Study Guide

Midnight's Children Chapter 9

By Salman Rushdie

Chapter 9

The Fisherman's Pointing Finger

  • Chapter 9 is the beginning of Book 2. Ooh la la.
  • Padma is upset with Saleem because he said she loved him. She runs away to who knows where.
  • Whatever, back to the story. Saleem doesn't just get a photograph in the paper. He also gets a personal letter from Nehru congratulating him on his birth.
  • Mary Pereira gets scared when she hears that the government will be watching over his life, but Amina tells her there is nothing to worry about.
  • Saleem is not a pretty baby. He's got a huge face with birth marks on it and bulging temples. Plus, of course, the gigantic schnoz.
  • Saleem is also not a normal baby. He drinks so much milk that his wet nurse runs away. He doesn't cry—he doesn't make any sound at all at first—and he doesn't blink.
  • While Saleem is being raised by his two moms (Amina and Mary), Amina starts having dreams about Nadir Khan again. Uh-oh.
  • Wee Willie Winkie arrives on the scene again except he's looking a little worse for wear now. His voice is not as bright as it used to be, but he has a little baby, named Shiva, sitting right next to him.
  • Shiva grows up and gets angrier and angrier until one day when Eyeslice teases him, he blinds him with a rock. The people at Methwold Estates don't see him after that.
  • Back to Saleem. Boy is he popular! Everyone is treating him like they have never seen a baby before. Everyone wants to borrow him, so he gets to eavesdrop on all of their secrets.
  • While baby Saleem is taking all of this in, he meets Toxy Catrack. She's Homi Catrack's mentally disabled daughter, and somehow she is able to communicate with baby Saleem through telepathy. Yeah, we know, we'd like to know more about this too, but Saleem doesn't tell us.
  • While all of the attention is on baby Saleem, Ahmed Sinai is feeling lonely. Before he was the king of the hill, and now he is just chopped liver. To deal with his sudden unpopularity, he starts drinking. And flirting with his secretaries. He wants Amina to notice him again, but she doesn't even care about his cheating.
  • So one day Ahmed Sinai meets his friend Doctor Narlikar for their daily ritual that ends in six o'clock cocktails. But today is different. Today Doctor Narlikar tells Ahmed about tetrapods. This unlucky business venture is the beginning of The Great Freeze.
  • What is The Great Freeze, you may ask? It's when the State Secretariat froze all of Ahmed Sinai's assets.
  • Amina tries to make him feel better with some sweet sweet loving, but his testicles are already frozen like ice. No sweet lovin' here. On the plus side, Brass Monkey was conceived just before things really froze over.