full title Midnight’s Children
author Salman Rushdie
type of work Novel
genre Bildungsroman; satire; farce
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