0.1 Salman Rushdie and Midnight's Children
0.2 Literature Review
0.3 Significance of the Thesis
Chapter One The Carnival Rhetoric in Midnight's Children
1.1 Carnival Language
1.1.1 Language of Heteroglossia
1.1.2 Linguistic Deviation
1.2 Carnival Rhetorical Devices
1.2.1 The Use of Metaphor
1.2.2 The Use of Satire
1.2.3 The Use of Pun
Chapter Two The Carnival Characters in Midnight's Children
2.1 Women's Carnivalesque Acts
2.1.3 Unfaithful Wives
2.2 Saleem's Carnivalesque Acts
2.2.1 Grotesque Appearance and Eccentric Behavior
2.2.2 Turning into Clown
2.2.3 Crowning and Uncrowning
Chapter Three Intertextual Dialogue in Midnight's Children
3.1 Intertextual Dialogue between History and the Text
3.1.1 National Allegory
3.1.2 Fictionalization of National History
3.2 Intertextual Dialogue between Pretexts and the Text
3.2.1 Borrowings from Western Culture
3.2.2 Borrowings from Indian Culture
3.3 Intertextual Dialogue within the Text
Focusing on contemporary forms of narrative, Hutcheon argues that postmodernistfiction embodies several carnivalesque structures. Firstly, in its metafictional preoccupationsand its tendency to foreground the artifice of literary construction, contemporary narrativeenacts a carnivalesque rebellion against the official ideology of realism （Hutcheon, 1988:83-4）。 Secondly, contemporary fiction has succeeded in blurring the distinction between highand popular culture, incorporating “comic books, Hollywood movies, popular songs, andpornography” （Hutcheon, 1988: 87）。 Thirdly, there is a tendency for contemporary fiction todraw on sexual and erotic imagery, and thus to appeal to the material bodily principle of thecarnivalesque. For Hutcheon, Bakhtin's notion of the carnivalesque provides a potent meansof characterizing postmodern literary techniques. Bakhtin's carnival theory thus facilitates anappropriate lens through which readers can explore the political potential of postmodernist artin that the playfulness and conviviality inherent in carnival theory seems to miniature thepostmodern condition.
Carnival is manifested in a variety of ways, either in the grotesque and dualism oflanguage and character, or the dialogue and polyphony of textual structure. Nevertheless,taken as a whole, Bakhtin's carnival theory is based on the fact that on the one hand, he takesfolk culture as a corporeal drama in which birth, growing, eating, drinking, evacuation,excretion and death are on show successively and on the other hand, he formulates a myth ofambivalence that denies the end by sublimating death through laughter. Materialism andambivalence thus can be taken as two starting point of Bakhtin's carnival theory. By ridiculingspiritualism, death, definiteness and finiteness, folk culture seeks to suspend the dualism ofmind and matter, extend the hegemony of authoritarian institutions and materialize hisUtopian dream. In the Utopian world, the boundary of hierarchy is transgressed and people ofdifferent social status are allowed to make a dialogue. Bakhtin's carnival theory, in thatconcern, gives a full play to the spirit of subversion, dialogue, transgression and changes andrenewal.
With reference to Bakhtin's carnival theory, an attentative examination of Midnight'sChildren exhibits that the novel abounds with carnivalesque elements, like carnival language,material body principle, laugher, parody, grotesque imagery and heteroglossia, etc. Bakhtin'scarnival theory is both a type of cultural poetics and a type of stylistic poetics. As a type ofcultural poetics, carnival theory not only reveals the influence of folk culture on the languageand characterization of literary creation, but also helps to unearth the literary value ofgrotesque and vulgarity which were marginalized by classic aesthetics in the literary history.
As a type of stylistics, carnival theory contributes to the interpretation of literary works a newperspective and methodology – dialogue. Rushdie's linguistic practice proves to be aquintessence of an avant garde literary attempt. This concept of carnival speech as a languagefree from official norms and used deliberately to subvert official linguistic standards, acquiresa particular significance for the postcolonial writer. Rushdie's another artistic attainments areembodied in his ingenious characterization. Referring to carnival theory, carnival charactersare generally characterized by grotesque appearance, rebellious act, hallucinations andinsanity. Another artistic feature that serves to carnivalize the novel is the intertextualdialogue. The novel, a fertile site for the staging of the carnivalesque as a centrifugal force,provides a vantage point by which a dialogue between a plurality of ideas, ideologies andindividuals may be represented – especially in an atmosphere of weakening central control.