Midnight's Children

by Salman Rushdie

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What is the theme of Midnight's Children?

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One of the themes of Midnight's Children is the mythologizing of historical narrative. As we read the story, we have no choice but to accept Saleem's account of this momentous chapter in Indian history. Yet he himself frankly acknowledges his own unreliability as a narrator in respect to certain historical facts and details. Moreover, he freely draws upon elements of Hindu mythology in telling his tale, according a major role to deities such as Parvati and Shiva in the unfolding historical drama.

On this account, India's rebirth as an independent nation isn't just another historical event; it has deep cosmic significance that cannot be told by more conventional methods of historical narrative. This interweaving of history and mythology places Indian independence in a transcendent context. In achieving independence from the British, the Indian people haven't just secured the right to determine their own political future, they've also reconnected in a much deeper way to the rich tradition of native mythology which gives their lives meaning and depth and which has hitherto been suppressed and marginalized under British colonial rule.

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In Salman Rushdie's story, Midnight's Children, there are several themes.

One of the main themes is identity. The main character of this story is Saleem Sinai who begins telling stories to Padma, and it is with the final tale that we see the conclusion of a long series of his life's tales that bring him to the present day. The purpose in this exercise is to find some sense of who he is. His life has been unusual: both interesting and tragic. He is one of Midnight's Children, an honor—along with his supernatural powers—but he has also seen loss, death and disappointment as well.  There is a feeling that he has found a personal sense of peace and satisfaction, in life's small things, by the story's end.

 

 

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