Sunday, October 9, 2011

"And we all had superpowers. But mine were the best."

            That’s basically what Saleem implies throughout all of Midnight’s Children. While other kids in the Midnight Children’s Conference (aka the Indian X-Men) can walk through walls, fly, and travel through time, Saleem considers himself superior because of his telepathic powers and the fact that he was born EXACTLY on the stroke of midnight. Even beyond his own abilities, Saleem seems very focused on himself. He loves to mention how many women he’s slept with (Parvarti the Witch, the girls during his army days, etc.) and how in love Padma is with him, which is kind of remarkable considering he describes himself as “bald, blotch-faced, missing part of a finger, and big-nosed” (I would just like to point out that Professor Xavier was also the leader of his mutant team, telepathic, and bald, thus proving hair impedes our true superhuman and leadership abilities).
Saleem also considers himself the primary cause for many major events in not only his family, but all of India, (the 1957 riots in Bombay being caused by him falling off his bike into a protest for example). His reasons for considering himself the catalyst may just be a reflection of Rushdie’s attempt to turn an individual’s life into the history of India, but it still gives us the impression that Saleem is arrogant to think so in the first place.
Maybe I’m just skeptical of autobiographies (in this case, fictional). I mean, if your story’s so great, why are you the one having to write it down? In any case, Saleem thinks pretty highly of himself for being the baby who got mentioned in the paper next to the cut-out coupons for laundry detergent…