Postcolonial Theme in Salman Rushdie's ' the Ground Beneath Her Feet'

Topics: Colonialism, Salman Rushdie, Postcolonialism Pages: 7 (2459 words) Published: April 10, 2011
Postcolonialism literature is a literary genre that deals with literature evident in countries that were once under the colonial rule of other countries, specifically Britain, France and Spain as foremost. The phenomenon of Postcolonialism, with all its subtexts and nuances, is evident not just in literature but also the philosophy, media, history and even human geography of that cultural era. The prominent feature of Postcolonial literature is the destabilization of the Western perspective of universality and the creation of the subaltern voice. It ascertains a perception opposing that of the hitherto dominant discourse established by the colonizers. It challenges the inherent assumptions believed by the West in affirming their superiority over colonized. Postcolonialism also deals with issue of cultural identity in colonized societies. The struggle to maintain a nationalist identity after its divorce with colonized civilization has proved to be a dilemma faced by many writers of this era. The ways in which the writers articulate and reclaim that identity while still maintaining strong connections with the colonizer is one of the themes of Postcolonial Literature. Postcolonialism has shown to be a tangled confusion of theories and ideas regarding the assertion of the identity of the marginalized because the post colonial world is full of half-finished processes of everyday functioning, contradictions and hybridization. In a way, therefore, Postcolonialism is a continuation of Colonialism, while constantly metamorphosing into a Self of its own. Celebrated postcolonial author Salman Rushdie’s novel, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, is a mixture of all these elements seen through a span of almost six decades and travelling through the pre- and post Independence streets of Bombay, the transitional period in Britain and finally, America, the land of dreams. The Ground Beneath Her Feet, is a near epic tale of love, music and the unknown. It primarily revolves around the phenomenal love between Ormus Cama and Vina Apsara and its extraordinary and touching form as seen through the narrative of their childhood and lifelong friend Umeed ‘Rai’ Merchant. A perspective that is highly ironically in its form because of Rai’s love for Vina itself, which takes a backseat as he employs a objective yet a somewhat romantic voice to their exceptional tale. When Ormus met Vina, history was written. On these lines, thrives the plot of the book. Armed with an assortment of oddball characters who propel their conjoined destinies and a considerable symbolism of mythological references, the story of Ormus, Vina and Rai is written. Born into a family of a neurotic forbiddance to music, Ormus struggles to live with his musical genius and insuppressible talent. A life followed by tragedy and gruesome burdens of the past, Nissa Shetty migrates to India to live with oppressive relatives. Soon after, she sheds the painful past and adopts the life of Vina Apsara. With her magically compelling voice and love of music, she transforms Ormus Cama’s life into a musical frenzy. The plot twists and turns into many directions all the while quoting innumerable allusions into Greek, Roman, Hindu, and various mythologies. The novel is full of drama, controversies, engaging twists, while the love triangle of Ormus, Vina and Rai is oddly heartbreaking. The Ground Beneath Her Feet was published in 1999.

Language of the novel:
Rushdie narrates his book on thread of the Greek mythological tale of Orpheus and Eurydice, their love, her death, his descent into hell to resurrect her and its consequent failure. The Ground Beneath Her Feet is a modern rendition of the tale with various other Apollonian and Dionysian symbolisms. This trait of the use of epic metaphors is a characteristic trend of colonial literature. The tone of the book is nostalgic to begin with. Throughout the book, the narrator shows a flair for the dramatic. The language is complex and employs a...

Bibliography: 1. New national and post-colonial literatures. An introduction, (Clarendon press-oxford.1996).
2. In Another Country: Colonialism, Culture, and the English Novel in India: Joshi, Priya (Columbia University Press, New York 1995)
3. Postcolonial Imaginings: Pulner, David (Edinburgh University Press, 2000)
4. Step Across The Line: Salman Rushdie (Jonathan Cape 2002)
5. ( Shape-changing in Hell: Metamorphosis and Katabasis in Rushdie’s The Ground Beneath Her Feet - Rachel Falconer
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