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Midnight's Children

Midnight's Children

by Salman Rushdie

Time Quotes Page 1

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

I was born in the city of Bombay... once upon a time. No, that won't do, there's no getting away from the date: I was born in Doctor Narlikar's Nursing Home on August 15th, 1947. And the time? The time matters, too. Well then: at night. No, it's important to be more... On the stroke of midnight, as a matter of fact. Clock-hands joined palms in respectful greeting as I came. Oh, spell it out, spell it out: at the precise instant of India's arrival at independence, I tumbled forth into the world. There were gasps. And, outside the window, fireworks and crowds. (1.1.1)

Why does it matter what time and date Saleem was born on? In what other moment does Saleem go through this pattern of talking about time?

Quote #2

Nobody could remember when Tai had been young. He had been plying this same boat, standing in the same hunched position, across the Dal and Nageen Lakes... forever. As far as anyone knew. (1.1.17)

So Saleem is bound by time, and Tai is timeless. Why do you think he gets to be the only character that is not connected to time? What does it say about Kashmir? What does it say about the other Tai in the novel?

Quote #3

'It was only a matter of time,' my father said, with every appearance of pleasure; but time has been an unsteady affair, in my experience, not a thing to be relied upon. It could even be partitioned: the clocks in Pakistan would run half an hour ahead of their Indian counterparts... Mr Kemal, who wanted nothing to do with Partition, was fond of saying, 'Here's proof of the folly of the scheme! Those Leaguers plan to abscond with a whole thirty minutes! Time Without Partitions,' Mr Kemal cried, That's the ticket!' And S. P. Butt said, 'If they can change the time just like that, what's real any more? I ask you? What's true?' (1.6.2)

Remember that not everybody was excited about the partition of British India into two states. Since time is so important in this novel, what does it mean for Pakistan to have half an hour more time than India?

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