Critical Analysis Part One: Book Two from Midnight's Children
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Critical Analysis Part One: Book Two from Midnight's Children

What would you do if the child you bore had mystical powers?

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Critical Analysis Part One: Book Two from Midnight's Children

In the first half of Book Two from Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie, Saleem describes his discovery of the midnight’s children. Desperate children who were born between 12am and 1am on the independence of India from British rule who are struggling with superhuman abilities. The children that were born closest to midnight possess powers that are more powerful than the others within the “club”.

Saleem is our main character and our narrator with telepathic powers that he had to keep hidden from his family because they did not believe of his powers. When he tried to tell his family that he was able to hear angels, his father slapped him so hard that he permanently lost hearing in one of his ears. He uses these powers to discover the thoughts of the children that has special powers, some who are lost and scared.

Unaware that there are other children under the same situation as Saleem, he reaches out to them by putting an image of him within their subconscious. Saleem even discovers that his evil adversary born at the same time, Shiva, is one of the midnight children.

“Matter of fact descriptions of the outre and bizarre, and their reverse, namely heightened, stylized versions of the everyday-these techniques, which are also attitudes of mind, I have lifted-or perhaps absorbed-from the most formidable of the midnight children, my rival, my fellow-changeling, the supposed son of Wee Willie Winkie: Shiva-of-the-knees,” (Rushdie).

Through his power of war he is seen as a deity that can kill anyone with his powerful knees amongst the children.

Padma, Saleem’s wife, didn’t believe a lot of what he was telling her and began to speculate what he was saying. Defending himself he says:

“‘I told you the truth,’ I said yet again. ‘Memory’s truth, because memory has its own special kind. It selects, eliminates, alters, exaggerates, minimizes, glorifies, and vilifies also; but in the end it creates its own reality, its heterogeneous but usually coherent versions of events; and no sane human being ever trusts someone else’s version more than his own,” (Rushdie, 242).

The things that Saleem is narrating to Padma and to his audience is just a way for him to make his own life seem interesting, so when he misinterpreted Gandhi’s death, we automatically deem him as an unreliable source.

“Does one error invalidate the entire fabric? Am I so far gone, in my desperate need for meaning, that I’m prepared to distort everything-to rewrite the whole history of my times purely in order to replace myself in a central role? Today, in my confusion. I can’t judge. I’ll hate to leave it to others,” (Rushdie, 190).

Our narrator is even starting to doubt what is real and what was not. As far as we know, those memories of having telepathic powers and Shiva being a deity of war could’ve been real as well, thus proving the magical realism that was given in the novel to be real. While reading half of Book Two, we discover these dreamy or nightmarish scenarios in the novel when Saleem discovers his powers in these real life situations. These fictionalized circumstances are used to address the country’s “recent” past struggles.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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