Midnight's Children

by Salman Rushdie
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How is magical realism used in Midnight's Children?

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In works of literature, magic realism refers to a combination of fantasy and reality: the insertion of magical, mythical elements into an otherwise realistic narrative. There are numerous examples of this in Midnight's Children, where Salman Rushdie uses magical realism to highlight both the reality of Indian political life in the early days of independence and the enchanted, mythological worldview that still persists throughout all sections of society. In recovering myths long suppressed or marginalized under the Raj, Rushdie has been seen by some critics as a post-colonial writer, utilizing traditional indigenous methods of story-telling to convey a uniquely Indian perspective.

Examples of magic realism in the text would include the miraculous powers attributed to the midnight's children of the title, those born on the stroke of midnight of Indian independence. Saleem Sinai, the narrator, is one such child of independence, and his special status gives him the ability to read people's minds. He is also blessed with a large nose that makes it possible for him to smell the emotions and intentions of others. Saleem uses his special powers to good effects in a number of historical situations, such as when he leads his fellow soldiers to safety away from the mystical Sundarban Jungle.

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