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So what is this fatalism stuff anyway? Fatalism is a philosophical viewpoint that believes that things are inevitable and it makes no sense to resist. Fatalists believe that all of your actions are predetermined, and even if they aren't, all actions lead toward a predetermined end. Sounds like some depressing stuff, huh? Throughout Midnight's Children we are told that characters will die, and that things are inevitable. But we are also presented with alternatives and different futures. Saleem sure seems invested in telling us that there is no way to change the future, but we're not so sure that he's right in the end.

Questions About Philosophical Viewpoints: Fatalism

  1. In Midnight's Children Padma is not fatalistic, but Saleem is. What about these characters changes their position on fate?
  2. Saleem says that his birth was predicted by soothsayers. But Amina was actually carrying Shiva when the predictions were made. Were the soothsayers predicting Saleem, or were they predicting Shiva and Mary changed their fate?
  3. Based on the contradictory attitudes towards fate in the novel, do you think Rushdie expects us to believe in fate or reject it? Why?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

No matter how much you try to fight fate in Midnight's Children, you can't escape it.

Everyone in the novel might say that fate is inevitable, but the truth is that it's incredibly malleable.

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