How does Rushdie show what he values most in "Haroun and the Sea of Stories?"

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that there are several elements that Rushdie displays which reflect his own personal values in “Haroun and the Sea of Stories.”  The most fundamental is the drive to tell a story.  I don’t think that Rushdie would consider himself anything other than a teller of stories.  He does not see himself as a historian or philosopher, rather as someone who can tell a good story.  His works have always had this element within them.  The humor, sardonic wit, and the allusions are all tricks of the storyteller.  Part of the ironic element about all the controversy that might surround Rushdie is that he is simply telling stories.  He would find that humorous if it weren’t so lethal.  The very idea of what happens to a storyteller who suddenly loses his ability to tell stories is fascinating for Rushdie.  The presence of magical realism is something that we see in the story, but also in Rushdie’s own belief system.  Rushdie believes that there is a certain absurdity in consciousness, whereby one could argue the presence of magical realism to explain such reality.  Along these lines, the notion of redemption, of receiving help in a time of crisis is something that Rushdie values.  One does not have to go far to see that this is very similar to life under the Fatwa, where storytelling resulted in life and death implications.  In the story, the son, Haroun, goes on a quest to save his father and help restore his ability to weave stories.  This is something that Rushdie himself called out for in terms of help during his time under the Fatwa.  While he is the first to deny any heavenly angel or divine intervention a la deux et machina in real life, one can certainly see Rushdie begging for some type of help during the time he was forced to go underground.  The relationship between the father and son is something that also drives Rushdie, who writes frequently of characters who did not have the best of relationships with their parents.  This also plays a relevant role because of his time under the Fatwa, where his personal life took seismic hits.  To a great extent, one can see this instability played out in his post- Fatwa life, with the one constant being the hope of serving as a good father.

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