Salman Rushdi: Using Magical Realism as a Post-Colonial Device
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Salman Rushdie is a meta-fiction writer, composing Midnight’s Children in a way that systematically draws attention to the fact that it’s a fictitious concoction questioning the relationship between fiction and reality. In Midnight’s Children, Rushdie uses historical events as reference points in the lives of his characters. Saleem Sinai’s life, and the lives of his familial predecessors, is defined by historical events. Beyond using historical events to denote the lives of his characters, Rushdie uses magical realism as a post-colonial device. He uses pastiche to keep the reader’s interest trained on the stories, referencing The Arabian Nights, among other works. Rushdie employs parody throughout the novel, molding history to his tastes, and states himself that “sometimes legends make reality, and become more useful than the facts.” Rushdie, in “Mercurochrome,” the second chapter in the first book, depicts the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919 through the eyes of Aadam Aziz, Saleem Sinai’s grandfather, using all three literary methods of magical realism, pastiche and parody. By telling the story of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre through Aadam’s eyes, instead of just retelling the British version, Rushdie manages to change the significance of the massacre from an Indian rebellion that needed to be dispersed to a horrific historical event that cannot be forgotten for the sake of ensuring that there is no repetition.
Rushdie uses magical realism as a post-colonial device to emphasize the relationship between the time following the establishment of independence in India and Saleem Sinai’s fantastical tie to it. This self-alluding narrative references indigenous Indian culture, particularly the story of the Arabian Nights. Magical rea...
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