Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Birth of Indian Presence in England According to The Satanic Verses

This phrase describes the plane crash and the manner in which Saladin Chamcha and Gibreel Farishta, two Indians, enter England. These two men enter England by way of falling from the sky and miraculously surviving their landing in the English Channel. It is a very unorthodox way of travelling, but this is a very unorthodox novel.
Like other sentences in this part of the book describing their fall from the wrecked plane, this sentence likens their fall and entrance into England to the birth of a baby. “The aircraft cracked in half…an egg yielding its mystery” is describing the birth though not necessarily of a human baby as we are not born by hatching out of an egg. Anyway, the plane cracking in half is likened to an egg hatching and something being born. Saladin and Gibreel are being born into England. The “egg yielding its mystery” is similar to these men being born into England and a baby being born into the world. When a baby is born, the baby knows nothing about the world he/she is entering, just like their parents know nothing about them. Similarly, with these two Indian men going to England, they are arriving in a foreign land that they know nothing about, and the English most likely know nothing about them. Hence, we have our “mystery”.
The passage also suggests that their entrance into England is like fertilization as well as birth. The “seed-pod giving up its spores” is the plane-wreck introducing new genes into the English gene-pool. Here we have two Indian men arriving in London and they are described as “spores”. They are capable of spreading their foreign and “mysterious” genes throughout London like the spores of plant would spread it genes and reproduce.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed the discussion we had concerning your post and the nature of the metaphors Rushdie uses. I thought more about the "seed-pod" and how it relates not only to the dissemination of identities which often occurs in the post-colonial setting but also to the lack of agency inherent in the actions of immigrants. The section for today's class, "The Angel Azrael," delves much deeper into the struggle of immigrants to act on their own volition in foreign lands. They seem to fall into a mechanical and, as Rushdie puts it, zombie-like routine of superficial assimilation. In an attempt to become British, the immigrants emulate the routines of the common British citizen, thereby abandoning their own autonomy. This is quite similar to spores bursting from a seed-pod in that neither seems to possess the ability to control its actions.