The Ground Beneath Her Feet

by Salman Rushdie
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Discuss Rushdie's The Ground Beneath Her Feet as a postcolonial novel about identity, multiculturalism, and hybridity.

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Salman Rushdie's novel The Ground Beneath Her Feet provides much in the way of bold, clashing, diasporic, surreal storytelling. Rushdie's use of Indian and European mythology, alternate realities, and complex, diasporic characters certainly sets the stage for reflection on identity, multiculturalism, and hybridity.

In thinking about these themes, consider the use of Eastern-versus-Western tensions throughout the novel as the story winds through Bombay, London, and New York City and through interactions/events that take place between characters. For instance, consider how Virus becomes unable to speak (and later on a silent mystic) after his very Anglophilic father, Sir Darius Xerxes Cama, accidentally hits him in the head with a cricket ball. Consider also the tensions present in the marriage between Rai's parents, who are at stark cultural odds with one another in post-colonial Bombay.

Finally, consider if and how Ormus's relationship with Vina and his visions of Maria and her alternate reality speak to diasporic identity and hybridization. Is it significant that Ormus's experience with the alternate reality becomes stronger as he starts his life in London? These are but a few aspects of Rushdie's The Ground Beneath Her Feet that can be used to explore identity, multiculturalism, and hybridization.

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