Sunday, April 17, 2016

Saleem's Ransom Note

I thought the way Rushdie wrote how Saleem composed his note to Commander Sabarmati was incredibly clever. Saleem got the letters for his note from pieces out of newspapers and each sentence he used referenced something political going on. The note was assembled from fragments of relevant history and current events in India and Pakistan, which is literally what Midnight's Children is based on. After Saleem tells us how he gets the letters for the note, he goes on to say how he rearranges history when he glues the note - another very creative move by Rushdie! Because Saleem rearranges history when he tells us his story and India's story, constantly confusing dates and events. Then Saleem tells us how he played "Murder in the Dark" and slips the note inside Commander Sabarmati's uniform. Notice the name of the game...because there is actual murder as a result of Saleem placing the "lethal" note in the Commander's jacket. I really appreciate Rushdie's creativity!

5 comments:

Belin Manalle said...

This is a very good point, Abbey. He literally moves around history. In the entire story he is telling his version of reality and manipulating events and history as he believes they occurred. We even see how he messes up the order of events when he admits to confusing the date of Ghandi's assassination. This shows how history and the occurrence of events are entirely in his hands. He controls everything that we read and understand in the story. This rearrangement of history is a literal metaphor towards that idea.

Jack Zheng said...

I think that Saleem's death threats that involve "rearranging history" would be an active-literal act on the world because it directly affects history. But what do you think about the way that he presents his version of history? By presenting it from his own personal perspective, has he actively and literally changed history, or does his storytelling only have a metaphorical impact on it? Or, has he changed history through some other mode of connection or not at all?

Madison Cummings said...

That is a good point, Jack. You can't be sure he is actually "changing" history, because he is merely changing how he remembers it. He is not changing it for anyone else around him, because everyone is experiencing history differently anyway. Like we talked about before in class, there are an infant number of "truths" when it comes to the story of an event that has occurred. So really, you could argue that the only person Salem is changing history for is himself? Because there is no definite history that can be changed to begin with.

Cheyenne Dwyer said...

I appreciate that Saleem is an unreliable narrator in terms of how he has "messed up" history. It drives home the point we made in class about how history is relative to who experienced it, though usually history is learned from the winners perspective. In this case, we are seeing history from just one young boys perspective. Just like we can confuse memories from our youth or perhaps exaggerate or romanticize them, Saleem does the same. We experience Saleem's reality, not some made up reality that is supposed to be the right one.

madison kahn said...

I think it's interesting too that Saleem does not mean for the murder to happen. He always accidently gets himself involved in things he shouldn't be involved in. So, yes, he is fated to be intertwined with history, but I think the fate is pretty much out of control. For example, when he hides in the washing chest, he does not mean to see his mother in that situation. When he falls into the language March, he does not mean for the people to take his chant and make it the slogan of their march. There are so many other examples about how Saleem accidently gets himself involved with history. I just think it's interesting how nowhere in the book does he admit he wants to be tied to history. It just kind of happens.