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The Prophet's Hair
Transcript of The Prophet's Hair
by Salman Rushdie
Lengua y Cultura III 2013
His most popular novel was The Satanic Verses (1988)
The novel was partly inspired by the life of Muhammad.
The Muslim community labelled it as blasphemous.
It was banned in India.
Salman lived in seclusion for nine years because Iran´s Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa that called Rushdie to be killed.
The Prophet's Hair
By Salman Rushdie
Ahmed Salman Rushdie
Born in Bombay (now Mumbai, India) on June 19, 1947.
His father was a Cambridge-educated businessman.
His mother was a school teacher in Bombay
He was educated at a Bombay private school
At the age of 14 he went to England to attend a Rugby School
He studied History at King´s Collegue, Cambridge.
He worked in tv and as a copywriter for an advertising agency.
He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2007 for services to literature.
The Prophet´s Hair is based on story of the theft of a relic containing a hair of the Prophet Muhammad. The stolen relic is found by a moneylender, Hashim.
Instead of returning it to the mosque from which it was taken, he keeps it. Under its influence, this previously secular Muslim becomes orthodox to the point of extremism and hurt his family by adopting it.
His son, Atta, tries to take the hair back to Mosque, but at the last minute he finds out that the hair is no longer with him because there is a hole in his pocket. He also tries to engage the services of a professional thief to steal the relic. Then Huma comes up with another plan, and decides that it will have to be stolen by hiring a thief, who takes the hair amid a scene of carnage.
At the end of story, Hashim accidentally kills his own daughter, but he does not realize what he has done until he turns the light on. Finally, the thief is hunted and shot by the police, but his four crippled sons and blind wife have miraculously been cured by their contact with the relic.
The story is concerned with an iconic object, the hair, and its relocation from a holy place, the shrine, to the profane space of the outside world, then to a secret hiding place in the moneylender´s locked study, and finally back to the shrine again.
The story takes place in Srinagar, a valley in Kashmir, India in the beginning of the 20th century.
Historical in nature (based on the theft of Profeth Muhammad´s hair.
Contains elements of Magical Realism:
-a literary genre in which magical features and storylines appear and are accepted as everyday reality.
STYLE OF NARRATION: It is a flashback style of narration that starts from Atta´´s search for a professional burglar.
The narrator uses various methaphores along the story. The depiction of a dark and desolated landscape where Atta
is brutally beaten creates an oppressive atmosphere that somehow predicts a sequence of terrible events.
religion: a powerful tool in the hands of rulers
deities or objects:
money, hypocricy of religion.
Money: the thieves who beated and robbed Atta, the flower-vendor who helped Atta in return of a reward. Sheikh Sin – the Thief of Thieves, whom Huma hired to steal the hair from her father.
Hashim – the moneylender is under the spell of money when he is first introduced into the story.
His family – also under the spell of money, he and his wife made sure to instill the values of money in their children.
Hair as a religious relic :The hair is a famous relic which is regarded as a symbol of the sacred image of the Prophet Muhammad. It was restored in its shrine at Hazratbal mosque.
Hair as a secular object : The relocation of the relic changed the hair's meaning. However, it's not the object itself which changes the meaning, but human beings. Hashim, the moneylender, changes the relic from the religious value to a secular object. Even though the hair's meaning has been changed, its mysterious magic still exists. Influenced by the misappropriated relic, Hashim leads the family into carnage (massacre).
Hair as a human heart : It may reveal the truth inside human beings. While having dinner with his family, Hashim gushed the awful truth in his mind: how he thought about his marriage, his children, and revealed the existence of a mistress. He, finally,got many things off his chest.
Hashim: the protagonist, he is the father of Atta and Huma.
Atta: he is the son of Hashim
Huma: she is the daughter of Hashim
Sheik Sin: he is the thief whom Huma hires
: was a religious, political, and military leader from Mecca who unified Arabia into a single religious polity under Islam. He is believed by Muslims to be a messenger and prophet of God. Muhammad is almost universally considered by Muslims as the last prophet sent by God for mankind. While non-Muslims regard Muhammad to have been the founder of Islam.
Born in about 570 CE in the Arabian city of Mecca, Muhammad was orphaned at an early age and brought up under the care of his uncle Abu Talib. He later worked mostly as a merchant, as well as a shepherd, and was first married by age 25. Being in the habit of periodically retreating to a cave in the surrounding mountains for several nights of seclusion and prayer, he later reported that it was there, at age 40, that he received his first revelation from God. Three years after this event Muhammad started preaching these revelations publicly, proclaiming that "God is One", that complete "surrender" to Him is the only way acceptable to God, and that he himself was a prophet and messenger of God, in the same vein as other Islamic prophets.
- Short story analysis of The Prophet´s Hair by Salman Rushdie. Abdul Basith. June 21, 2012.web. August 18, 2013.
-Salman Rushdie. About.comGuide. Mark Flanagan.Web. August 18, 2013. ¬http:// contemporarylit.about.com/es/authors/p/rushdie.html¬
-Modern/ Post Modern English Literature. Cecilia Liu. Web. August 18, 2013. ¬http://www.eng.fju.edu.tw/iacd_20035/c_pm_lit/prophethair.html¬
-The Prophet´s Hair. "Salman Rushdie". Web. August 18, 2013. ¬referaty.atlas.sk/cudzie-jazyky/anglictina/?print=1¬