Haroun and the Sea of Stories

by Salman Rushdie

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Student Question

How does "Haroun and the Sea of Stories" reflect postmodern themes?

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One way in which Haroun and the Sea of Storiescan be seen as a Postmodern novel is how Rushdie deconstructs the story telling process.  The ability by which stories are told and literary capacity is envisioned is not a purely subjective one.  If one presumes that Rashid is enduring some of the most intense "writer's block," it is not a linear process to resolve it.  The Postmodern idea of deconstruction in the most complex of manners is seen in the journey to regain his voice, to find what was lost.  Writing and composition is nuanced and filled with forces that seek to subvert it.  This subversion is in the personal, embodied in individuals like Mr. Sengupta, and in the political through the force of Khattam- Shud.  The ability to deconstruct the writing process in such a manner is one way in which the Postmodern is evident in the story.

Another way in which the Postmodern elements are seen is through the depiction of the characters.  Haroun is far from the traditional "hero" in how he embodies an attention deficit.  Rushdie depicts a Postmodern form of "noble prince" in Prince Bolo, and the notion of  P2C2E is a Postmodern element that is "too complex to explain."  The political reality that uses Rashid for his storytelling abilities is another example of Postmodern irony in describing the fraudulent nature of political rule.  Khattam- Shud's death is even Postmodern as he is crushed by his own creation of a statue.  In these instances, Rushdie presents a "Postmodern allegory," reflective of the deconstruction that is so much a part of Postmoderism.

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