Midnight’s Children (End of Book One)

Comment here for the conclusion of Book One.  At the end of this book, Padma excoriates Saleem for having, in her view, misled her the whole time about his family.  What do you make of her complaint?  Do you side with her or with Saleem’s justification?

Remember, optional midterm revisions are due on May 1st.

Contemporary British novelists (like, in his way, Rushdie):
Iris Murdoch (major work Under the Net)
Kazuo Ishiguro (major work Remains of the Day)
Ian McEwan (major work Atonement)
Zadie Smith (major work White Teeth)
Muriel Spark (major work The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie)
A. S. Byatt (major work Possession)
Martin Amis (major work Money)
John Fowles (major work The French Lieutenant’s Woman)

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13 Responses to “Midnight’s Children (End of Book One)”

  1. gvelella says:

    I do agree maybe a little with Padma. Maybe she should have been told. On the other hand, it may not even be her business. It’s as if he were adopted, and they are still his family. Not that he is, but what if he WERE ashamed about being switched at birth? He’s entitled to that secret for sympathetic reasons, or any other kind of reason.

  2. jeanine says:

    I’m not sure who I agree with but I am more on the side of Saleem . Yes he may have misled her but it’s not his fault that he was switched at birth. They are his family but just not blood related and I don’t see anything wrong with that. These people are the only people he knows.

  3. Padma’s response is justifiable because she has been taking care of him this whole time and felt misled when she found out about his switch at birth. It can be argued that the people Saleem has been talking about are not his biological family and that he should not be so influenced by their past because it is not part of his true lineage. Another side of this argument is the family that raised him is truly his family. Padma’s reaction is a little coarse because usually the theme of “adoption” is tough because even the adoptee most of the time has the search for their real parents because they want to find answers. I also have to remind myself that Padma is uneducated and her response is a little selfish because it is a sensitive topic.

  4. javeriasid says:

    I also agree with Saleem because its not his fault he was switched at birth. I believe that the people who raise you, are you real parents. And I also believe that your environment can greatly influence your fate.

  5. mhealy101 says:

    In this case I would have to agree with Saleem. Especially after he states,” We all found that it made no difference! I was still their son:they remained my parents. In a kind of collective failure of imagination, we learned that we simply could not think out way out of our pasts…” . Even though his mother and father are not his biological parents they still raised him from birth. This happens all the time , even in todays world , so I dont see how Padma’s arguement has any justification to it.

  6. khaff88 says:

    I have to agree with Saleem on this one, even though he was switched at birth and his “parents” aren’t biologically his he can still call him his parents; it wouldn’t be fair to call him a liar for something he is completely aware of. Yes, he thinks that his not-biological father’s misfortunes are his misfortunes as well, but any person would think that if they were to believe that they were their son.

  7. I can relate with Saleems because it is my believe that a father or mother is whom raised the person. He seems quite optimistic person to me with a mind set purpose.min addition to the above, Saleem’s power can be also describe as having a different set of mind( knowledge than her) so this can explain her reaction. I must also add that I don’t know where the story is heading.

  8. Jamie Rohr says:

    It is kind of hard to decide who is right in this situation. On a very technical level, The people Saleem has been calling his family isnt actually his family. But on every other level, he is their son. He was raised under their roof, learned from them. It is just a question of genetics and what you actually think makes you family. I side with Saleem I think, because while yes genetics ultimately determine who your family is, its really so much more than that.

  9. GordonWTam says:

    We can definitely see where some of Padmas anger at the “lie” is. He is incredibly detail oriented, told her a whole story about a family and neglecting one fact that it is not his biological one. She was really interested the whole time, urging him to go on with the narrative, and feels a little slighted. I think it also has to do with their strange relationship also, since Saleem appears to have no interest in Padma, and that feeling of unrequited love spills over into her anger at his “lie”. That being said, I myself would side with Saleems justification since he does seem to care deeply for the people he calls his family.

  10. I can relate to Saleems justification because it is my believe that a father or mother is whom raises the person. He seems quite optimistic person to me

  11. marissae17 says:

    I’m not 100% sure who I agree with yet because I feel like I need to know more of the story. However, as of right now I agree with Saleems justification because even though they were not his biological parents, they are the family who raised him. It is who he has known his whole life.

  12. Erika says:

    I’m not sure if I agree fully with Padma. Saleem seemed as if he were born to be a man on a mission. The fact that he was switched at birth was not a misfortune at all in his eyes, it was to his advantage that his luck had changed. Yes it may have been wrong in her eyes but, as in our discussion last week,this plays into the idea that Saleem presented himself as a sort of God-like figure. He was born for a specific purpose. She didn’t understand what his mission was, all she could see was the truth that was masked by a lie.

  13. cbergmann says:

    I agree with Saleem’s justification. Saleem states, “..children were being born who were only partially the offspring of their parents—the children of midnight were also the children of the time: fathered, you understand, by history” (132). What Saleem means is due to the circumstances of his birth, it does not really matter that he was switched with another “midnight’s child”. All the children born at that time did not fully belong to their parents anyway. These children partly belonged to India and history. By this logic, Saleem meant no harm by leading Padma to believe that the family he spends 133 pages describing is his own blood. Saleem reasons that he is not fully his real parent’s, the Sinai’s, nor history’s. Instead, Saleem is a combination of all three. I think Padma’s complaint is not justified because families are not always defined by blood relation, but by presence in one’s life.