24 October 2010
Day 211: Haroun and the Sea of Stories
I mentioned in the previous post that another underlying theme in this book is about the necessity of contrasts. This is best demonstrated by the two halves of the moon Kahani, one that was constantly in daylight and the other in dark. The people in the dark seemed to be the ones to suffer the most negative side effects, living in silence under an oppressive regime. They also had shadows who became more like individual entities. These were initially a benefit, the shadows could act on their own and were treated as people. However, as they were led by a corrupt person, people and their shadows turned against each other. Having an enemy you have no way of getting away from is not exactly a benefit.
I almost take issue with the fact that Rushdie made darkness the "bad" side. I wish there had been more balance in his actual portrayal of the sides, but since it is only told from the viewpoint of persons on the daylight side, we don't actually get to see if there are any advantages to living in darkness and silence, of which there must be some.
I'm definitely a person who thrives more in quiet. I find it difficult to concentrate when there's noise around. This tends to be why I don't really listen to music often. I sometimes make the mistake of trying to write blog posts while watching something on Netflix. It gets done, but it requires quite a bit more mental energy to keep my thoughts in line. My editor can probably even tell the difference between posts since I obviously make more mistakes when I'm distracted.
I think it's easier to be more creative in the darkness than in the daylight. Darkness sort of breeds imaginative thoughts. Just think of when you were a child. How many permutations of monsters did your mind come up with? How many boogeymen and scarecrows? But also, how many wonders filled your mind when you looked at the night sky or caught fireflies or watched fireworks? What about listening to the owls and the crickets and the coyotes?
But we can't stay in that state forever, in fact I doubt we would be so inspired by darkness if we were surrounded by it all the time. The daytime provides us with a chance to be physically active, but the darkness is a time of reflection. Activity is great, but we can't process without periods of rest.
An excellent review can be found at The Book Brothel, scandalous.