Rushdie has been described as the man who "redrew the literary map of India." The enormous ambition required by a project of those dimensions is evident in the complex intermixture of themes in The Ground Beneath Her Feet. His vision of the human universe at the end of the twentieth century is one of chaos and instability verging on the edge of cataclysmic, even apocalyptic occurrences. Using the recent prevalence of major earthquakes as a sign of psychic disorder, Rushdie laces the narrative with literal, graphic descriptions of tremors rocking the deceptively placid surface plane upon which people unknowingly walk with confidence, leading toward a pervasive feeling of unease as the foundation structure of society is revealed as rotten and unstable.
Significantly, Rushdie has described his ordeal during the darkest days of the fatwa as "terribly bewildering. I had to find my feet again," and explains that after this shattering of his life's frame, he "had to learn to fight back. I had to find the strength to get back to writing." In a classic sense, Rushdie wrote to control chaos, using art as a means of re-establishing the order of his life. Similarly, the protagonists of The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Cama, Aspara and Merchant, employ their artistic attributes in an effort to resist the terrestrial uncertainty of their lives, a task complicated by the freedom and the free forms of their chosen professions.
(The entire section is 2500 words.)
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