Assignment 2 Imaginary Homeland
Born in Bombay, Rushdie was sent to be educated in England at fourteen and made that country his home. Although his parents were members of the Muslim minority in India, neither they nor he was religious. At fifteen, he lost his faith and found himself drawn towards the great traditions of secular radicalism in politics, socialism; in the arts, modernism and its offspring. He attended Rugby, where he experienced British racism at first hand, and Cambridge, where he discovered the writers who shaped his own aspirations, and then spent several years as an advertising copywriter. Gradually, the experience that he would make his own, the experience that had made him pressed itself upon him as an inevitable subject. Migration losing one country, language, and culture and finding oneself forced to come to terms with another place, another way of speaking and thinking, another view of reality is Salman Rushdie’s great theme; metamorphosis is its metaphor, and reflections on migration and metamorphosis permeate these essays as thoroughly as embodiments of them populate his novels.
The word translation he points out, comes from the Latin for bearing across and having been borne across the world, we are translated, men. It is normally supposed that something always gets lost in the translation; I cling, obstinately, to the notion that something can also be gained. As he writes in an essay on John Berger, then migrant is not simply transformed by his act; he also transforms his new world. As Rushdie has amply demonstrated in his own writing, the gains from this transformation are real and many.
One such gain is a tremendous potential for reinvigorating both the language and the form of the novel. Rushdie’s works overflow with voices, images, and inventions: digressions and disquisitions, anecdotes and myths, mundane details and philosophical meditations, puns, jingles, song lyrics, catchphrases, names, and ideas that only he could have brought together. Drawn from both the world he left behind and the world into which he has been thrust, they expand one's sense of what is enriching one’s sense of what the novel can be and do.
Always try and do too much. Dispense with safety nets. Take a deep breath before you...