by Salman Rushdie
Analysis: What's Up With the Title?
It's a tease. The title of this novel is a tease. It's gotta be.
Before we even start reading Midnight's Children, we want to know about these kids. We want to know who they are, what they do, why they're important. They're the title so they must be a pretty big deal, right?
But over a hundred pages pass before we even hear about them. Then it's totally underwhelming. The Midnight's Children are just all the kids who were born within the first hour of India's independence. Sure some of them have cool powers like time travel or sex switching, but most of them don't get the prime superhero slots. They are basically a ragtag group of kids from all over India. That's cool, but we expected a bit more. They are the title after all.
After we meet them, there is anxiety about what they will do. They argue about it forever. We were hoping they'd be the next X-Men. But you know what they do? Nothing. Nada. Zip.
The Midnight's Children are destroyed by The Widow before they even do anything, twenty years after they first find each other. It's a huge letdown. We don't know about you guys, but we found ourselves thinking, "Is that it?"
We're pretty sure that's how we're supposed to feel. Remember that the Midnight's Children are born with independent India. They are the dreams and hopes for this new India. And they die during the Emergency, which is when that India dies. So the way that we feel about the Midnight's Children is probably how people who were excited for the independence of India felt when they saw the turmoil that happened. This wasn't what they were dreaming of. This wasn't what they were expecting. It was a total letdown.