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One theme in the second chapter is the gap between the artistic world that Rashid used to inhabit and the real world in which he is now forced to live. There is a distinct difference between the two. Rashid is able to construct lyrical beauty in the world of art. In the world of reality, there is intense changes in weather, fighting for bus tickets, and those in the position of power who are seeking to exert their power over others. Rashid finds that he is unable to impact or change this world, a stark difference from the world of art and aesthetics that he could control as "the Shah of Blah." The real world is one in which powerlessness is a shared quality. The signs that rhyme, warning against speeding, do nothing to alter the condition. Haroun is able to see this condition of powerlessness in his own father and in the world around him. The journey to reclaim Rashid's artistic voice and sense of identity commences amidst this backdrop of powerlessness. The theme of the artistic world of idealism set against the harsh reality that exists outside of it is a critical element in chapter 2.
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