Study Guide

Midnight's Children Women and Femininity

By Salman Rushdie

Women and Femininity

Ah, the gentler sex. They need to be protected by big strong men, and by religious rules so that those big strong men won't defile them. Or not. Even the women who believe in tradition in Midnight's Children are not very good at following it. They work when they aren't supposed to, they save people who they shouldn't even be speaking to, and they expose their faces and feet when they aren't supposed to. Some might also say that they are the most powerful characters in the novel. The Widow certainly has the most lasting impact, but we won't spoil the ending for you.

Questions About Women and Femininity

  1. Saleem's beloved city is Bombay, which he keeps reminding us used to be named after Mumbadevi, or the Mother Goddess. What do you think this says about women in Midnight's Children?
  2. Which gender is more influential in the novel, men or women? Why?
  3. What is the role of mothers in the novel? Who are the mothers in the novel? Which women become Saleem's mothers? Which women are not mothers at all?

Chew on This

Women in Midnight's Children are delicate and must be protected from the outside world by religious rules and regulations.

Women in the novel are strong and would rather break religious rules than follow them.