Midnight’s Children and Postmodernism




I was recently reminded of Salmon Rushdie’s book Midnight’s Children. It tells the story of Saleem who was born at the exact moment when India gained its independence. It is considered one of the great works of post colonial writing and of Magical realism. I was reminded of it when we were studying post modern film this year.  Many of the characteristics of a postmodern narrative are also used in this novel. Just like the film Good Bye Lenin! by Wolfgang Becker the story in Midnight’s Children mirrors the real events of what is taking place in India. I wanted to take a look at these two texts in order to show their similarities and to also show the elements of postmodernism in both of these texts.

They both use politics as a major theme in telling their story. There are many real and fictional historical facts mixed in together. Good Bye Lenin is set in Germany and it takes place during the time that the Berlin wall comes down. It is a very significant time for Germany. Both of these stories use metafiction in the narrative. There are also elements of Pastiche and nostalgia in both stories. Rushdie evokes a longing for an old India where they could dream of independence in an idealised way. Alex in Good Bye Lenin! is also trying to regain a history that is long gone. His mother Christiane also has an idealised version of her home in her mind but Germany has now radically changed and despite his efforts Alex cannot go back to that past history. Continue reading