The Futility Of Meaning In Midnight's Children

3484 words - 14 pages

Salman Rushdie uses Saleem’s failed attempts at establishing importance through connections to portray the futility of achieving life’s meaning. In Midnight’s Children, Saleem attempts to demonstrate the meaningfulness of his life through his all-reaching connections, despite this being impossible unless Saleem was omnipotent. A connection is simply a relationship with something else, and if one has a relationship with everything, then that person is related to every existent importance, and this is what Saleem attempts
By showing how Saleem determines the meaning of life, Rushdie demonstrates that we create that meaning. As Saleem tries to establish importance through the connections of ...view middle of the document...

By connecting the stories in a way that would leave a cliff-hanger, they caused the King to allow her to live another day. Because of this, it can be said that the connecting of the stories is more important that the stories themselves. Also, it would not have mattered how interesting the stories were, since if Scheherazade did not connect them properly the whole attempt at preserving her life would have been worthless. This leads to the conclusion that if Saleem is to fulfill a meaning in life, the stories he tells must connect or else he will fail. But this is what happens to Saleem, and the first one that fails is the connection to his family.
It is first important to outline why Saleem decides to make the connections to family that he does. Since Saleem first communicates his struggle to the audience in relation to One Thousand Days & One Thousand Nights, it points to him saying that he must create his own story quickly if he – like Scheherazade – is to give his life meaning. However, this raises the question of how to create one’s story as to make it meaningful. The reason that this is a problem is because everyone has some story of their lives, yet people do not see any anonymous person as having a “meaningful” life. So the question really is “how to I make my life meaningful, as opposed to the large number of people on Earth who are not seen – by the majority of people – to have lived meaningful lives?.” Instead, it is the extraordinary (with emphasis on the extra-ordinary) lives which are seen as meaningful. This point is developed in the novel through Saleem’s connection to family
This contrast between ordinary and extraordinary is commonly associated with upper class and lower class as it is undeniable that without money, the lower class all live very similar lives – making them anonymous. Therefore it is this connection - to the meaningful upper class – that Saleem tries to establish first. This would distinguish Saleem from the crowds of poor anonymous families from the slums, and make his family history extraordinary – therefore this is the connection he holds to for the first 130 pages of the novel.
"My grandfather's nose: nostrils flaring, curvaceous as dancers. Between them swells the nose's triumphal arch, first up and out, then down and under, sweeping in to his upper lip with a superb...flick"
He associates himself with his grandfather, Adam Aziz, by associating his own large “cucumber nose” with Aziz’ described above. The connection to Aziz, by default, makes Saleem associated to that whole family, and consequently each of their connections. It is important to note that Aziz’ family would be considered extraordinary do to their connections to important figures. This includes anti-partition leaders (Mian Abdullah & Nadir Khan) and high ranking army personnel (Major Zulfikar). This connection to a distinguished family, though, becomes undermined:
“Padma wails angrily, “you tricked me. Your mother, you called...

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