Thursday, October 6, 2011

What the sheet, Rushdie?

I am working with the idea that Rushdie is creating his novel in a format that mimics the ever important sheet.  The “large white bedsheet with a roughly circular hole some seven inches in diameter cut into the center…(stained too, with three drops of old, faded redness.)” (4).   Aadam is only allowed to see his future wife Naseem seven inches at a time, an elbow here, a slightly blushing buttock there, which in time allows him to create an entire woman.  Midnight’s Children is our sheet, the plot being Naseem’s  “shy, but compliant” (23) buttock . We get tantalizing glimpses of the whole picture, piece by piece, Tai, the stinky, ageless, boat man, or Padma, the woman named after the goddess of dung.  Each of these characters, or body parts, works to further us toward the ultimate unveiling.  Just as Aadam revels in the torture and ecstasy of his minute glimpses of Naseem, we, the reader mimic his feelings of frustration and pleasure in the small, slow, circular plot revelations.  The reader may come to be irritated with the novel, just as Naseem becomes an irritant to Aadam, but one still has to grudgingly respect the Reverend Mother for her power and creativity.