Haroun and the Sea of Stories

Haroun and the Sea of Stories Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
As Haroun wakes, he thinks that he's in another Princess Rescue Story, and hopefully this one won't go wrong. Blabbermouth mentions that she took the Disconnecting Tool from Haroun for Iff. Haroun is deflated, but Blabbermouth notes that since Rashid is in Gup City himself, he can sort out his own problem. Haroun, sadly, says that he wanted to do it for him.
Poor Haroun's only real goal in coming to Kahani was to fix the issue with Rashid's water supply and thus help his father, and Blabbermouth has robbed him of the chance to do so. Haroun must now decide if he's going to find another way to accomplish his goal or give up.
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Hearing a commotion outside, Haroun runs to the window to see hundreds of Pages rushing around the garden and arguing about what order they need to line up in. Haroun mentions that the Pages are numbered and it should be easy, but Blabbermouth replies that things aren't so simple here. Haroun remarks that the army doesn't seem very disciplined, but Blabbermouth snaps that he shouldn't judge a book by its cover and races off to join the Pages. Haroun runs after her as they wind back through the palace hallways. When Haroun says that this place isn't the real world, Blabbermouth angrily shoots back that people from sad cities think someplace has to be miserable and dull before they'll believe in it.
We again are reminded of Butt's earlier statement that storybook things must be true on Kahani for Kahani itself to make sense, and this seeming disorder as well as the actual issue of having page numbers but not having a clear directive both fall in line with his statement. Haroun will continue to struggle to understand how the Guppee army works, and this won't be the first time that he remarks on their lack of discipline, but this will lead him to a greater understanding of balance and difference.
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When Blabbermouth and Haroun reach the garden, the Guppee Library had just finished “Pagination and Collation,” and Blabbermouth flees to her place with the Royal Pages. Haroun notices Rashid, also still wearing his nightshirt, standing next to Iff, Disconnecting Tool in hand. As Haroun reaches them, Iff makes a jab at Haroun's theft of the Tool, confusing Rashid.
It's evident that nobody shared with Rashid that Haroun is here because he blackmailed Iff into bringing him. We see, though, that Rashid and Iff seem to be friendly with each other, and Iff doesn't appear to hold Haroun's theft against Rashid.
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Rashid and Haroun board Butt the Hoopoe with Iff, and Haroun introduces his father to Mali, Goopy, and Bagha. As the entire Guppee army moves off into the Ocean, Rashid laments his and Haroun's choice of clothing, and Iff offers them “Laminations.” Haroun and Rashid pull the thin film over their clothes, and it sticks to them tightly. Iff assures them they won't be cold.
Again, the physical nature of books is brought into play with the Laminations. The Laminations that Rashid and Haroun wear work the same way as laminating a page would, protecting them from wear and tear, and with the added bonus of warmth.
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As they travel, Haroun thinks about how quickly life changes, thinking that last week he'd never seen snow, but now he's heading into an ice wilderness with only Laminations to protect him from the cold, and thinks he's gone from the frying pan into the fire. Butt disagrees and says that it's a case of "out of the fridge into the freezer," and Rashid cries out in amazement that Butt spoke without moving its beak.
We might consider Butt's statement here deadpan comedy, but for Butt it's the truth, as the Land of Chup is a land of ice. Butt speaking without moving its beak once again encourages the reader to consider how language can happen and how it's possible to engage with it.
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Haroun becomes aware that all around him, Guppees are engaged in heated debates over the pros and cons of their battle strategy. Goopy and Bagha are fully on the side of saving the Ocean before Batcheat, and Haroun, shocked, says that it sounds like mutinous talk. Curious, Iff, the Plentimaw Fish, and Mali ask what a Mutinous is. Haroun tries to explain that it's an Adjective, and Iff calls it all nonsense before turning back to the argument with the other Guppees. Haroun notices that General Kitab is flitting through the army and taking part in arguments, taking opposite sides as it suits him.
We're reminded again that Haroun comes from a place where saying something like Goopy and Bagha did would come with potentially dire consequences. In Gup, though, Haroun sees what he realizes is a complete lack of censorship, to the point where even General Kitab, the highest-ranking army official, can say what he likes and listens to others say what they like.
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Haroun thinks that if soldiers behaved this way on Earth, they'd be reprimanded quickly. Butt asks what the point of freedom of speech is if people aren't allowed to use it, and asks whether the power of speech is the greatest power of all. Haroun remarks that Guppees couldn't keep a secret to save their lives, and Iff offers that they could tell secrets, and that he knows many that are quite juicy. Butt concurs.
Butt here gets directly at the questions raised regarding Rushdie's controversy after The Satanic Verses. Butt questions, essentially, whether censored "free" speech is truly free speech. Bringing up the juicy secrets adds some humor and lightness to a particularly serious passage of the novel.
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As the army and the debates continue, Haroun notices that Prince Bolo is the only one not taking part in a debate. Mali says that it's because Bolo's mind is made of Love, and while it's wonderful and dashing, it can also be foolish.
Here, Bolo's foolishness is considered in a more favorable light. He's so driven by his love for Batcheat that he can't even bring himself to take part in the Guppee love of argument.
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The light begins to dim, and soon the army finds itself in the Twilight Strip. Haroun starts to feel fatalistic and fears that their mission is suicidal and they'll never win. Butt kindly tells Haroun that he's suffering from a Heart-Shadow, which happens to people the first time they enter the Twilight Strip. He says that he himself doesn't suffer because machines don't have hearts, but assures Haroun that the Shadow will pass.
Butt again is shown to not just be a cold machine, but to have thoughts and feelings all his own. He's able to point out the benefits of being a machine, but is also capable of providing true comfort and a pep talk to Haroun in this dark moment.
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The Chup coastline comes into view, and Goopy and Bagha are beginning to sputter more. The water is growing cooler, and the vibrant colors of the Story Streams are becoming muted due to the poison. As the army sets foot on land, they hear no sounds. Rashid notes that the Chupwala army gains an advantage the farther into the darkness they lure the Guppees. The Guppees begin to raise tents, and General Kitab and Prince Bolo send Blabbermouth to fetch Rashid so he can show them where the Chupwala tents are.
Goopy and Bagha serve as a physical representation of what happens when individuals are deprived of language and stories—they sputter and struggle to survive, as language and communication are intrinsically connected to being alive (and to their bond with each other, which is cemented by their rhyming speech).
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Rashid leads Prince Bolo, General Kitab, Haroun, and Blabbermouth through thorn bushes, and finally points to a clearing. In the clearing is a man who looks like a shadow, turning and slashing with his sword as though battling an invisible opponent. Haroun realizes that the man is fighting his own shadow, who is fighting back with just as much skill. Haroun points out that the shadow's movements don't match the man's, and the group watches for a minute as the man and the shadow battle each other, attached only at the feet.
Here we see the nod to Peter Pan with the characterization of the shadow as essentially its own person. Borrowing this element has the same effect as the motif of 1001 Arabian Nights does, as it situates this story within a greater literary tradition. We are also reminded of how observant Haroun is, as he's the one to point out that the shadow has its own movement.
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The warrior is striking: his face is painted green with bright red lips and white stripes across his cheeks. As Haroun watches the warrior and his shadow battle, he thinks that it's a dance of beauty and grace, with the music only in the dancers' heads. Then, he notices the warrior's eyes—rather than whites, they have blacks, with gray irises and white pupils.
Haroun is beginning to see that one doesn't need to make noise or be capable of speech to be graceful, beautiful, or valuable. The sight of the Warrior's eyes, however, is scary for Haroun, but their opposite coloring only serves to further represent the opposites at play in the story.
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Haroun considers the adventure in which he finds himself, thinking of all the opposites at play in the battle between Chup and Gup—silence versus chatter, love versus death, bright versus dark. However, he reasons that it's not so simple, because the Shadow Warrior has made him realize that silence can be beautiful, while speech can be ugly. Haroun thinks that if Guppees and Chupwalas didn't hate each other, they'd likely find each other quite interesting. Suddenly, the Shadow Warrior notices his audience and sends his shadow towards them, following it to the Guppee hiding place. The Warrior's hands are moving quickly, but then he drops his hands and begins to speak.
Haroun is using Prince Bolo in his consideration of ugly speech, as seeing the Shadow Warrior's beautiful but silent dance throws Bolo's foolish and rude patterns of speech into even greater relief, and makes him look even more foolish in comparison. This is also a moment of clarity for Haroun, as he's beginning to realize that things aren't just black or white; it's better, if not necessary, to have a variety of traits at play in a situation. However, Haroun is able to make this realization thanks to his outsider status.
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