Study Guide

Midnight's Children Chapter 7

By Salman Rushdie

Chapter 7


  • History time again! Bombay was once Mumbai, named after the goddess Mumbadevi. Back then everyone was a fisherman.
  • But when the Portuguese came, they named it Bom Bahia for its harbor, not for Mumbadevi. After the Portuguese came the British, and after the British came the East India Company. And then, well, there's today's Bombay.
  • Finally, we get to see where Saleem grows up. The Methwold Estate.
  • By estate, we're talking huge, Olympic sized, mansions on a hill. William Methwold is selling his estate for dirt cheap, but with one condition. It has to be exactly the way that he left it until India's independence in August. Amina Sinai thinks this is crazy, but Ahmed agrees to the deal.
  • Besides, nice people are moving in. Saleem describes Homi Catrack and his family, the Ibrahims, the Dubashes, and Doctor Narlikar. You'll be hearing these names a lot, so get used to them. Familiarize yourself now and it'll make this whole thing a lot easier.
  • Everyone is complaining about the strangeness of the Methwold Estate, but without knowing it they're also all changing into little imitation William Methwolds.
  • Except for Amina. She's too busy being pregnant and thinking about the prophecies of Shri Ramram Seth to pay attention to any of this English nonsense.
  • Besides, she's going to win that Times of India prize for having a baby born at midnight. She can feel it.
  • Then Wee Willie Winkie comes on the scene. He's an entertainer, and he sings songs. But then he gets up on Amina's turf by saying that maybe his son will be the one to win the prize.
  • While this is going on, William Methwold doesn't look so good. It could be because he's probably the father of Wee Willie Winkie's son, but of course he's not going to tell anyone.
  • Somewhere else, Ms. Mary Pereira (midwife and servant) is in a confessional talking to a priest about her love affair with Joseph D'Costa. Or really she's asking the priest what race God is, so she can prove that he's not white and Joseph will like her again.
  • Saleem ends it there for this chapter. He's got to go get ready because tomorrow he's wearing his Sunday best.