author · Salman Rushdie
type of work · Novel
genre · Bildungsroman; satire; farce
language · English
time and place written · England, late 1970s and early 1980s
date of first publication · 1981
publisher · Penguin Books
narrator · Saleem Sinai
point of view · This novel is narrated in the first person. The narrator is subjective, though he claims omniscience as he speculates on the motives and thoughts of all the major characters
tone · Urgent; ironic; satirical
tense · Saleem, age thirty, generally narrates in the present tense. Most of the events he describes, however, occur in the past, at which point Saleem switches to the past tense.
setting (time) · From 1915 to 1977
setting (place) · India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh
protagonist · Saleem Sinai
major conflict · The battle between Saleem, who represents creation, and his archrival, Shiva, who represents destruction, encapsulates the major conflicts of the novel.
rising action · The birth of Parvati and Shiva’s son, which occurs at the same moment that Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declares a State of Emergency.
climax · Shiva and the army’s destruction of the magicians’ ghetto, where Saleem has been living with his wife and her son
falling action · After his home is destroyed and his wife is killed, Saleem is taken to the Widow’s hostel, where heand the rest of the midnight’s children are sterilized.
themes · The single and the many; truth of memory and narrative; destruction vs. creation
motifs · Snakes; leaking; fragmentation
symbols · Silver spittoon; the perforated sheet; knees and nose
foreshadowing · Ramram’s prophesy of Saleem’s birth; Saleem’s fever induced dream of the Widow
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