Midnight's Children

Saleem as an Allegory for India in ‘Midnight’s Children’

“To understand just one life you have to swallow the world” – Explore the presentation of Saleem as an allegory for India in ‘Midnight’s Children’

The peculiarity of the title ‘Midnight’s Children’ makes it immediately obvious that this novel is out of the ordinary. Perhaps its most extraordinary aspect is the allegory of the character Saleem, of just one human being, for the downfall of postcolonial India. Yet Rushdie does not make it as simple as this; combined with the allegorical nature of Saleem are autobiographical and fantastical aspects. And our narrator’s distinctive wit and morals give him an identity, arguably one that’s too narrow to conceivably represent an entire country, the thing which is a conglomeration of people, politics, geography, religions, languages, and cultures. Simultaneously, obvious aspects such as Saleem sharing his birth with that of the independent Indian state, and ultimately his breakdown, mirror that of his homeland. Such associations are superficial however, because it is the depth and style of Rushdie’s narrative which really creates the parallel between Saleem Sinai and postcolonial India. But in terms of the reader’s understanding of Saleem’s life and therefore his world, a solipsistic...

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