Heteroglossia and Multicultural Uniformity in Rushdie’s Novels
Salman Rushdie’s novels bear significant stylistic and thematic tropes allowing his fiction to be studied under the critical assumptions of postcolonial and postmodern literary theories. Midnight’s Children, Shame and The Satanic Verses reflect not only an anti-imperialist stance in before and after the colonial enterprise, but also a new form of hybridised identity for characters of both Indian and English origin, thus suggesting a new postcolonial culture. Dislocation of culture and identity through the process of hybridisation produces its own resistance towards changes in values, principles and beliefs. In this respect, Rushdie’s novels portray postcolonial individuals attempting to resist cultural hybridisation by preserving their traditional and religious identities. However, their resistance is another form of hybridization through their multilingual discourse and the cultures of both the colonizer and the colonized begin to have a dialogic relationship in the colonial and postcolonial conditions depicted in Rushdie’s texts. This article studies Rushdie’s novels in terms of Bakhtinian heteroglossia and argue that the polyglottal nature of Rushdie’s texts is a way of representing the multicultural condition created by the colonizer. This study questions further whether or not multiculturalism and heteroglossia contradictorily transform the postcolonial identities into a uniform identity.