symbols of censorship are in the story
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The idea of censorship is a sustained motif in the novel. This is largely a reflection on Rushdie’s own experience of censorship when the Ayatollah placed a fatwa upon him for his depiction of Islam in The Satanic Verses. Chupwala and its dictator Khattam-Shud represent this censorship. Khattam-Shud wishes not only to poison the Sea of Stories, but he also wishes to silence the stories completely. Chup, therefore, is not only a land of darkness, but also a land of complete silence and censorship. The Land of Gup, on the other hand, is a land of complete Freedom of Speech, even to those that would criticize the land’s leaders in what might be considered anarchy. On the surface, Rushdie would seem to favor the Guppees’ freedom over the strict authoritarian censorship of the Chupwala’s, though later passages in the novel blur these lines of distinction.