Midnight's Children

by Salman Rushdie
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Discuss Midnight's Children as Postcolonial novel.

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While there are many complex aspects to Midnight's Children, it is clear that Rushdie offers a Postcolonial narrative.  Rushdie appropriates many elements of Postcolonialism in his work.  The first is the lack of a reliable narrator.  Building off the idea of a lack of totality that is a part of Postcolonialism, Saleem is far from a totalizing narrator.  His dates are wrong.  Some of his facts are not accurate.  He is a participant in his own narrative, leading to issues of bias.  These are all deliberate, as Rushdie seeks to make a statement that there can be no definitive notion of history.  Any such construction is going to silence voice and that the best we can do is collect as many narratives as possible.  This is a Postcolonialism response to the condition of imposition that sought to present itself as "the truth."

Another element of Postcolonialism in Midnight's Childrenis how it is told from the indigenous point of view.  The presence of the British is felt, but the story, itself, is one of Partition and division.  Rushdie's use of All India Radio, Bollywood songs, as well appropriating Muslim and Hindu notions of reality help to enhance the Postcolonial understanding of the work.  Being able to relay the basis of Partition as well as the Emergency from an indigenous point of view is also reflective of the Postcolonial elements of Midnight's Children.  From a theoretical point of view, Rushdie wishes to deposit another vision of the narrative into the discourse, one that hopes to achieve voice and enhance dialogue.  This becomes an element of the Postcolonialism in the novel.

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