Salman Rushdie's Through Memory

10002 Words41 Pages
Migration, with the shifting of cultural borders that it engenders, is a defining feature of the contemporary world. It has therefore appropriately become, in the words of Edward Said “a potent, even enriching, motif of modern culture” as the exile, conscious that homes are ephemeral, “cross borders, break barriers of thought and experience” (qtd. in Chambers 2). Salman Rushdie is also certain that migrancy is a dominant trope of our time. According to him, migrants are new categories of individuals: who root themselves in ideas rather than places, in memories as much as in material things; people who have been obliged to define themselves -because…show more content…
The author realizes the need of making up a memory in order to work her way out of the past and make sense of the present. However, doubting the sanctity of memory, Alexander says, “the house of memory is fragile; made up in the mind’s space. Even when I remember best, I am forced to admit, is what has flashed up for me in the face of present danger, at the tail end of the century, where everything is to be elaborated, spelt out, precariously reconstructed” (3). Alexander admits to possessing a double vision since she “sometimes is torn apart by two sets of memories, two opposing ways of being towards the past” (29). The second strand of Alexander’s memory is “flat, filled with the burning present, cut by existential choices. Composed of bits and pieces of the present, it renders the past suspect, cowardly, baseless”…show more content…
She is troubled by her latent awareness and develops “the gnawing feeling that under the story of multiple places, of a life lived between languages and cultures, there was something more. That actual dislocation and exile, though true as it was, had served me as an emotional counter for a darker truth, bitter exfoliation of self, something that as yet I had no words for” (238). Alexander questions herself “What foundations did my house stand on? What sort of architect was I if the lowest beams were shredded? If the stones were mouldering, fit to fall apart. What was the worth of words? (241) Most of Alexander’s protagonists are immigrants who try to accommodate themselves in unfamiliar surroundings. In Fault Lines, the author is confused about what should be the content of her writing. This confusion arises from her belief that writing is not detachable from the landscape and the people of one’s mother land; it is closely bound up with the ‘self’ that one has transported from one place to another. In this regard, she writes: If I live here and write mellifluous lines, careful, obscure lines
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