This essay has a total of 1437 words and 5 pages.
“Hindu goddesses are traditionally conceived to be strong figures,even indomitable ones. By comparing his female characters to these goddesses, Rushdie attributes them with a force of character.He perceives India as a matriarchy, where maternal power, energy, and love is the means to social cohesion.” (Jennifer Takhar) Durga, the washerwoman who had nursed Saleem’s son in his sickness, is an important figure in Saleem’s life. As we understand from the description of her (pg:445), she is a powerful woman who is an opposite image of the docile Indian woman. She may be representing the power that is repressed in these women. Saleem fears her as she symbolizes the hope that he has lost. “ Her name, even before I met her, had the smell of new things; she represented novelty, beginnings, the advent of new stories, events, complexities, and I was no longer interested in anything new.” (pg:445) She is again the one who foretold Saleem's death. So, these kind of women as witches inspired fear in Saleem. Like Durga, Parvati-the-witch, who is Shiva’s wife, is another important figure. She causes in creating their child which is necessary for the continuation. Mother was seen as a nation. There is parallelism between continuity of nation through having children. Women have roles in productivity; that is why they are important. Parvati acts as somebody restoring order. She helps Saleem return to Delhi by using her magic basket, making him invisible. Parvati reminded Saleem of things he had tried to put out of his mind. (pg:389) So, we can say that she influenced Saleem as other women, as being representator of a nation. When we come to other women in Saleem’s life, for example Mary Pereira. She is the one who gives birth to Saleem; she creates him in both biological sense and metaphorical sense. She changes the babies and at the same time fates. Out of guilt, she attaches her whole destiny to Saleem’s life by becoming his caretaker.She also influences the class positions of the babies. (Saleem and Shiva) The pickling process which is a process of preservation, linked to preservation and continuity of traditions metaphorically, is significant. This food process is under control of females and it is an important source of authority and identity for the women. It is the preservation of the past. The women’s way is practical, oral; it is a way of transmitting tradition we can say. Pickling process is only a symbol of this transmission. So, Mary P., like the other women in Saleem’s life has great effect on Saleem. Reverend Mother, on the other hand, who is the bride behind perforated sheet turns out to be the head of the family. She is also very powerful. She becomes the head after the marriage. She preserves identity of the nation. She is like the other women; asserts her authority in cooking. Her food, for example, revives Ahmed Sinai after freeze. “ She uses food as battleground where she wages her battles against her husband.” (W. Glasgow Philips ’92) We see the monitoring of food, so simple and practical but can influence men. It is this simplicity of mothers, their affection influnces Saleem. To Saleem women, like India, is nothing without its past. “ no escape from past acquaintance. What you were is forever who you are. (pg:368) And thiđs connection to past is through these women. They are the ones who create nation and preserve it like the pickles. Amina, Saleem’s mother, changes and influences his life also. He sees her naked in the bathroom and witnesses her unfaithfullness on the phone. All this causes him to have some kind of explosion in his head and that explosion causes him to hear voices in his head. It is the birth of “Midnight’s Children”. He sees mother, motherland, the nation-India-,earth is not pure as he identifies women with the nation. Identification is between the country and the body of the woman, especially mother. He sees the body of woman as the country and he should protect country as well as honor of mother. But seeing her motheris not pure, the discovery of impurity in mother will bring crisis in his head- the multipl
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