have been; in my India, Gandhi will continue to die at the wrong time.

Does one error invalidate the entire fabric?  Am I so far gone, in my desperate need for meaning, that I’m prepared to distort everything – to rewrite the whole history of my times purely in order to place myself in a central role?[22]

Memory plays a large part in the process of re-creating the past as it not only magnifies and effaces real events but also creates its own truth.  Saleem the unreliable narrator inserts remembered truth rather than literal truth in his story.  According to Saleem, “Memory’s truth, because memory has its own special kind.  It selects, eliminates, alters, exaggerates, minimises, glorifies and vilifies also; but in the end it creates its own reality, its heterogeneous but usually coherent version of events.”[23] The concept of selectiveness underscores the fact that if silencing, excluding and absenting certain past events is possible, historians may as well have done that to exclude the others’ stories.

History, then, in Foucault’s terms, may become counter-memory, which is “the process of reading history against its grain, of taking an acknowledged active role in the interpretation of history rather than a passive, viewing role.”[24] Rather than simply chronicling history, counter-memory intervenes in the process.  This intervention is precisely the role of the historiographic metafictionist, who takes on an active role, and participates, questions and does the past.  A significant interference of Saleem is after his discovery that Commander Sabarmati’s wife cheats on the Commander with Homi Catrack.  He cuts up the newspaper and forms a letter to send it to the Commander.  This is his attempt to rearrange history to suit his needs.  His revenge starts a national crisis leading to the death of his uncle and many others including renowned figures in the history of the nation.

In short, the project of the historiographical metafictionist is the Foucauldian project of counter-memory.  The question historiographic metafiction posits then is not what the true history is, but rather, who presents what history, and who reads and interprets it toward what purpose.  By thus refusing the reader the illusion of a past or a history as the past or the history, historiographic metafiction serves to increase the reader’s awareness of the manipulation behind each perspective and presents the reader alternative histories.

Saleem, as befits the narrator of a historiographic metafiction, places himself at the centre, as either cause or effect, of great upheavals in the history of the new country: the war between India and Pakistan; the death of Nehru; the violence that culminated in the partition of the state of Bombay.  Everytime Saleem’s story moves to a different region something significant happens.  When they move to Pakistan with his mother, he loses his powers, signalling that there are not so many realities in Pakistan as in India, where there are multiple realities, since the nation is bound by the same religion principle.

Saleem’s insistence on his omnipotence and causality alerts the reader and subverts the chances for his/her acceptance of this singular perspective.  Here Saleem is telling that as an infant at the end of 1947

life in Bombay was as teeming, as manifold, as multitudinously shapeless as ever…  except that I had arrived; I was already beginning to take my place at the centre of the universe; and by the time I had finished, I would give meaning to it all.[25]

According to Padma, all the nation, as well as Saleem, suffers from the “Indian disease, this urge to encapsulate the whole of reality.”[26] There are several embodiments of this urge in the novel: As Lifafa Das, the peepshow man, walks the streets of Delhi displaying his vast collection of picture postcards cries out: “Come see everything, see the whole world, come see!”[27] The painter roommate of Nadir Khan wants to reproduce whole life in his paintings, which “had grown larger and larger as he tried to get the whole of life into his art.”[28] There is the spitoon of Rani of Cooch Naheen, in which mix the juices, without prejudice, of all religions, castes and classes.  Last but not least, there is Saleem, who wants to find out that history is whole:

there are so many stories to tell, too many, such an excess of intertwined lives events miracles places rumours, so dense a commingling of the improbable and the mundane!  I have been a swallower of lives; and to know me, just the one of me, you’ll have to swallow the lot as well.[29]

To “swallow a world” is the impossible challenge offered by historiographic metafiction.  It is from this perspective of containing the whole world that Rushdie, through Saleem, develops his attack on linearity.  Saleem first does this simply by pointing to the discontinuities of a story built out of fragments.  Saleem’s style is intentionally discontinuous, digressive and episodic:

Consumed multitudes are jostling and shoving inside me; and guided only by the memory of a large white bedsheet with a roughly circular hole some seven inches in diameter cut into the centre…  I must commence the business of remaking my life from the point at which it really began, some thirty-two years before anything as obvious, as present, as my clock-ridden, crime-stained birth.[30]

The above quotation introduces the theme of blurred remembrances which builds upon that of the “perforated sheet.”  Saleem’s grandfather Dr. Aadam Aziz first sees and falls in love with his future wife as a patient through a circular hole cut in a bedsheet.  As different parts of his patient needs attention, the hole is strategically placed over the afflicted area, hiding the rest.  Later on, his wife, too, will try to love him in fragments.  At one point in the novel, Saleem ponders on his inheritance and recalls how his grandparents’ perforated sheet “condemned [him] to see [his] own life – its meanings, its structures – in fragments also; so that by the time [he] understood it, it was far too late.”[31] The use of words like “hole,” “perforated sheet,” “cracking,” “disintegration,” and “drainage” signal the psychological disturbance of the protagonist and the narrator in the postmodern world of ultimate blackness and decay.

Padma’s relationship with Saleem in terms of readership discloses some insights about the storytelling and the process of writing of history.  Padma as Saleem’s necessary listener wants to know the truth and has an uncritical acceptance of the “reality” of Saleem’s characters.  Here, as Timothy Brennan suggests, “Padma’s lower-class impulses in art merely symbolise the fatal immaturity of her class in the struggle for a meaningful democracy on a legitimately ‘Indian’ terrain.”[32] When Padma gives Saleem’s characters an exaggerated significance, it is due to the fact that she resents any breaking of the narrative spell:

I must interrupt myself.  I wasn’t going to today because Padma has started getting irritated whenever my narration becomes self-conscious, whenever, like an incompetent puppeteer, I reveal the hands holding the strings.”[33]

Padma advocates, in lieu, “the world of linear narrative, the universe of what-happened next.”[34] On the contrary, being an illiterate, she is simply jealous of written words because Saleem dedicates more time to writing than to her, and she is unable to resuscitate his “other pencil.”[35] Then whilst Padma is Saleem’s reader and principal critic at times, she also stands for the Indian masses’ gullibility taking into consideration her naivity.  This parallelism is more apparent when one remembers the fact that Padma dismisses the past as so much “fancy talk,”[36] and that India is characterised in another place as an “amnesiac nation,”[37] or a “nation of forgetters.[38] And her gullibility is “part of the fictional status quo she represents, and is responsible for her failure to challenge the demagogy of India’s national leaders.”[39] Thus, even though Saleem points to the errors of memory that mar his work, the plot inconsistencies, the unreliability of his facts, he can still be confident that Padma and the people will believe him.  His writing thus becomes a process of imposing his vision on others, and he is opportunely able to conclude sardonically: “[i]n all literature, what actually happened is less important than what the author can manage to persuade his audience to believe.”[40]

A critique towards India is made in the embodiment of the members of the Midnight’s Children Conference, whose members are hailed as the alternative futures of India.  After decades of political debate and organising, they degenerate into the Midnight Confidential Club becoming “a mirror of the nation.”[41] This club, like Padma, represents people getting enmeshed in a world of immediate sensation, without interest in history: “Here you are in a world without faces and names; here people have no memories, families or past; here is for now.[42] The popular masses might have the numbers to alter history’s flow but they lack the initiative to do so whilst the isolated individual author is capable of making history by distorting the facts and rhetorically forcing others to believe in what he recounts.

On the one hand, Midnight’s Children fulfills Realist dictates by giving details, including lower–class characters, real referents, specific dates, and an individual hero who sees himself as an influence on and even cause of important events around him.  On the other hand, throughout the novel it is made clear that Realism cannot communicate reality in its insistence on a unified individual subject as prime mover of events.  In the same way as History and narrative are thus denied their traditional humanist functions, the male unified writing subject is decentred and splitting.  Saleem Sinai the protagonist suggests this quest for identity with the exclamation, “I must work fast, faster than Scheherazade, if I am to end up meaning – yes, meaning – something.  I admit it: above all things, I fear absurdity.”[43]

India is totally fragmented into parts like Saleem, and it is dificult to achieve homogeneity.  The central position Saleem wishes to occupy in history is constantly undermined, for his very identity, the single fixed identity which is apparently causing history to take a certain route, is, like India, fluid and various.  There is not a single Saleem as there is not a single India, but his multiple subjectivity is tied to the multiplicity of India, which splits to create Pakistan:

in a country where truth is what it is instructed to be, reality quite literally ceases to exist, so that everything becomes possible except what we are told is the case; and maybe this was the difference between my Indian childhood and Pakistani adolescence – that in the first I was beset by an infinity of alternative realities, while in the second I was adrift, disoriented, amid an equally infinite number of falsenesses, unrealities and lies.[44].

The most obvious manifestation of his decentred identity and its affinity with India is his physical cracking and splitting: he loses part of his finger, part of his scalp, and his body develops hairline cracks.  To borrow Michel Foucault’s language, Saleem’s body is exposed as “totally imprinted by history and history’s deconstruction of the body.”[45] Linda Hutcheon propounds that in Midnight’s Children, “nothing, not even the self’s physical body survives the instability caused by the rethinking of the past in non-developmental, non-continuous terms.”[46]

Saleem’s split identity is highlighted in the “Hit-the-Spitoon” section, where the narrative voice is heard begging the reader to believe him:

I mean quite simply that I have begun to crack all over like an old jug – that my poor body, singular, unlovely, buffeted by too much history, subjected to drainage above and drainage below, mutilated by doors, has started coming apart at the seams[47]

The novel as historiographic metafiction thus problematises the historical novel form, and shows history to be discontinuous, aleatory and fragmented just like his identity.  Naming is also a way of unifying and fixing identity.  And as Saleem says, “Re-naming is re-inventing.”[48] Characters are constantly being re-named by themselves or others: Nadir Khan becomes Lal Quasim and Quasim the Red.  Naseem Aziz becomes Reverend Mother, Mumtaz Aziz becomes Amina Sinai.  Mary Pereira changes her name to Mrs. Braganza and her sister Alice becomes Mrs. Fernandes.  Saleem’s sister Jamila is known as Brass Monkey, later when she becomes a singer, as Pakistan’s Angel and Bulbul-of-the-Faith.  Saleem himself is constantly re-named: “Snotnose, Stainface, Sniffer, Baldy, Piece-of-the-Moon.”[49] Moreover, when he tries to fix his identity and his fate through the etymology of his name, he is faced with multiplicity:

Sinai contains Ibn Sina, master magician, Sufi adept; and also Sin the moon…  But Sin is also the letter S, as sinuous as a snake…  Sinai, when in Roman script, though not in Nastaliq, is also the name of the place-of-revelation…  it is the name of the desert – of barrenness, infertility, dust; the name of the end.[50]

Like those now-forgotten rivals of the Prophet, Saleem is destined for the desert, for his name finally means barrenness.  When he goes to Pakistan, the land of the ritually pure, he undergoes an ironical purification in terms of the fact that he undergoes a temporary amnesia caused by a blow to his head in the bombing of Pakistan by India.  Saleem, who is now described as being fat and partially bald, becomes the Buddha and is inappropriate to Muslim Pakistan.

Saleem’s familial relationships, too, are ambiguous.  He was in fact born to Vanita and Wee Willie Winkie, not to Ahmad and Amina Sinai.  But his real father is an Englishman, William Methwold, for Vanita has had an extramarital relationship with him.  Saleem’s future ayah, in a private revolutionary act, takes the son of the poor Vanita and Willie and switches him with that of the wealthy Ahmad and Amina Sinai.  Then neither his name nor his family belong to him.

That Saleem’s emptiness is a gift of his grandfather to him introduces the notion of cyclical history.  The quest of Saleem to his inner self is his endeavour to find a meaning for his life which was shattered by religious, cultural and psychological splits.  Saleem’s grandfather experienced the same identity problem.  Having studied medicine in Heidelberg and having been unable to retain his Muslim faith, when Aadam Aziz turns back to his country, he cannot adapt himself to the traditional life and falls into a dilemma whilst, on the contrary, his wife, Reverend Mother, is a fortress of traditions and gives religious instructions.  Saleem, “an illegitimate [and] half-English pretender,”[51] lives with his family on the Methwold estate in Bombay.  Much as Saleem was grown up in India, this time he is disturbed by the split of his fellow citizens through language, religion, race, added to this is the ongoing English impact on the cultural sphere and the interference of other countries in the internal political affairs of the country.

History once more repeats itself in the form of Ganesh, the son of Parvati and Hinduism’s great god Shiva.  In the concluding chapter Saleem’s son, Aadam Sinai, who is also born at midnight, is described as “the true son of Shiva-and-Parvati”…  [the] elephant-headed Ganesh”[52] as his grandfather was.  Ganesh is a god of good fortune and a sign of fertility in a novel full of impotence and illegitimacy.  Ganesh’s influence envelops the entire novel.  In the opening pages Saleem’s grandfather Aadam Aziz is said to have a nose “comparable only to the trunk of the elephant-headed Ganesh,”[53] which is said to make him, ironically, into an inconvertible patriarch.  When Saleem marries Parvati, he will become the father of this baby.  So as he was not the true child of Ahmad and Amina Sinai, this child does not belong to him yet he is the true grandson of Saleem’s parents.

In a novel that expresses national destiny in the form of family lineages, Ganesh is then a symbol of the continuity of generations in that it is only Aadam Sinai who carries the lineage of the Midnight’s Children into the second generation.  He is the only second-generation baby of Indian independence, since all the surviving Midnight’s Children were made to have an operation whereby they were stripped of their magic gifts during the Indian Emergency.

On the one hand, Ganesh is a promise for the future, but on the other hand he is an end of the line.  The baby is silent all the time, is sick of tuberculosis, which is a metaphor for the next generation of India that will be a victim to the chaotic conditions in the country.  Then the baby does not have a fixed identity, either.  This baby has both qualities that apply to Aadam Aziz, the patriarch of the Westernised Indian, and to Ahmad Sinai, the beginning of the end.  And it is significant that the first word uttered by him is “Abracadabra,” which has a magical connotation.  This is a metaphor for the whole book in which all things were connected to reality in a magical way.

As the novel progresses, Saleem learns the techniques of pickling from Padma, displayed throughout his tale by her boiling pots of chutney.  As he records Indian history for posterity, each new chapter is pickled in a jar he methodically adds to the shelf beside his desk.  Each pickle jar is named after each chapter.  Midnight’s Children as a whole thus becomes what he terms a “chutnification of history.”[54] Saleem himself likens the process of writing history to that of pickling:

I reconcile myself to the inevitable distortions of the pickling process.  To pickle is to give immortality, after all: fish, vegetables, fruit hang embalmed in spice-and-vinegar; a certain alteration, a slight intensification of taste is a small matter, surely?  The art is to change the flavour in degree, but not in kind; and above all to give it shape and form – that is to say meaning.[55]

This very quotation encapsulates the whole of the novel.  Historiography is immortalised but is critically reconsidered and altered.  The constructed narrative of the West is shown with supernatural qualities so that it subverts its own tools; thus the novel by and large seems to echo the words of the critic John Berger, who said “Never again will a single story be told as if there were only one.”[56]

The novel employs a magic realist device emphasising the continued struggle to come to terms with identity within the polarities of the post-colonial.  Saleem writes that the children can be hailed as

the last throw of everything antiquated and retrogressive in our myth ridden nation [myth perhaps referring to the more negative influence of Western as well as Indian fictions]…  or as the true hope of freedom.[57]

This freedom, at the end of the text, is described as being now forever extinguished, which implies that Saleem’s generation has failed to avail themselves of the possibilities inherent in independence.  Saleem is doomed to failure and he feels himself drained.  The text is a post-colonial narrative showing all the contradictions and dilemmas of the colonial past, inherent in the subjective experiences of a protagonist.  There is no solution proposed but a wish is expressed true to the postmodern spirit:

One day, perhaps, the world may taste the pickles of history.  They may be too strong for some palates, their smell may be overpowering, tears may rise to eyes; I hope nevertheless that it will be possible to say of them that they possess the authentic taste of truth…  that they are, despite everything, acts of love.[58]

In this postmodern world, where media links cultures, there may be no such thing as a single national identity, but an interchange of cultures between all cultures.  This ambiguity is accentuated in the final sentence of the text, which links magic with realism, the individual with history, the individual and regional identity and with that of the universal: “it is the privilege of midnight’s children to be both masters and victims of their times, to forsake privacy and be sucked into the annihilating whirlpool of the multitudes, and be unable to live or die in peace.”[59] Rushdie thus weaves a text that fuses tradition and contemporary multicultural interface to create an open-ended post-colonial discourse.

Bibliography:

Brennan, Timothy. Salman Rushdie and the Third World. New York: St. Martin Press, 1989.

Foucault, Michel. Language, Counter-Memory, Practice. Trans. D. F. Bouchard and S. Simon. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1977.

Hutcheon, Linda. A Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory, Fiction. New York and London: Routledge, 1988.

–. “‘The Pastime of Past Time’: Fiction, History, Historiographic Metafiction” in Postmodern Genres. Ed. Marjorie Perloff. Norman and London: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989.

–. “Circling the Downspout of Empire” in The Post-colonial Studies Reader. Ed. Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin. London: Routledge, 1995.

Kershner, R. B. The Twentieth-Century Novel: An Introduction. Boston and New York: Bedford Books, 1997.

Lyotard, Jean-François. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Trans. Geoff Benington and Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984.

Maferlotti, Stefano. “Writers from Elsewhere” in The Post-colonial Question: Common Skies, Divided Horizons. Ed. Iain Chambers and Lidia Curti. London and New York: Routledge, 1996.

Marshall, Brenda K. Teaching the Postmodern: Fiction and Theory. New York and London: Routledge, 1992.

McRobbie, Angela. “Postmodernism and Popular Culture” in Postmodernism. Ed. Lisa Appignanesi. London: ICA, 1986.

Rushdie, Salman. Midnight’s Children. London: Vintage, 1995.

Said, Edward W. Culture and Imperialism. London: Vintage, 1994.


[1] Salman Rushdie. Midnight’s Children (London: Vintage, 1995). p. 165.

[2] ibid., p. 259.

[3] Edward W. Said. Culture and Imperialism. (London: Vintage, 1994). p. 260. [my italics]

[4] Salman Rushdie has used this definition to refer to those contemporary writers who have chosen the English language as their means of expression, albeit not having been born into that language.

[5] Angela McRobbie. “Postmodernism and Popular Culture” in Postmodernism. Ed. Lisa Appignanesi (London: ICA, 1986). p. 55.

[6] Jean-François Lyotard. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Trans. Geoff Benington and Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984). p. 23.

[7] Brenda K. Marshall. Teaching the Postmodern: Fiction and Theory (New York and London: Routledge, 1992). p. 176.

[8] R. B. Kershner, The Twentieth-Century Novel: An Introduction (Boston and New York: Bedford Books). p. 85.

[9] Linda Hutcheon. A Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory, Fiction (New York and London: Routledge, 1988). p. 129.

[10] Salman Rushdie. p. 9.

[11] Linda Hutcheon. “Circling the Downspout of Empire.” p. 131.

[12] Salman Rushdie. p. 217.

[13] Stefano Maferlotti. “Writers from Elsewhere” in The Post-colonial Question: Common Skies, Divided Horizons. Ed. Iain Chambers and Lidia Curti (London and New York: Routhledge, 1996). p. 191.

[14] Linda Hutcheon. “‘The Pastime of Past Time’: Fiction, History, Historiographic Metafiction” in Postmodern Genres. ed. Marjorie Perloff (Norman and London: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989). p. 94.

[15] ibid., p. 66.

[16] Salman Rushdie, p. 9.

[17] ibid., p. 169.

[18] ibid., p. 118.

[19] ibid., p. 122.

[20] ibid., p. 389.

[21] Brenda K. Marshall. p. 178.

[22] Salman Rushdie. p. 166.

[23] ibid., p. 211.

[24] Brenda K. Marshall. p. 150.

[25] Salman Rushdie. p. 148.

[26] ibid., p. 75.

[27] ibid., p. 74.

[28] ibid., p. 48.

[29] ibid., p. 9.

[30] ibid., pp. 9-10.

[31] ibid., p. 107.

[32] Timothy Brennan. Salman Rushdie and the Third World (New York: St. Martin Press, 1989). p. 105.

[33] Salman Rushdie. p. 72.

[34] ibid., p. 38.

[35] ibid., p. 141.

[36] ibid., p. 444.

[37] ibid., p. 460.

[38] İbid., p. 37.

[39] ibid., p. 105.

[40] ibid., p. 270.

[41] ibid., p. 254.

[42] ibid., p. 441.

[43] ibid., p. 9.

[44] ibid., p. 326.

[45] Michel Foucault. Language, Counter-Memory, Practice. Trans. D. F. Bouchard and S. Simon (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1977). p. 148.

[46] Linda Hutcheon. “‘The Pastime of Past Time:’ Fiction, History, Historiographic Metafiction. p. 66.

[47] Salman Rushdie. p. 37.

[48] ibid., p. 66.

[49] ibid., p. 118.

[50] ibid., pp. 304-305.

[51] Timothy Brennan. p. 91.

[52] ibid., p. 400.

[53] Salman Rushdie. p. 13.

[54] ibid., p. 459.

[55] ibid., p. 461.

[56] This quotation is taken from the beginning of the novel God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

[57] ibid., p. 200.

[58] ibid., p. 461.

[59] ibid., p. 463.


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