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Haroun and the Sea of the Stories Essay

“Haroun and the Sea of Stories”, a novel by Salman Rushdie spans the adventurous journey of the protagonist of the story, Haroun who wishes to bring back his father’s gift of storytelling. Haroun is the son of the famous storyteller Rashid Khalifa whose stories enthrall the listeners. The author of novel was placed under fatwa which compelled him to lead a life of isolation and hiding. And it was during his hiding that he wrote the above novel.

Salman Rushdie uses his novel as a medium to defy the censorship placed on his writings. Through the characters of his novel, the author presents his own thoughts about the censorship and the people who imposed the censorship upon him. The characters in the novel are influenced by the personal experiences of the author and resemble the persons of the real world. Prominent among them is the character of Khattam-Shud who reminds one of Ayatollah Khomeini, the person responsible for the fatwa of Salman Rushdie.

Khattam-Shud rules the Land of Chupwalas by making them behave according to his rules. He wants to rule the whole world but his wish remains unfulfilled for he is unable to be in command of the world of numerous stories. Rushdie (2001) writes “inside every single story, inside every Stream in the Ocean, there lies a world, a story-world, that I cannot Rule at all”. (pg. 161).

So when he realizes that he cannot control the world of the stories he decides to poison the Sea of Stories so that the source of stories itself is destroyed and the imagination of the story tellers is snatched from them forever. This attitude of Khattam-Shud is analogous to that of Khomeini who wants to control the writings of Salman and when that is not possible he issues orders for Salman’s killing. Khomeini insists that the world accept his beliefs about Islamism and when anyone tries to revolt against his authority he suppresses him by using his powers.

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