Magic realism as post-colonialist device in Midnight's Children

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Magic realism as post-colonialist device in Midnight's Children Magic realism in relation to the post-colonial and Midnight's Children 'The formal technique of "magic realism,"' Linda Hutcheon writes, '(with its characteristic mixing of the fantastic and the realist) has been singled out by many critics as one of the points of conjunction of post-modernism and post-colonialism' (131). Her tracing the origins of magic realism as a literary style to Latin America and Third World countries is accompanied by a definition of a post-modern text as signifying a change from 'modernism's ahistorical burden of the past': it is a text that 'self-consciously reconstruct[s] its relationship to what came before' (131). The post-modern is linked by magic realism to 'post-colonial literatures [which] are also negotiating....the same tyrannical weight of colonial history in conjunction with the past' (131). Before discussing magic realism in Midnight's Children, a brief definition of the term "post-colonialism"as I intend to use it in this essay will aid the clarification of the links made between Hutcheon's theory and the following analysis of Rushdie's text. Ania Loomba argues that post-colonialism is a loose term. She notes that the prefix "post"....implies an "aftermath" in two senses - temporal, as in coming after, and ideological, as in supplanting. It is the second implication which critics of the term have found contestable: if the inequities of colonial rule have not been erased, it is perhaps premature to proclaim the demise of colonialism. A country may be both postcolonial (in the sense of being formally independent) and neo-colonial (in the sense of remaining economically and/or culturally dependant) at the same time. (7) ... ... middle of paper ... ...Helen Tiffin, eds. The Post-colonial Studies Reader. London: Routledge, 1995. Durix, Jean-Pierre. "Salman Rushdie: Interview." Kunapipi4.2 (1982): 17 - 26. Hutcheon, Linda. "Circling the Downspout of Empire." Ashcroft, Bill et al., 130 - 5. Loomba, Ania.Colonialism/Postcolonialism. London: Routledge, 1998. Mishra, Vijay. "The Texts of Mother India." After Europe.Ed. Stephen Slemon and Helen Tiffin. Sydney: Dangaroo Press, 1989. 119-37. Monaco, James, ed. The Virgin International Encyclopedia of Film. London: Virgin, 1992. Pattayanak, Chandrabhanu. "Interview with Salman Rushdie." Literary Criterion 18.3 (1983): 19 - 22. Rushdie, Salman. Midnight's Children. London: Vintage, 1995. Said, Edward W. Culture and Imperialism. London: Vintage, 1994. Slemon, Stephen. "Magic Realism as Post-Colonial Discourse". Canadian Literature 116 (1988): 9 - 24.

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