Midnight’s Children

Midnight’s Children

by

Salman Rushdie

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The Brass Monkey / Jamila Singer Character Analysis

Saleem Sinai’s sister and the daughter of Ahmed and Amina. The Brass Monkey is a feisty child who frequently sets fire to others people’s shoes (while they’re wearing them), and she forms a fierce alliance with her brother. The Brass Monkey is Saleem’s opposite; she is beautiful whereas Saleem is ugly, and their parents initially favor their famous son and his historical birth over their headstrong daughter. While living in Pakistan, the Brass Monkey begins a singing career and becomes Jamila Singer. As Jamila, the Brass Monkey is the “Angel of Pakistan,” and even her own brother falls in love with her. After Saleem is brained by a spittoon during an air-raid and suffers amnesia, Jamila delivers him to the Pakistani Army where he fights alongside other Pakistanis until he suddenly discovers his true identity and escapes the army, finding his way back to India. Despite being born a Muslim, the Brass Monkey is attracted to Mary Pereira’s Catholic faith, and she joins a nunnery in the wake of the Indo-Pakistani War.

The Brass Monkey / Jamila Singer Quotes in Midnight’s Children

The Midnight’s Children quotes below are all either spoken by The Brass Monkey / Jamila Singer or refer to The Brass Monkey / Jamila Singer. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Midnight’s Children published in 1980.
Book 2: Love in Bombay Quotes

Women have always been the ones to change my life: Mary Pereira, Evie Burns, Jamila Singer, Parvati-the-witch must answer for who I am; and the Widow, who I’m keeping for the end; and after the end, Padma, my goddess of dung. Women have fixed me all right, but perhaps they were never central—perhaps the place which they should have filled, the hole in the center of me which was my inheritance from grandfather Aadam Aziz, was occupied for too long by my voices. Or perhaps—one must consider all possibilities—they always made me a little afraid.

Page Number: 119-20
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile
Book 3: The Buddha Quotes

So, apologizing for the melodrama, I must doggedly insist that I, he, had begun again; that after years of yearning for importance, he (or I) had been cleansed of the whole business; that after my vengeful abandonment by Jamila Singer, who wormed me into the Army to get me out of her sight, I (or he) accepted the fate which was my repayment for love, and sat uncomplaining under a chinar tree; that, emptied of history, the buddha learned the arts of submission, and did only what was required of him. To sum up: I became a citizen of Pakistan.

Related Characters: Saleem Sinai (speaker), The Brass Monkey / Jamila Singer
Page Number: 403
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire Midnight’s Children LitChart as a printable PDF.
Midnight s children.pdf.medium

The Brass Monkey / Jamila Singer Character Timeline in Midnight’s Children

The timeline below shows where the character The Brass Monkey / Jamila Singer appears in Midnight’s Children. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 2: Snakes and Ladders
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
...illness, Amina gives birth to a daughter, who comes to be known as the Brass Monkey on account of her red hair. The birth goes largely unnoticed in the excitement of... (full context)
Book 2: Accident in a Washing-chest
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
Saleem’s story jumps to 1956, the year in which the Brass Monkey develops the habit of catching shoes on fire—while others are wearing them. The Brass Monkey,... (full context)
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
...her unruly child, sentences her to days of silence—a form of punishment which the defiant Monkey ignores. The Brass Monkey, however, has a softer side and spends countless hours talking to... (full context)
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...grow prematurely old, Saleem notes, “like all the women in our family,” and the Brass Monkey’s poor behavior and Ahmed’s obsession with Narlikar’s tetrapods wears her down. She develops terrible corns... (full context)
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
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...silence that is just a bit too long, she responds, “Sorry. Wrong number.” Saleem and Monkey are suspicious (of what they aren’t sure) and determined to solve the mystery of the... (full context)
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
One day, when Amina is out visiting Nussie, the phone rings and Monkey races to answer. On the other end, inquiring about a rental truck, is the “soft... (full context)
Book 2: All-India Radio
Religion Theme Icon
...own mouth out with soap, and he quickly becomes the favorite child again. The Brass Monkey soon sets fire to Amina’s slippers, and all is right again in the Sinais’ home.... (full context)
Book 2: Love in Bombay
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
During the month of fasting, Ramzàn, Saleem and the Brass Monkey go to the movies as often as they can. Sitting in the dark with their... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
...Methwold’s Estate, and the first time Saleem meets her, he is playing cricket with the Monkey and the other children of Methwold’s. Riding a mint condition Arjuna Indiabike and packing a... (full context)
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
Sonny is in love as well, and he is open with the Monkey about his feelings. Unfortunately, “the soft words of lovers roused in [Monkey] an almost animal... (full context)
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
...f’r instance: you’re cute.” Despite his bad luck, Saleem still agrees to appeal to the Monkey on Sonny’s behalf, and he is equally (again) shut down. “Don’t make me sick, Allah,”... (full context)
Book 2: My Tenth Birthday
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
Fragments and Partitioning Theme Icon
...stops coming to the table for meals, and he rarely tells Saleem and the Brass Monkey bedtime stories like he used to. He escapes to his home office each day before... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
...of the children of Methwold’s Estate show up—except for Sonny and, of course, the Brass Monkey. Sonny gives Saleem a message from Evie Burns: “Tell Saleem he’s out of the gang.”... (full context)
Book 2: Alpha and Omega
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
...As she opens fire on the unwanted cats, killing them left and right, the Brass Monkey appears and knocks her to the ground. (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Evie and the Monkey roll around, flailing and kicking, until the gardener finally separates them by spraying them with... (full context)
Book 2: Commander Sabarmati’s Baton
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
...is no longer his parents’ favorite child. Both Ahmed and Amina plainly favor the Brass Monkey, and she, unsuccessfully, “does her best to fall from grace,” including converting to Christianity. When... (full context)
Book 2: Movements Performed by Pepperpots
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
Fragments and Partitioning Theme Icon
Later that same day, Amina, Saleem, and the Brass Monkey begin to travel back to Pakistan with Emerald and Zulfikar. As Amina leaves, all the... (full context)
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
Saleem and the Brass Monkey go to school with Emerald and Zulfikar’s son, Zafar, an unpleasant boy who wets the... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
Fragments and Partitioning Theme Icon
...son), but her attempts are forced and Saleem feels alienated from his mother and the Monkey. One night, shortly after their arrival to Pakistan, Emerald readies the mansion for a dinner... (full context)
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
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Amina stays in Pakistan for four years with Saleem and the Brass Monkey, who begins to abandon her rebellious ways and becomes a devout and demure Muslim. The... (full context)
Book 2: Drainage and the Desert
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
Fragments and Partitioning Theme Icon
...day, Ahmed and Amina pack a picnic and head toward the beach with Saleem and Jamila Singer; however, they never make their picnic. Instead, they take Saleem to an ear, nose,... (full context)
Book 2: Jamila Singer
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
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Major (Retired) Alauddin Latif arrives at aunt Alia’s to hear Jamila sing. He has heard about her from General Zulfikar, and he hopes to make her... (full context)
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Jamila’s increasing fame leads to a public concert, but before Latif books it, he begins a... (full context)
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
Fragments and Partitioning Theme Icon
Jamila is soon invited to sing at the home of President Ayub, and the entire family... (full context)
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Like most of the nation of Pakistan, Saleem begins to fall in love with Jamila. He runs errands for her, driving his scooter through the city to the order of... (full context)
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...earth. Tai Bibi mimics the smells of all the women in Saleem’s life, ending with Jamila Singer, correctly identifying Saleem’s love for his sister. (full context)
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...a prince, or Nawab, arranges the marriage of his daughter to Zafar, General Zulfikar’s son. Jamila Singer performs at their engagement party, where the Nawab’s son, Mutasim, falls in love with... (full context)
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
As Jamila sings, a “hashashin wind” blows in from the north, making Saleem drowsy. The wedding guest... (full context)
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Saleem later goes to Jamila’s room to confess his love, and the hashashin wind has caused Mutasim to crawl in... (full context)
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Jamila becomes upset with Saleem’s confession, but he explains to her how his love is not... (full context)
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As Saleem leaves Jamila’s room, he hears the daughter of the Nawab scream. She has had a dream in... (full context)
Book 2: How Saleem Achieved Purity
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...in Karachi is becoming difficult, and for the first time in their lives, Saleem and Jamila avoid each other completely. (full context)
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
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...and revenge. The family becomes moody and distraught under the influence of Alia’s cooking, and Jamila soon begins to avoid them all together. Ahmed’s business begins to fail, and he soon... (full context)
Book 3: The Buddha
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
...begins to tell Padma the story of his time in the Pakistani army, claiming that Jamila sent him to army as punishment for loving her. Saleem’s memory is still absent after... (full context)
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...an important family, has a highly susceptible nose, and is the brother of famed songbird, Jamila Singer. The three soldiers quickly nickname Saleem “the Buddha,” or “old man.” (full context)
Book 3: The Shadow of the Mosque
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
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...Saleem also definitively learns about the deaths of his family and the recent disappearance of Jamila Singer. When Mustapha’s wife Sonia learns that Saleem fought on the Pakistani side of the... (full context)
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Following Saleem’s disappearance during the war, Jamila spoke out against the Pakistani government and was forced to go into hiding. Jamila slips,... (full context)