How Haroun and the Sea of Stories book about community and culture?

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

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I would think that Rushdie's work reflects a great deal about the culture of community in that the work posits that "the answer" which needs to be sought is a communal one, and not an isolating notion.  Consider that Rashid's primary purpose is to tell stories to the people of Alfibay, reflecting that his sense of being is one tied to the community.  When he internalizes himself into a shell that thwarts contact with others, Haroun must reach out to his father and both of them set off on a quest to restore the father's storytelling abilities.  This is based off of community, in general.  They both search for the "source" of all storytelling, indicating that nothing is constructed outside of the community setting.  Every human being is driven to be a part of an intellectual community that helps to inspire and generate thoughts.  Rushdie's construction is one whereby individuals are not left alone, and are not isolated in their thoughts.  The characters that both father and son meet help to give back the power of storytelling to the father, indicating that all literary and linguistic construction is communal, by nature.  Finally, given the fact that the work is the first work from Rushdie's own fatwa period, I think that there is a repudiation of isolation and an embrace of the idea of community and the culture of commonality that is bred by the idea of the telling stories and sharing them with others.

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