The Perforated Sheet by Salman Rushdie

analytical Essay
1035 words
1035 words

When discussing the controversial authors of Indian literature, one name should come to mind before any other. Salman Rushdie, who is best known for writing the book “Midnights Children.” The first two chapters of “Midnights Children” are known as “The Perforated Sheet”. In “The Perforated Sheet” Rushdie utilizes magic realism as a literary device to link significant events and their effects on the lives of Saleem’s family to a changing India. In fact, it is in the beginning of the story that the reader is first exposed to Rushdie’s use of magic realism when being introduced to Saleem. “On the stroke of midnight/clocks joined palms” and “the instant of India’s arrival at independence. I tumbled forth into the world”(1711). Rushdie’s description of the clocks “joining palms” and explanation of India’s newfound independence is meant to make the reader understand the significance of Saleem’s birth. The supernatural action of the clocks joining palms is meant to instill wonder, while independence accentuates the significance of the beginning of a new era. Rushdie also utilizes magic realism as an unnatural narrative several times within the story to show the cultural significance of events that take place in the story in an abnormal way.
In “The Perforated Sheet” Rushdie makes use of magic realism as an unnatural narrative by giving detailed descriptions of Saleem’s grandfather’s life, as if Saleem had lived it himself. The first instance of this is described after Aadam hits his nose while praying only to notice that when his blood hits the air it turns to “rubies.” He also realizes that his tears have turned to “diamonds” and proceeds to wipe them away. It was “at that moment/he resolved never again to kiss earth for any god or man...

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After reading “The Perforated Sheet” readers should be able to understand that in any instance of pre and postcolonial history there will always be three generations involved. The eldest generation will be the unhappiest due to the subjugation of their traditions and culture by the colonizers themselves. The second generation is the middle one, who will have accepted the changes in their way of life. They will have already moved on, but will face more problems with connection to the older generation because of the changes. The third and final generation is the one that finally escapes the restraints of colonialism and pioneers the future of their nation. Rushdie explains this very bluntly in the beginning “with three drops of old, faded redness.”(1712) These drops are a representation of the three generations that shaped India and countless other countries

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how rushdie uses magic realism to link significant events and their effects on saleem's family to a changing india.
  • Analyzes how rushdie uses magic realism as an unnatural narrative to illustrate the significance of culture in a person's life.
  • Analyzes how rushdie uses magic realism to illustrate aadam's obsession with the girl beneath sheet as a representation of westerners' curiosity and need for acceptance within foreign cultures.
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