Arranged Marriages in Midnights Children
An element of Midnights Children, by Salman Rushdie that I particularly enjoyed was the recurring theme of loving someone in pieces. There are two instances where this is prevalent, one being the interaction between Aadam Aziz and Naseem Ghani. It is stated that:
In short: my grandfather had fallen in love, and had come to think of the perforated sheet as something sacred and magical, becausethrough it he had seen the things which had filled up the whole insidehim
Through the perforated sheet, Aadam Aziz never saw his bride until he asked for her hand in marriage. Instead, he fell in love with the softness of her ticklish skin, or the perfect tiny wrists, or the beauty of her ankles. Aadam Aziz, who had concentrating on loving the pieces of Naseem, was ill prepared for her presence in its entirety.
Naseem and Aadams marriage rapidly dissolved into a place of frequent and devastating warfareunder whose depredations the young girl behind the sheet and the gauche young Doctor turned rapidly into different stranger beings
The question, or rather statement made here by Rushdie, is whether or not it is possible to love someone in pieces, without knowing their whole being. When examining the relationship between Naseem and Aadam Aziz, it seems as though Rushdie is stating that one cannot love someone through a perforated sheet, without knowing their soul. Aadam and Naseems marriage became a battleground because they did not have a solid foundation of love to build upon. As a consequence, Naseem employed such tricks as attempting to starve her husband, and Aadam reacted by refusing to eat. Due to the fact that both Naseem and Aadam were quite stubborn, neither one of them refused to concede to one another. It makes one wonder if, for Naseem and Aadam, showing ones true feelings would be to admit defeat.
The marriage between Naseem and Aadam never improved, and at the conclusion of Aadams life, as he grew ill, Naseem appeared to thrive on his weakness, which was symbolic of the struggle of their marriage.
Another instance of falling in love in fragments, are the interactions between Amina and Ahmed Sinai, as seen in the paragraph below:
she began to train herself to love him. To do this, she dividedhim, mentally, into every single one of his component parts, physicalas well as behavioral, compartmentalizing him into lips, and verbaltics and prejudices and likesin short she fell under the spell of the perforated sheet of her own parents, because she resolved to fall in love with her husband bit by bit.
In both examples, a husband and wife who shared no love tried to fall in love with each other without truly knowing the other. For Naseem and Aadam, such love never occurred, but for Ahmed and Amina, such love occurred when:
Ahmed came to himself under Aminas care, he returned not to the self which had practised curses and wrestled djinns, but to the self he might have been, filled with the contrition and forgiveness and laughter and generosity and the finest miracle of all, which was love. Ahmed Sinai had, at long last, fallen in love with my mother.
Therefore, I am uncertain of Rushdies intent in paralleling these two incidents. I believe Rusdies intent in including the magical perforated sheet in the relationship between Naseem and Aadam was to show that their marriage only worked in under such magic. That they could love one another only in pieces, rather than in entirety.
The contrast between the two marriages shows that for one set of married couples, fragmented love dissolved under the constraints of marriage, and of true knowledge of the other person. In another case, fragmented love led to complete love. I believe that Rushdies intent is to explore the possibilities of arranged marriage in India, and their possible outcomes.
He may be trying to make the statement that although marriage to someone with whom you are not in love with initially appear undesirable, they may become desirable after a period of time. Another underlying message of Rushdies in creating a parallel between these two instances may be to show that arranged marriages stem from cultural tradition, and that .