Update on Haroun: I still really love the book. Chapters 5-7 started establishing the motif of opposites that is especially present on Kahani, which I’ll get into later when talking about the discussion from this week. My first impressions are still pretty valid, as the book is continuing to be amazingly detailed as well as magical and fun. Some new thoughts that have been coming up all deal with the hidden meanings behind characters and places, as the detail in the story almost has some sort of second layer to it. Characters will appear one way before becoming the opposite, and anything small someone says could be important later on. This was really prominent in our discussion as well, as my class went into a huge tangent on Blabbermouth’s support for feminism.
An area of meta-analysis I’ve been finding a lot of annotations for is Language and its Meaning. Salman Rushdie definitely lets the language he uses in his book tell the story for him, and an annotation I made in my book questioned why he would name the Gups and Chups the way he did. I know both words have meanings that correlate to their citizens’ behaviors, but I was wondering about an observation my teacher made. Gup has a short u sound, which I thought sounded like the u sound in sun, and Chup has a long u sound, which my teacher made a note sounds like the oo sound in moon. I thought this was really interesting, as the u sound in both words relates to the setting of the two sides of Kahani. Gup is always light and always has sun, while Chup is dark and has everlasting nighttime when the moon is out. I thought it was funny how words from a different language can still have a connection to English words, and I wonder if Rushdie thought of this while using them. I think this level of analysis, especially in this section, is really interesting because looking into why Rushdie chose the language he did could help explain the story of Haroun even further.
About my lens of the Hero’s Journey, it’s really obvious that Haroun follows the patterns of the Hero’s Journey. In our discussion it was brought up that there wasn’t many patterns in the book, but personally I see many. The Hero’s Journey is a pattern in itself as it connects this story to the thousands of others that follow it, and the motif of opposites is definitely a pattern in Haroun. I feel like following the Hero’s Journey is a trait of children’s books as well as other genres, but it could be used to support the idea that Haroun is a children’s story. My understanding of the book under this lens is good because while I’m a lot more interested in the allusion side of everything, this lens provides a pattern to help define the book by, which can keep its crazy events in a clear order. Something that was so obvious to me when I was making annotations is Blabbermouth appearing and turning out to be a girl. This was Haroun’s “meeting with the goddess,” and I’m curious to see how she helps him throughout the book. Here’s an article describing what the Hero’s Journey is.
Finally, the points brought up in our discussion were really interesting, and included opposites, the yin-yang symbol, and prejudices. One thing I though was crazily mind-blowing was the connection someone made that the Gups and Chups were two sides of the yin-yang symbol. I loved this because if anyone knows the yin-yang symbol, it has little dots of the opposite color within each half. I don’t want to assume that the Gups are good and the Chups are evil, but the dots were eye-opening to me as it shows how there is a little similarity and connection between the two sides hidden within both the Gups and Chups. The Gups need to have a little dark, while the Chups need to have a little light, which i know I’ll be talking about in the next reflection. About prejudices, we also talked about how many of the characters Rushdie creates are opposite of what they should be, for example Prince Bolo and Princess Batcheat. Batcheat is made to appear ugly and definitely not perfect, which goes against your stereotypical princess, while Prince Bolo is very cowardly and annoying, which isn’t anyone’s idea of a good Prince Charming. I really can’t stop talking about opposites, but this book is really just a story contradicting itself through and through.