Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

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Comment on the language of Midnight's Children.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think that some of the distinctive language featured in Rushdie's novel can center on how Saleem tells the story.  His method of narration is unique because the language and context told to us is of the time period, yet flows outside of it.  The reader knows that the story is of Partition and Indian Independence.  Yet, Saleem goes through his own past and lineage and the language brought out reflects how the past and the present go together and are almost inseparable.  At the same time, the subjective nature of Saleem's narration involves mistakes and errors in his retelling.  There are many errors in the novel, but I think that this helps to bring the idea that the subjective consciousness is one fraught with mistakes and miscalculations.  However, this is the only method of retelling that is present, forcing one to accept the limitations of consciousness.  While there might be a hope for a transcendental notion of the good that can achieve that ideal of objectivity, Saleem and his language reflect this to not be the case.  The frailty with which the novel ends is one that reminds the reader that consciousness is imperfect and incomplete, but the only element one possesses.

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