Hybrid, Memory and Hybridization of Messianic Time in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children

Abstract

In Salam Rushdie's ‘Midnight's Children’, Saleem Sinai is the hybrid body which can be defined based on the result of comparison between Robert Young's and Homi K. Bhabha's discussion. Born right at the midnight of the independence of India, Saleem Sinai's personal history constituted of his memory is related with Indian History. Being a multi level of hybrid body, Saleem situating in a hybridization concept of time, seeks "messianic" resolution in his life from the third space of the timeless myth and post-colonial discourse time. Therefore, the aim of this paper attempts to explore the messianic power in Saleem Sinai's seemingly destined life especially via his experience of losing his memory. Interpreted via both Bhabha's concept of "third space," paired with Walter Benjamin's discourse of "messianic power" and "afterlife," Saleem's messianic resolution constructs on the hybridization of kinship, and time so as to memory; in other words, his history, which is contrast to National History, in constellation. To conclude, this study may be of importance in explaining that first of all, Saleem's adoption of Adadm Sinai is both hybrid and messianic because of the fact that Saleem replaces Shiva's place to live in his present family; as well as in providing Saleem and the new generation of national India with a hybridization of concept of time, helping them to pursue the "roots" in the hybrid of mythical ancestors' stories and current historical events; last but not the least, Saleem's experience of amnesia which can be seen as the motive of the act of rebuilding his memory, not only shows the allegory but also endows Indian people like him messianic power to live on.



Author Information
Debbie Tsai-chieh Chou, National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan

Paper Information
Conference: LibrAsia2013
Stream: Literature

This paper is part of the LibrAsia2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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