"Midnight's Children" by Salman Rushdie as a Post-Colonial Novel

Essay by Bille August 2007

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For a writer who has one foot in the postmodern and the other in the postcolonial world, it is difficult to separate the different strands: More so, because postmodern andpostcolonial agendas collide in different respects. In what ways is post_colonialismsimilar to or different _m postmodernism?Postcolonialism, like postmodernism, is a critique of modernism. But unlikepostmodernism,it attacks modernism from a post-colonial angle. While postmodernism isa reaction against modernism, post-colonialism is an attempt to show the irrelevance ofthe western division of pre-modem, modem and postmodern to non-Western societies. Inevery field, postmodernism attempts to reverse, extend or project the movement ofmodernism. This could be seen in the postmodern return to history, in its ethic ofindeterminacy, or in the rediscovery of intuition and imagination in preference tomodernity's techno rationalism. But the most important aspect of postmodemism is thecollapse of universalizing claims of modernism. This opens a space view other than thewestern. This postmodern space has been liberating for postcolonial ism for the simplereason that postcolonialism has been particularly concerned with revealing that what theWest passes off as universal.

Thus post modem dictums are actually its own models. Forexample, to be modern was to move in the direction of the West. This has been rejectedby postcolonialism, which shows that ditrerent people can become modern in differentways. Postmodern fiction is a natural extension of modem Western fiction just aspostmodernism is a growth out of modernism. Both reflect ,and are shaped by the trendsof their times. Just as it is believed that non-Western societies should trace the Westernroute towards modernity, non Western fiction is expected to follow the movements inWestern fiction.

While postcolonial fiction is bound to have some Western influences, it has grown inresponse to very different socia-political currents. Helen Tiffin made 4 very importantdistinction between postmodernism and post-colonialispl when she pointed out thatunlike postmodernist...