Post-Colonial Literature: Salman Rushdie
Post-Colonial Literature: Salman Rushdie
The style of Post-colonial writing has been given the name “New English literature” most especially for its very particular way of writing that focuses on the discussion of colonization. These types of writings have often dealt with various issues that are related to de-colonization or the cultural independence as well as the political power that is related to colonial rule. Various authors have already tried to delve deep into this specific type of genre and they have been able to carry out their novels with racist or colonial subtexts. Revie, 2003)
The characteristic of post-colonial literature is that in its most modern form, it seeks to critique the various contemporary post-colonial discourse that has been able to shape the times. Post-colonial works are typically literature that seeks the process of re-writing and re-reading. This particular description of this specific type comes from the perspective of those who have been under the rule of colonization in the past. This particular type of style is used in almost every type of post-colonial literature novel that has been made.
Due to the tone and the type of narrative that authors use with this particular type of literary work, the inhabitants of those colonized countries are most often portrayed as victims instead of foes of those who have colonized them. This is one of the attributes of this type of literature. The various actions of colonizers have long harmed those who have they tried to submit to their will and because of this fact, the authors who have had the privilege of writing about their injustices have always given the colonized people a fate which was less than desirable. Revie, 2003) Salman Rushdie One of the most notable authors who have already made their mark regarding this particular type of literature is Salman Rushdie.
The different types of fiction that Salman Rushdie has authored has been continuously monitored and analyzed for its different perspectives. A review of several of the books and his journals will reveal that there is a proliferation of criticisms that concentrate mainly on the topic of postcolonial matters. His works effectively address the various types of issues that have a political or social nature.
Some of these things address the fatwa as well as the publication of The Satanic Verses. Some of the sentiments that other writers and authors share is that Rushdie is a postmodern writer whose seriously pushes the different boundaries of the novel in modern times. Rushdie had authored several novels and as different as the texts are from each other, so does Rushdie stick a coherent type of message which is only discernible from a broader standpoint. One of the novels that Rushdie had written is Midnight’s Children. This was a novel that had already been published for already twenty years.
This novel gave Salman Rushdie a notable status because he was a very gifted author who wrote in English. This is one of the things that was quite remarkable about the author since he was aware of different things about postcolonial national matters of different countries even though he was of Indian descent. This fact gave prominence to writers who were of a different race and thus gave the literary enthusiasts and various classes of people a new way of looking different things. This cross-cultural way of writing novels has shone the spotlight on how post-colonial literature should not be limited to an author of that particular country.
This is one of the things that was highlighted when Rushdie churned out Midnight’s Children way back in the 80’s. Midnight’s Children With his work, Midnight’s Children, this novel is about the power of mixture and interaction. This type of mixture that Rushdie tries to focus on is seen through the filter of the protagonist’s memory. Saleem Sinai is a person who recalls the history of his family and provides the readers a very thorough history of the entire Indian environment that he knows.
The reader is thrust deep into the heart of a particular period of India which essentially covers the entire timeline of India’s pre- as well as postcolonial twentieth-century history. The protagonist who is said to be born during the first hour of independence from the British colonizers begins by recalling his narrative from about 32 years before that time. He begins with his his heritage which focuses on his grandfather, Aadam Aziz. This is one of the most noticeable things that one can see with this type of literature.
The strategy of going back to set the stage for the present is one trait of postcolonial literature and at the onset of the novel, Rushdie masterfully inserts this type of characteristic in order to set the stage for the rest of the novel. Throughout the novel, Saleem is set out to find meaning in his life but as the novel goes on, one learns that Saleem is actually switched at birth by the nurse Mary Pereira with Aziz’s biological grandson, Shiva. The story actually weaves a very complicated web as it turns out that Saleem is the illegitimate son of Vanita who is the wife of another Hindu who plays the accordion.
Saleem writes out the story of his life and narrates it to his friend Padma. This is exactly the story that Saleem seems to narrate and recall over and over. (Rushdie, 1996) It is through this particular novel that we find that recalling is not exactly something that is done on purpose by the protagonist but it somehow flows out of his natural tendency to move and focus on different fragments of his past. He Saleem manages to create the memory of his past through bits and pieces of information that he remembers throughout his life.
It is through the act of recalling that Saleem seems to make sense out of the chaos that is around him as he compares recalling to pickling which to according to him is an “impure” act of love. (Rushdie, 1996) Pickling for him is sort of a process that makes things new again due to the fact that one dies without newness. One of the things that is implied here is the fact that we exist and are alive simply because of the fact that we continue to reinvent and redo ourselves in the sense that we recreate our world and our reality as we remember it and as we experience it.
The author gives a certain degree of importance to memory and how it has helped him with this particular novel in the sense that he makes it known to the readers that what they do is very important. (Hogue, 1996) Shame In the novel Shame, Rushdie seeks to focus on a different type of characteristic. The author’s other novels seek to further illustrate the different possibilities of mixtures but with this particular novel, Rushdie finds himself writing about anger. The repressed state that one enters in when angered is what this novel is focusing on.
This is the time that Rushdie retells the history of Pakistan ever since the time of its independence way back in 1947. (Rushdie, 2008) The story essentially discusses three generations as focuses on the different lives of Raza Hyder who is a very successful and celebrated military general and Iskandar “Isky” Harappa who is a politician who came from being a playboy because of his riches and wealth. These characters are actually based on different real life people–the former being President Zia-ul-Haq and the latter former Prime Minister Zulfikar Alik Butto.
As seen in the different novels of Midnight’s Children and The Satanic Verses, the novel Shame describes the colonizer-colonized relationship. In this particular relationship, the colonizers are those who are politically powerful and they are the characters Isky and Raza. They have been said to become repressed identities who have been mistreated in the past. The repression that can be found in the novel Shame comes from the longstanding desire for purity which is a a theme that is also found in The Satanic Verses and Midnight’s Children.
Pakistan is said to be the land of the pure and mohajirs. (Rushdie, 2008) There have been rewrites of their pasts in order to fit into this new myth of purity that Pakistan is supposed to be. In such a novel, the author seems to reject hybridity in exchange for purity. With this particular novel, the author seems to focus on this idea and highlights purity in the face of anger and repression that is found in the relationship of the colonizer and the colonized.
In this particular novel, the author focuses on the anger that is found in the relationship of those colonizers and those who have been colonized. In relation to this particular setup, it is because of the repression that happens and because of the fact that people are in essence filled with anger and hatred when they are stripped of their natural freedom. This novel adheres directly to the type of literature that characterizes post-colonial treatments. The Satanic Verses
The Satanic Verses is the kind of novel that admonishes the reader to ask various questions regarding himself. This novel focuses on identity. As with the setup in a colonized state, there are various questions that arise because of such an act. The novel begs to ask the question, “How does one act when one wins? ” and “What kind of idea are you? ” The former and the latter pertaining to the identity of the person is challenged because of the fact that they are ideas which are ingrained in a person.
One of the characters in the novel is Gibreel Farishta who never actually develops a will of his own and actually becomes a battered and abused puppet of other people throughout the entirety of the novel. (Rushdie, 2008) The question of identity plays around with the fact that Gibreel is unable to be flexible and “impure” at the same time. This particular juxtaposition by the author reveals a much larger picture philosophically as it addresses the notion of reality as a mere artifact that is masterfully handmade by the strength of words.
The identity of people is questioned in this particular novel because it focuses on identity and what one person should be when he encounters a particular challenge in his or her life. This is one of the things that a person or a nation struggles with when they are colonized. (Spivak, 1993) Conclusion Through the various texts, the archetype of post-colonial literature was quite obvious because of the nature of the way that the ideologies were presented.
Through the different ways and plots that the author introduced to the readers, he was able to fully explain and incorporate the feelings and the ideas that the colonizer and the colonized go through in their minds. Rushdie was able to immerse the readers in very profound stories where he was able to stay faithful with the characteristics and the nature of the genre of literature. The different novels that he authored are wonderful examples of how diverse the feelings and the ideas are when one encounters colonization firsthand.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 9 November 2016
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