Bildungsroman; satire; farce


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


Urgent; ironic; satirical


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


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.


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 he and the rest of the midnight’s children are sterilized.


Ramram’s prophesy of Saleem’s birth; Saleem’s fever-induced dream of the Widow