Problematizing Histor and The Nation in Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children

Arthur Moss-Hawkins

Abstract


In the novel Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie unmakes and makes history, blurring the boundaries between historical fact and fiction. This research examines why and how Rushdie problematizes the institutions of historical narrative and the nation. Through a multi-faceted analysis of this novel, the complexities of the post-colonial nation as shown by Rushdie are clarified. This research utilizes the analysis of Rushdie’s location as a diaspora writer and Benedict Anderson’s definition of the nation as a construct of the imagination as an entry-point to textual analysis. These two components, in conjunction with additional secondary sources, enhance a close reading of the text analyzing the flaws of universal historical narrative and the false consciousness of nationhood. Though the importance of historical narrative is widely accepted, this research articulates the importance of fictions in contesting historiographic singularity and asserting the plurality of history. From the diasporic, insider-outsider voice, Rushdie is able to deconstruct history and the concept of universal truth by writing from a position between and inside two realities. He presents the problem of a grand historical narrative in a nation as tenuous as India, while also exposing the fictionality and constructed nature of the nation


Keywords


Post Colonialism; Salman Rusdhie, Indian Partition, Nationalism

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