The general idea of sharing an opinion about a global issue through fiction has appeared in a variety of novels. Throughout Rushdie’s novel, he uses names that allude to a reference for readers to compare and contrast the person or place to. For instance, Rashid, the protagonist’s father, is being compared to Rushdie himself. When Rushdie wrote the Satanic Verses he, like Rashid was “as stuffed with cheery stories as the sea was full of glumfish” (15), but to the Ayatollah, “his rivals, he was the Shah of Blah. (15) Khattam-Shud is quite openly associated with Khomeini, the same man who issued Rushdie the fatwa destining him to a completely silent life just like Khattam-Shud does to his citizens in the land of Chup. The Sea of Stories itself is a symbol of free speech and the great effects of cultural identity. In the land of Chup, where the Sea of Stories is being polluted and wasted, there is no happiness, but in the land of Gup, there is a sense of nationalism which allows the citizens to work together and consequently overthrow Khattam-Shud.
When the source is found, “Haroun watched, the glowing flow of pure, unpolluted stories came bubbling up from the very heart of the Kshsni. There were so many Streams of story, of so many different colours, all pouring out of the Source at once, that it looked like a huge underwater fountain of shining white light. ” (167) The description displays Rushdie’s vision of a perfect society or a Utopia where people with unique identities come together to form a cultural identity to create a beautiful world, just like separate stands unite to form a beautiful story in the story.
Background of the author/text: Edith Lopez Tiempo was a poet, fictionist, teacher, literary critic, and one of the finest Filipino writers in English whose works are characterized by a remarkable fusion of style and substance, of craftsmanship and insight. She was born on April 22, 1919 in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya. Her poems are intricate verbal transfigurations of significant experiences as ...
Quite surprisingly, this imagery is added into a children book, but in reality is being used to directly challenge Rushdie’s persecutors, the very reason why the fatwa was issued in the first. Through the similarity of names and descriptions, it is evident that Rashid’s adventure is a coded journal of Rushdie’s predicament after being issued the fatwa, during which he longed for reunion with his family and his talent of writing.
Through Haroun and the Sea of Stories, opinions are spread about global controversies and issues, specifically censorship and the freedom of speech and how these two can either restrain a community or allow it to flourish. To elaborate, when Haroun gazes down at the “sounds of heated quarreling” (118) coming from the army, Butt the Hoopoe declaims “’But but but what is the point of giving persons Freedom of Speech if you then say that they must not utilize same?
And is not the power of speech the greatest power of all? Then surely it must be exercised to the full? ’” (119) The entire novel is a conflict in which the opposed paradigms of artistic desolation and creativity are set up against each other. This concept which prevades throughout the story, has various specific questions, which Rushdie would have also battled with when a fatwa was issued against him as an unsuccessful measure to censor his artistic and free voice that was conveyed through The Satanic Verses.
The attack on free speech, “the greatest power of all all” (119) which emerges throughout the story is first embodied through Mr. Sengupta and then again by Khattam-Shud, the personification of negation and silence. In essence, Rushdie uses fiction to play to role of personifying his opinions about an Utopian society, his thoughts about Khomeini and fatwa that was issued to him thoughtlessly through the characters’ personalities and the setting of the story.