Postcolonial Echoes in Haroun and the Sea of Stories: An Allegory Within An Allegory

Postcolonial Echoes in Haroun and the Sea of Stories: an Allegory within an Allegory

“There’s more to you, young Haroun Khalifa, than meets the blinking eye.” This oft touted acclaim by the father of the young protagonist of Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories can also be applied to the novel as a whole. Often read as a straightforward allegory condemning the repressive nature of tyrannical rule, it is virtually impossible not to superimpose the restrictive conditions of the fatwa levied against Rushdie onto the oppressively silent environment forced upon the Chupwalas by the despotic Khattam-Shud—himself clearly a metaphorical portrait of Rushdie’s chief persecutor, ...

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as the name implies, quiet—is undeniably an allegorical war between speech and silence, good and evil, freedom and repression and between democracy and dictatorship. The young hero, Haroun, ultimately defeats the tyrannical Khattam-Shud and saves the Ocean of the Streams of Stories, ensuring a never-ending collection of stories and tales. Thus, it seems, freedom of speech and creativity are rescued from fatal censorship—a delightfully metaphorical testimonial of the ultimate victory of the writer, Rushdie, over the forces that sought to silence him.

A majority of critics and readers are satisfied that Haroun and the Sea of Stories is simply an allegorical tale of the author’s own war against censorship. There is however, as Rashid Khalifa would say, more to the story than meets the blinking eye. An allegorical reading of the novel clearly honors traditional Western values and ideals, offering the story as a typically moral tale in which good naturally triumphs over evil. The ...

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exposes the physical and psychological damage caused by the tyranny of colonialism and imperialism.

An allegory is “a narrative in which the agents and action, and sometimes the setting as well, are contrived so as to make coherent sense on the ‘literal,’ or primary level of signification, and also to signify a second, correlated order of agents, concepts and events” (Abrams, 7). It is certainly true that the second level of signification in Haroun and the Sea of Stories points to an allegory supporting Western democracy and freedom of speech, however it must also be noted that there are elements of the story that lend themselves to a different interpretation—a consideration of the ...

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Added: 11/25/2012 07:23:10 PM
Submitted By: irvinebubble
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2200
Pages: 8

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