Posted in School

Haroun and the Sea of Stories – Second Discussion

A major revelation with regards to how I view the communities of Gup and Chup happened in our last discussion. A fellow classmate mentioned that Kahani seemed to symbolize Yin and Yang. Gup was bright, loud, and sparkling, borderline abrasive and overwhelming. However, on the literal flip side of the moon, Chup was dark, silent and isolated. Currently in the book, the armies of Gup are marching on Chup, but I have a feeling that the two sides will unite in some way before the book is done, repairing the harmony between the two.

I made an annotation on page 114 that I found interesting. Blabbermouth, a young soldier in the Gup army, says “You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover” after Haroun criticizes its unusual organization. I found this interesting on many levels, one of which being that originally, Haroun had assumed the Page to be a boy. He finds out she’s actually female in the previous chapter – a Page in the Library, judged by her cover. (I’m also realizing right now that since I worded it like that, it’s word play – cover, like the front of a book, but she was using her boyish outward appearance as a cover to hide her gender.)


Anyway, going back to Blabbermouth’s quote, I found that it applies to many of the characters in the book, but in the opposite way. While the Page warns against such quick judgments, Rushdie often describes new characters exactly as they act. We are told as soon as we meet Prince Bolo on page 89 that he has a “dashing but somehow foolish look to him,” and he acts very romantically and foolishly throughout the story. In addition, another character introduced later in the book (I’ve read ahead) is described as a “skinny, scrawny, sniveling, driveling, mingy, stingy, measly, weasely, clerkish sort of fellow.” These exact words in the same order are used multiple times to describe this person, and they act accordingly. All these covers on all these characters, matching their true selves perfectly.

I’m having difficulty coming up with allegories, which is a bit of a problem, as that’s my lens for the book. I feel like when I’m presented with fiction, especially something so rich in magic and intrigue, it’s hard for me to sift through the entertaining bits to find a meaning. It’s like sand refilling a hole you’re trying to dig at the beach.
I thought fiction was my strength. It seems like it’s also a weakness.


Some links to a few of my fellow classmates’ blogs, for further insight on these topics – This blog really goes in-depth with connections between sections of the book – This blog excels at selecting quotes out of the book and discerning what the author meant by it. – This blog is by a classmate who is also looking through the Allegory lens. There are some very good points made regarding irony.


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