the previous sections, we
mentioned Delhi and poor people’s desperate conditions. In this
you’ll find a short analysis of a passage taken from a well known
Salman Rushdie .[E1] [S1][F1].
this passage because it offers a cruel but
exact glimpse of Indian poverty.
"There have been many, many cities of
Delhi and the Old Fort, that
blackened ruin, is a Delhi so ancient that, beside it, our own Old City
is merely a babe in arms. (...)As she enters these causeways, where
poverty eats away at the tarmac like a drought, where people lead their
invisible lives (...)something new begins to assail her.Under the
pressure of these streets, which are growing narrower and
narrower by the minute, more crowded by the inch, she has lost
her "city eyes" . When you have city eyes you cannot see the invisible
people, (...) the beggars in box cars don't impinge on you , and the
concrete sections of future drainpipes don't look like dormitories. My
mother lost her city eyes and the newness of what she was seeing made
her flush , newness like a hailstorm pricking her cheeks. Look my God,
those beautiful children have black teeth! Would you believe ...girl
children baring their nipples! How terrible, truly! And Allahtobah,
heaven forfend, sweeper women with -no!- how dreadful! -collapsed
spines,and bunches of twigs, and no caste marks; untouchables, sweet
Allah!...and cripples everywhere, mutilated by loving parents to ensure
them of a lifelong income from begging. ...yes beggars, in boxcars,
grown men with babies' legs, in crates on wheels, made out of discarded
roller- skates and old mango boxes, (...) Children tugging at the pallu
of her sari , heads everywhere staring at my mother , who thinks, it's
like being sorrounded by some terrible moster, a creature with heads
and heads and heads; but she corrects herself, no, of course not a
monster, these poor poor people- what then? A power of some sort, a
force which does not know its strength, which has perhaps decayed into
impotence through never having been used....
No, these are not decayed people ,
despite evrything. "I'm frightened ", my mother finds herself thinking
, just as a hand touches her arm. Turning , she finds herself looking
into the face of -impossible!- a raggedy hand and says in a voice
like a high foreign song, "Give something, Begum Sahiba..." and repeats
and repeats like a stuck record while she looks with embaressement into
a white face with long eyelashes and a curved patrician nose-
embaressement , because he was white, and begging was not for
teacher wants to
help students to better
visualize where the text takes place;
help students to reflect on
the Indian linguistic situation and on influences that British
exerted on it;
contextualize the work by
giving some essential information about the author and the plot.
students should be able to
catch some specific
information in a literary text
analyse the background
description and become aware of how the background can mirror the
point out the figure of
speech used to make the description more vivid;
recognize what kind of
narrator or narrative technique is employed to tell the story;
list the characters in
which the main theme is materialized;
student is given a copy of the text they are going to analyse: A
The Book One, 6th chapter “
Many headed monster”, taken from Midnight’s Children by Rushdie.
teacher shows an Indian map to the students and asks them to point out
teacher asks them if and why India can be defined an English Speaking
(Which is the first language? Where did it become independent? -This
meaningful as the plot began at the stroke of midnight on 15th
August, 1947, at the precise moment of India’s independence-. )
explains that they are going to read a
passage taken from “Midnight’s Children” by Salman Rushdie.
teacher briefly introduces the author and gives some information about
(when and where the story began , who the main characters are, what the
does the episode take place?
does the narrator describe the city, in general, and the streets, in
sensations does this description evoke?
is the narrator?
kind of narrator is she?
a certain point the narrator looses her city eyes and realizes all the
the situation, what metaphor describes this sudden painful awareness?
the narrator looses her city eyes, what does she notice?
the vivid description given by the narrator.
narrator uses a terrible, but incisive metaphor to describe all the
realities she experiences. What is it?
it in the text.
author doesn’t use exclusively the organs of sight to describe the
also another sense. Which one? When?