Rushdie's analysis of life as a series of snakes and ladders strikes me as interesting and thought provoking. On page 160, Saleem states, "All games have morals; and the game of Snakes and Ladders captures, as no other activity can hope to do, the eternal truth that for every ladder you climb, a snake is waiting just around the corner; and for every sanke, a ladder will compensate." The rest of the chapter describes situations that contain both snakes and ladders, but Saleem learns from an early age that the line between snakes (misfortune) and ladders (happiness) is thin and blurry. After baby Saleem gets typhoid, snake venum cures him, exemplifying the positive aspects of a seemingly evil creature. As Saleem also mentions, ladders can be descended just as snakes can be benefitial.
The snakes and ladders game mirrors the cyclical nature of life, which is especially important in Indian culture.
What other snakes and ladders appear in Midnight's Children, and what do you all think about this metaphor?