Salman Rushdie

Start Free Trial

What distinctive features make Salman Rushdie a postcolonial writer?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There are many different ways to approach this question.  One major distinction puts Rushdie in the postcolonial setting is how he is so profound on the idea of national identity in a nation-less world.  The Colonial setting that defined identity on the basis of European nations and "the West" controlling other parts of the world is something that Rushdie truly challenges in his work.  Rushdie is more concerned with how the individual constructs identity as a product of a world where the Colonial powers are no longer evident, but their presence still lingers.  This is seen in works such as Midnight's Children and writings featured in Imaginary Homelands. Even his modern work such as Shalimar the Clown features this dynamic between a life that is after Colonialism, but still operates with part of one foot in it.  I would also say that Rushdie's own experience with "nation" is something that makes his writing so intense on the nature of postcolonialism.  Born in India at Partition, living in Pakistan, and then England, only to find himself unable to live anywhere because of the Fatwa helped to bring out the idea in his writing and thought that individuals are of a world that holds both Colonial and Postcolonial tendencies.  In this setting, we, as human beings, step across lines that used to be demarcate identity so thoroughly, but now are simply new frontiers to be crossed.  This becomes one of the central points in Rushdie's collection of essays, Step Across this Line.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial