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Haroun and the Sea of Stories
Transcript of Haroun and the Sea of Stories
What made it so memorable?
Thinking back as an adult, do you think it had a deeper meaning? The Satanic Verses publication of The Satanic Verses reaffirmed Rushdie's "outsider" status - while he was born and raised a Muslim, his experiences in England made him thoroughly Westernized Reactions Why is it important to keep storytelling alive in a culture and/or society? Born in Mumbai, India - June 19th, 1947 (shortly before independence)
Son of affluent Muslim parents
Anglophile parents sent Rushdie to British public school, Rugby
Young Rushdie was an outcast at school; he incorporates these experiences into his works Are there any circumstances that are acceptable for silence? Do you agree with Butt the Hoopoe - what's the point of free speech if it's limited? attended Cambridge and graduated in 1968
briefly stays in Pakistan with parents then moves back to England within the same year
during his stay in Pakistan, his production of Edward Albee's The Zoo Story was censored for the mention of pork in a Muslim state
begins career as a writer
1974 - publishes unsuccessful Grimus
won Booker Award for Midnight's Children in 1981
Shame in 1981
The Satanic Verses in 1988 which "brought him fame but cost him his freedom" ("Salman Rushdie"). The offenses:
several passages contained allegedly blasphemous references to Muhammad, a Muslim prophet
The fictional character is named Mahound, a derogatory nickname given to Muhammed by 19th century Christian missionaries
Mecca is given a Muslim name meaning darkness
setting is in a brothel with prostitutes named after Muhammad's wives "Islam does not recognize unlimited freedom of expression. Most Muslims are prepared to be broad-minded about most things but never about anything that even remotely touches on their faith." - Said Amir Taheri Backlash Even before publication, Muslims in India read two excerpts and were outraged Rushdie and publishers were threatened Muslims wanted the book banned; many violent demonstrations and book burnings Waldenbooks, B. Dalton and Barnes and Noble removed the book to protect safety of customers The fatwa - "death sentence" Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then Iran's spiritual leader, ordered Rushdie's death, or that of anyone involved in the publication of his book - promised martyrdom to anyone who succeeded The reward was $2.6 million if the assassin was a Muslim; $1 million for a non-Muslim Rushdie learned of the sentence from a BBC journalist "Somehow, I have no memory at all of what I said, but I actually managed to give them some kind of quote. I then came rushing downstairs to tell Marianne and literally our first reaction was to shut the shutters and lock the door....These were innocent days: I wasn't at all used to death threats at the time." Aftermath The fatwa against Rushdie is still in effect
It can only be lifted by the person who imposes it and Khoemeini died only months after declaring Rushdie's death
2001 Iranian government informed Rushdie that they will not pursue the fatwa
2005 - Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reaffirmed the fatwa during the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca
2007 - Rushdie granted knighthood by Queen of England and further angered some Muslims
Despite the threats, Rushdie continues his work as a writer and has recently donated all of his archives to Emory University and agreed to be the school's writer in residence Currently Rushdie is denied a formal apology
13 people killed in Bombay riots
Bookstores are the target of firebombing
Western writers' groups show their support for Rushdie calling the fatwa "international terrorism"
His wife, Marianne Wiggins, leaves him after about a year and takes their son, Zafar
1990 - dedicates Haroun and the Sea of Stories to his son Haroun
The Sea of Stories Part II: Summary Salman Rushdie Part I:
Novel in Context Fictional country, Alifbay --> very sad city/manufactured sadness
Rashid Khalifa - father - famous storyteller
Soraya Khalifa - mother - beautiful singing voice
Haroun Khalifa - son - "young, happy fellow" (15).
Despite constant sadness, Khalifas are content and joyful within their family, until the day something went wrong - Soraya stopped singing.
Haroun always asks his father about the story's existence - Rashid explains but his son is doubtful.
"'Everything comes from somewhere,' Haroun reasoned, 'so these stories can't simply come out of thin air...?" (17). The Khalifas and Alifbay Rashid continues to neglect his wife and continue to tell stories; he tells Haroun "that's much Too Complicated To Explain" (17).
"There's more to you, young Haroun Khalifa, than meets the blinking eye" (19). - suggests that Haroun may have some type of power
Haroun decides he does not like Mr. Sengupta, their neighbor, since he doubts Rashid's story telling..."What's the use of stories that aren't even true?" (20).
Rashid is used as a political pawn, he tells stories for politicians to help win votes Haroun arrives home from school during the first day of the rainy season to find out that his mother has ran off with Mr. Sengupta at 11 a.m. - perhaps Soraya was convinced/brainwashed?
Haroun blames his father and remembers Sengupta's disdain for stories
Rashid Khalifa runs out of stories
Haroun loses concentration after 11 minutes at a time - Mrs. Sengupta attributes it to psychology (p. 24) Haroun and Rashid take a brief trip to the Town of G for a political rally
Rashid describes the Valley of K and Dull Lake and is easily excited by the stories of fairy castles and pleasure gardens
This trip attempts to unite them and Rashid can show Haroun the value of stories
When Rashid takes the stage: "'Ark.' That was all that came out. The Shah of Blah sounded like a stupid cow. 'Ark, ark, ark'" (26).
Rashid is interrogated of sabotage and begs to be sent to the Valley of K for inspiration
Haroun takes on the guilt of doubting his father
This scene can parallel the accusations that Rushdie faced of mocking Islam. Haroun's guilt can also represent Rushdie's desire for freedom of speech. Rashid and Haroun are taken to the bus depot with brief and strange warnings: "IF YOU TRY TO RUSH OR ZOOM, YOU ARE SURE TO MEET YOUR DOOM" (31).
Bus station is chaotic - possible representation of disorder after fatwa is ordered
Seems almost dreamlike, Haroun is possible having a dream
Bus driver looks like a parrot and stutters: "An accident is truly a sad and cruel thing, but, but, but - crash!" (33).
During a crazy bus ride, Haroun begs Butt the driver, to hurry to get to the Valley of K so his Rashid can have some happiness and Butt replies: "Need's a funny fish: it makes people untruthful. They all suffer from it, but they will not always admit" (36).
After they survive the bus ride, Rashid claims he thought they were "khattam-shud" or finished! Haroun is confused since Rashid used to tell a story about Khattam-Shud, the Prince of Silence. -- Haroun is hopeful that is father is getting his power back. They pass through Kosh-Mar and Haroun asks what it means:
"'In the old tongue,' Rashid admitted, 'it was the word for nightmare'" (40). -- represents a foreshadow of will happen to Haroun
Arrive in K and are greeted by politician, Mr. Buttoo (or Snooty Buttoo according to Haroun) -- Haroun does not trust him
Buttoo tries to comfort Rashid about Soraya's departure by saying "there are plenty of other fish in the sea" (43).
Smelly Mist of Misery overcomes Town of K
Snooty Buttoo is being plotted against and needs to have Rashid on his side to help win citizens over
Haroun is ecstatic to see some of the places that his father described in stories; Rashid says it's "only a story" (48) but Haroun decides to test the story and realizes he has the power to change the Mist of Misery by thinking about happy thoughts. Rashid tells Haroun that he is afraid that someone will find out that his powers of storytelling have left him. He is afraid the power will never return until Soraya comes back.
Haroun and his father try to go to sleep for the night but it is difficult since they have peacock and turtle beds. They switch rooms to sleep better.
In the middle of the night, Haroun is awakened by a burglar.
Haroun steals the Disconnector tool and refuses to give it back. Perhaps he feels this is his only chance to help Rashid.
The burglar reveals himself as the Water Genie and Haroun realizes his father was telling the truth and right now, he has simply given up storytelling. The Water Genie is there to shut off the Story Water subscription.
Since Haroun will not give back the tool, Iff the Genie takes him to Gup City where the Story Waters are located. Iff informs Haroun to choose a bird for travel and he picks a Hoopoe, also named Butt. Indicates the possibility of a dream since Haroun applies people/incidents from real world into his dream world.
"Speed is of the essence! - And what humans cannot do quickly enough, they build machines to do faster" (67). Iff takes Haroun to Kahani, Earth's 2nd moon and all Haroun sees is water - he feels tricked.
Iff explains that he must take a short cut for an "avoidance of bureaucratic procedures, a means of cutting the red tape" (69). Another political reference by Rushdie since Iff is afraid of getting into trouble for losing the Disconnector.
Haroun is determined to help his father and will go to any lengths to find the stories again. Iff explains that the Story Waters are being polluted.
Iff explains the Princess Rescue Story and the Land of Chup, the dark side of Kahani. Haroun is frightened when he learns the leader of the Chupwalas is Khattam-Shud, Prince of Silence. "He is the Arch-Enemy of all Stories, even of Language itself. he is the Prince of Silence and the Foe of Speech. At least that's what they say. When it comes to the Land of Chup and its people the Chupwalas, it's all mostly gossip and flim-flam, because it's generations since any of us went across the twilight strip in the perpetual night" (79).
He meets the Floating Gardener and Angel Fish who further explain the extent of polluted Story Waters. (represents the desire to silence) In Gup City, silence is considered rude.
"...no story comes from nowhere; new stories are born from old - it is the new combinations that make them new" (85). example of Rushdie's commentary on the importance of fiction and the value of communication through generations
Haroun meets King Chattergy who explains his daughter, Princess Batcheat is being held captive by Chupwalas.
Guppees send messages to Chupwalas demanding urgency to save the Ocean and Batcheat.
They think they have a spy - ends up being Rashid. "Our own subscriber! - How could he betray and help the Chupwalas? - That poor Princess Batcheat - what did she ever do, except sing so badly it almost split our eardrums? - and she's no oil painting, either, but that's no excuse - you can't trust these Earthlings, that's the truth" (97).
Can be interpreted a few ways:
1. Rushdie uses personal experience about his alleged betrayal to Muslims.
2. Batcheat's captivity parallels the captivity of Rushdie's own wife due to his fatwa
3. Batcheat is also an image of Soraya - her singing is terrible.
4. Perhaps even a statement about not trusting those who have been Westernized. Rashid is embarrassed by the loss of his gift.
Prince Bolo takes Haroun and Rashid to the royal quarters where Haroun notices different interpretations of popular stories, all featuring Bolo (i.e. Bolo and Juliet)
Rashid arrives in Gup City through Rapture - wanting to be inside a dream.
Guppees are a peaceful people but Chups have fallen under the "Cult of Dumbness or Muteness" and Khattam-Shud "opposes Speech for any reason at all" (101).
Gup and Chup go to war
Blabbermouth, a Page, shows Haroun to his room and it is revealed that she is a girl: "You think it's easy for a girl to get a job like this? Don't you know girls have to fool people every day of their lives if they want to get anywhere? You probably had your whole life handed to you on a plate, probably got a whole mouth full of silver spoons, but some of us have to fight" (107). "Iff told me all about it; but your father's here himself now, he can sort out his own problem" (113).
Gup City begins organizing its army and they are debating the importance: Ocean or Batcheat
"Soldiers" keep disputing and Haroun pokes fun at the inability for them to be serious:
"'What an army!' Haroun mused. 'If any soldiers behaved like this on Earth, they'd be court-martialled quick as thinking" (119).
"'But but but what is the point of giving persons Freedom of Speech,' declaimed Butt the Hoopoe, 'if you then say 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).
Bolo is the only one who is certain in what to do - Haroun wonders why and the Floating Gardener tells him, "it is all for love" (121). Haroun questions how the Gup army could ever be successful since there is a shadow on Chup. Butt tells him it's just a "heart shadow".
As they get closer to Chup, the pollution increases.
They come across a shadow warrior and Haroun thinks about the strange adventure that he has been on and how Gup and Chup are major opposites.
Ultimately, he realizes the war they are fighting for is the "...war between Love (of the Ocean, or the Princess) and Death (which was what Cultmaster Khattam-Shud had in mind for the Ocean, and for the Princess, too)" (125).
"'If Guppees and Chupwalas didn't hate each other so,' he thought, 'they might actually find each other pretty interesting. Opposites attract, as they say" (125). The Shadow Warrior cannot speak because of Cultmaster's decrees.
Mudra, the Shadow Warrior, uses the Gesture Language or Abhinaya, which only Rashid can understand -- he wants help and is no longer an ally of Khattam-Shud.
Shadows are considered equals of the people they are joined to. In Chup, a Shadow is even stronger than the person.
Khattam-Shud has two shadows, therefore more control. (We can see Rushdie's possible fears of those who follow harsh leaders.)
Haroun volunteers to spy in the Old Zone while the others try to rescue Batcheat and Rashid reminds us that there is something special about Haroun.
They reach the Old Zone and realize what despair it's in - Khattam-Shud is trying to ruin it.
Haroun and Butt get trapped in the Web of Night - he is defeated as a hero and loses hope. Haroun, Iff and Butt are captured by Web of Night and fear going to see Khattam-Shud.
"We are the Guardians of the Ocean, and we didn't guard it. Look at the Ocean, look at it! The oldest stories ever made, and look at them now. We let them rot, we abandoned them, long before this poisoning. We lost touch with our beginnings, with our roots, our Wellspring, our Source" (146). (represents effects of failure and colonization)
The Web of Night is released and 13 Chupwalas surround Haroun.
They are taken onto the Dark Ship and Haroun is only able to say "Ark".
Two Chupwalas take Hoopoe's mechanical brain (represents benefit of silencing)
They meet Khattam-Shud's shadow and Haroun finds him very familiar (possibly Mr. Sengupta since he doubts the stories) "'Stories have warped the boy's brain,' he pronounced solemnly. 'Now he daydreams and spouts rubbish....Stories have made you incapable of seeing who stands before you" (156).
Haroun is taken further into the Dark Ship.
Khattam-Shud continues to plot on how to poison the Ocean and ruin all the stories. "...for every story, there is an anti-story" (160).
Chupwalas are planning on plugging the entire Ocean but Mali is able to cut the ship's power supply and temporarily stop the operations.
Haroun uses the Bite-a-Lite and blinds the Chupwalas. As he tries to escape, he grabs Hoopoe's brain.
Haroun jumps into the Ocean to escape and realizes there's not much he can do however he notices the source of stories is amazed. Haroun saves Hoopoe by replacing his brain and makes a wish for the sun to hit the Dark Ship.
His wish comes true and the ship begins melting. The Plug also falls apart and fresh stories begin to pour out.
In the meantime, Butt's brain malfunctions and the Angel Fish appear to help tow him into Gup.
Haroun remembers that he's only destroyed the shadow of Khattam-Shud.
Back at the battle zone, Guppees are told they are trespassing and that Batcheat is "tormenting" their ears with her songs.
They try to trick the Guppees by "entertaining" them with juggling...it is really a bomb!
Blabbermouth saves them from the bomb and Bolo is shocked to realize she is a girl. Rashid respects Blabbermouth and asks her for assistance during the battle.
The Guppees remain united and had a common purpose while the Chupwalas are disjointed: "their vows of silence and their habits of secrecy had made them suspicious and distrustful of one another. They had no faith in their generals, either" (185).
The Guppees win the battle and the Chupwalas are grateful. Now they wonder about Haroun's safety.
Guppees rescue Batcheat and the sun begins to rise over Chup City. Khattam-Shud is defeated and peace arrives between the Guppees and Chupwalas.
Chup has a new government with Mudra as the leader.
Haroun and Rashide are reunited. Rashid's Story Waters are restored.
Bolo and Batcheat get married. Haroun is asked to visit the Walrus in the P2C2E House.
No one is willing to come with him and explain why so much machinery was damaged. Everyone is fearful of him.
Haroun feels anxious - he only came to see the Walrus to ask for Rashid's Story Waters to be restored but found himself in a much more serious situation.
Instead, the Walrus and everyone else involved are there to show gratitude to Haroun and grant him whatever he wants.
The Walrus assumes he wants a happy conclusion: "'Happy endings are much rarer in stories, and also in life, than most people think. You could almost say they are exceptions, not the rule'" (201).
He further explains that since they are so rare, the P2C2E House invents happy endings.
All Haroun asks for is some happiness. The next morning, Haroun awakes at the houseboat in K and Rashid mentions he had a strange dream.
Snooty Buttoo comes to get Rashid for the rally.
Rashid begins his speech by telling Haroun and the Sea of Stories.
Haroun realizes his father didn't forget his stories after all. The crowd becomes suspicious of Snooty Buttoo as Rashid talks about Khattam-Shud. Buttoo flees the Valley of K and Rashid takes Haroun home.
It is pouring when they comes home and everyone is happy.
Mrs. Sengupta greets them and says she has gotten rid of her husband and now has a job.
Soraya has also returned home and Rashid and Haroun are suspicious of her involvement with Sengupta: "'I promise. Mr. Sengupta is khattam-shud'" (210). Rushdie, Salman. Haroun and the Sea of Stories. London, Penguin Books: 1990.
"Salman Rushdie." Newsmakers. Detroit: Gale, 1994. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 22 Apr. 2012. Works Cited •Haroun
•Protagonist of the story
•Has an attention span of no more than 11 minutes
•Outspoken child but eventually overcomes his disorder at the end of the story.
•Haroun’s father also known as Shah of Blah and the Ocean of Notions
•Professional story teller
•After his wife leaves him, his ability to tell stories has gone.
•She was tired of his storytelling; leaves him for the neighbor, Mr. Sengupta
•Towards the end of the book she leaves Mr. Sengupta because of his obnoxious behavior and returns to her husband and son. Characters •Mr. Sengupta
•Rashid’s neighbor and elopes with Suraya.
•He had no appreciation for stories.
•Mr. Sengupta’s obese, talkative, emotional and generous wife
•She disowns her married name
•She is the one who announces her husband has elpoed with Soraya
•Butt the mail coach driver
•Parrot looking man who speaks in riddles and accompanies Haroun on his journey
•He is a reckless driver
•A corrupt politician
•He brings Rashid to tell stories to help him be elected Characters •Iff the water genie
•He accompanies Haroun on his journey
•He has a cantankerous personality
•Has a habit of speaking in lists of synonyms
•Has a blue moustache and beard
•Butt the hoopoe
•A mechanical bird that flies Haroun to Kahani
•Can fly at impossible speeds
•Had hairy feathers that seemed to gather around Haroun to protect him during his flight
•The antagonist of the novel
•Name means completely finished
•Ruler of Chup
•He is considered to be “the Prince of Silence and the Foe of Speech (79)
•Captures Princess Batcheat Characters •Princess batcheat
•Princess of the land of Gup
•Daughter of King Chattergy
•Considered to be the damsel in distress
•She is the fiancé of Prince Bolo
•Prince of the land of Gup
•Leads army to Chup in order to save Princess Batcheat
•“… a person with a hairless head of quite spectacular smoothness and shininess, bearing on his upper lip a disappointingly insignificant moustache that looked like a piece of a dead mouse.” (89)
•The techniques of Kahani
•Cheerful intelligent and enthusiastic
•“…they are extremely quick on the uptake” (90) Characters •Mali
•The water gardener
•Princess Batcheat’s father
•Very little role in the story
•General for the Guppee Army
•Often flustered and always attempts to rectify a damaged situation
•Talks openly about his battle plans
•Head of the P2C2E
•Superintendent of the eggheads
•Has a small moustache
•“It’s an account of his thick luxuriant walrus moustache…” (90) Characters •Blabber mouth
•Talkative, intelligent, stubborn girl who despises the princess
•She disguises herself as a boy and is skilled at the art of juggling which Haroun compares to his father’s storytelling
•“I always thought storytelling was like juggling.” (109)
•They talk in rhyme all the time
•They are very talkative
•A Plentimaw fish who helps Haroun as he ventures to the land of Chup
•A Plentimaw fish who also helps Haroun
•The shadow warrior-was second in command to Khattam-Shud, but defects to the Guppa’s side because he disgruntled his master’s plan
•He is an able warrior and skilled in the art of hand to hand combat
•Had a green painted face Characters •The importance of Story
•Conflict begins at the beginning of the novel.
•Both of the people in Rashid’s life, his wife and son. Whom are very important to him.
•They turn on him and tell him his stories do not matter.
•Haroun’s journey is not just to give meaning to his father’s life, but it is to return Rashid’s story to him.
•“Rashid Khalifa was so busy making up and telling stories that he didn’t notice that Soraya no longer sang; which probably made things worse.” “And what with all his rehearsals and performances, Rashid was so often on stage that he lost track of what was going on in his own home.” (16) Themes •The Foolishness of War
•The final battle between the Guppees and the Chupwala’s is Rushdie’s commentary on war fought for political, religious or personal reasons.
•Rushdie creates two armies that go to war for foolish reasons: their inability to communicate.
•This war makes them look foolish.
•In order to protect their noses from freezing over, each soldier puts on a small nose warmer that looks like a clown nose.
•“Really, this is beginning to look like a war between buffoons, thought Rashid the storyteller as he put on his false red nose” (179) Themes •Beauty of Darkness
•In a brief passage, Haroun watches Mudra the Shadow Warrior in a martial dance with his shadow.
•This dance shows Haroun that darkness, and the evil that Haroun believes it represents, is not always meant to oppose light or goodness even if it is opposite.
•Darkness and light do not cancel each other out but instead, complement each other.
•Might becomes as valuable as day.
•“…and that action could be as noble as Words; and that creatures of darkness could be as lovely as the children of the light.” (125) Themes •The Playfulness of Language
•Characters in the novel embody literary devices such as alliteration, rhyme, and orality.
•The rhythms and eccentricities of the language represent that particular traits.
•On another level, Rushdie also commenting on the elusiveness or language.
•He creates words and phrases to highlight the fact that the reader can never quite grasp the true meaning of a text or an author’s intention.
•“I thought Love was supposed to conquer all, Haroun thought but on this occasion it looks as if it could make monkeys-or mincemeat-of the lot of us.” (123) Themes Part III: Characters Part IV: Themes Why are some people afraid to use their words?
How does an allegory help them to convey a message?