Comment on the narrative technique of Midnight's Children.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The narrative technique of the story is in first person.  It is told from Saleem's point of view and we understand the history of Indian independence, Partition, and all that follows through his eyes.  Yet, it is within this that the greatness of the themes and story itself lies.  Saleem is an unreliable narrator.  He makes many errors in trying to be the sole font of knowledge and solitary light that guides the reader through the darkness that is called "history."  The narrative technique of first person fraught with errors is a deliberate attempt on Rushdie's part to bring to light the idea of subjectivity having limits but being the only guide one has.  Rushdie has written that the work itself should not be seen as totalizing as history, but rather be seen as art, as an example of how individuals have only their own subjectivity to guide them.  This is evidenced in Rushdie's embrace of Saleem as the sole narrator.  Although he makes obvious and subtle mistakes, we, as the reader, can only rely on him to help provide understanding through the emotional and political complexities of the time.  We are thus left with a powerful stylistic and thematic statement in how human freedom is futile at many points, but it is all that one has in the modern setting.

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