Discuss themes that are present in Haroun and the Sea of Stories that can be reflected in Rushdie's own life.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You picked, or were dealt, a great story here.  It is important to keep the context of Rushdie's life in evidence at the time of the book's writing.  For his writing of The Satanic Verses, Rushdie earned a fatwa, forcing him into hiding and separation from his family.  It seemed that for writing a novel, he paid one of the ultimate in prices.  With this in mind, I think that one of the themes of Haroun and the Sea of Stories is the importance of family.  When his father struggles to tell stories and loses his way, Haroun, his son, helps.  In the end, the story is about the unity of family through difficult and challenging times, a theme for which Rushdie himself must have yearned in his own life at the time.  Another theme that is present is the need for the artist to continually to strive in articulating his voice.  While others deride him as "the Shah of Blah," Rashid demonstrates the theme of the artist's commitment to his voice and his work.  Again, this is a theme that is present in Rushdie's own condition at the time of writing.  Rashid's wife leaves him and he is without support or solidarity, yet Rashid and Haroun recognizes that his artistic voice must persevere and not waver in the face of public apathy and a lack of support.  Both themes are powerful in the novel, and poignant when considering Rushdie's own life and the "sea" through which navigation was a challenge, to say the least.