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The artist going silent is an immediate theme that is evident in the first chapter of Rushdie's story. If we consider the artistic voice as something that is thematically important, we can see that it is the voice that allows us to fully understand reality, a narration that is to be treasured as it helps us to construct reality as what can be as opposed to what is. The first chapter helps establish the theme of the silenced artist. When Rashid, the Shah of Blah, ends up going silent, we are immediately reminded of Rushdie's own hell that preceded the writing of the novel. The fatwa issued by the Ayatollah, the forced hiding, the estrangement from son and wife are all realities that Rushdie, himself, endured. When we see Rashid lose the desire to tell stories, it is a development of this theme and one that we, as the reader, can immediately sense has some level of resonance to Rushdie's own plight. Being forced to go underground, there were moments when he endured his own sensation of losing the abilities to tell stories. In this light, the opening chapter helps to establish the theme of reclamation of voice, in this sense an artistic one.
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