Midnight’s Children

Midnight’s Children

by

Salman Rushdie

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William Methwold Character Analysis

The former owner of Methwold’s Estate in Bombay, where protagonist Saleem Sinai grows up. Methwold sells the four mansions that make up his estate as the British begin to exit India in preparation for independence. Saleem’s parents purchase Buckingham Villa, a mansion on the estate, for a cheap price. Methwold insists that Saleem’s parents, Ahmed and Amina, purchase and retain his mansion with all its contents, and he refuses to make the transaction official until India’s independence on August 15, 1947. Methwold’s strange requests mirror British colonialism and the European influence left behind in India, even after independence, as the residents of Methwold’s Estate continue to observe his customs long after he is gone. Ironically, Methwold is also the biological father of Saleem. After Mary Pereira switches baby Saleem with baby Shiva, it is revealed that Saleem’s true father is none other than Methwold, who had carried on an affair with Saleem’s biological mother, the wife of Wee Willie Winkie. Following India’s independence, Methwold leaves Bombay and is never heard from again.

William Methwold Quotes in Midnight’s Children

The Midnight’s Children quotes below are all either spoken by William Methwold or refer to William Methwold. 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 1: Methwold Quotes

The Estate, Methwold’s Estate, is changing them. Every evening at six they are out in their gardens, celebrating the cocktail hour, and when William Methwold comes to call they slip effortlessly in their imitation Oxford drawls; and they are learning, about ceiling fans and gas cookers and the correct diet for budgerigars, and Methwold, supervising their transformation, is mumbling under his breath. Listen carefully: what’s he saying? Yes, that’s it. “Sabkuch ticktock hai,” mumbles Methwold. All is well.

Related Characters: Saleem Sinai (speaker), William Methwold
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Midnight’s Children LitChart as a printable PDF.
Midnight’s Children PDF

William Methwold Character Timeline in Midnight’s Children

The timeline below shows where the character William Methwold appears in Midnight’s Children. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1: Methwold
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
...invaded by the Portuguese and renamed Bom Bahia, in reference to the harbor. In 1633, Methwold, a British Officer of the East India Company, arrived in Bom Bahia and “envisioned a... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
William Methwold is selling the individual homes that make up his estate—four sprawling mansions named for European... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Despite Amina’s objections, Ahmed decides to purchase one of Methwold’s mansions (Versailles Villa and Sans Souci have already been sold), and he agrees to the... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Methwold invites Ahmed to have a cocktail in the garden, an evening tradition that has occurred... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
...turned into flats). The future owners of all the other mansions and flats move onto Methwold’s Estate as well, living amongst his things, waiting for independence. Each evening, the tenants gather... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
...evening during cocktail hour, an entertainer by the name of Wee Willie Winkie arrives on Methwold’s Estate, with his pregnant wife in tow, to play his accordion and make a bit... (full context)
Book 1: Tick, Tock
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
Amina, terribly pregnant and miserable, takes a fitful nap. As she dreams, Ahmed visits with Methwold in the garden. Waxing nostalgic and short on time, Methwold reminisces about his ancestors “who... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Fragments and Partitioning Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
...hours to go before independence, Amina wakes from a nightmare, and at eight hours, William Methwold arrives at his estate for the last time, stands in the center of the property,... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
With six hours to go, the residents of Methwold’s Estate gather in the garden for cocktail hour, and stare disbelievingly at the Englishman who... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
...of Mary Pereira. In the commotion of Amina’s labor, just as the sun sets on Methwold’s Estate for the last time in British India, William Methwold stands at its center and... (full context)
Book 2: The Fisherman’s Pointing Finger
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
...painting hanging on his bedroom wall in Buckingham Villa, left over from the days of Methwold. In the picture, a fisherman extends his arm and points at the sea, towards the... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
...true parentage. In this way, Saleem considers himself the son of four fathers; Nadir, Willie, Methwold, and Ahmed Sinai. (full context)
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British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Willie continues to frequent Methwold’s estate, entertaining the residents with his songs of nostalgia. Instead of his wife, Willie now... (full context)
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
Most of the residents of Methwold’s Estate are enamored with Saleem as well (except for Dr. Narlikar, who hates children and... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
...no longer sweet talks him for money, and the napkin in his lap remains still). Methwold’s cocktail hour has led to Ahmed’s full-blown alcoholism, and since Bombay is a dry state,... (full context)
Book 2: Snakes and Ladders
Religion Theme Icon
...old Musa’s departure, Mary notices a strange figure running around the broken clock tower near Methwold’s Estate. Frightened, Mary and Amina call the police. An inspector arrives and shoots at the... (full context)
Book 2: Accident in a Washing-chest
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
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...gambling. She begins to take on the worries and sins of the other residents of Methwold’s Estate, and they are strangely compelled to share their problems with her. Even Mary is... (full context)
Book 2: All-India Radio
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
Not long after his death, a steady stream of female heirs arrives on Methwold’s Estate to manage Narlikar’s affairs. Narlikar, who hated women and children, is surrounded in death... (full context)
Book 2: Love in Bombay
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
...as often as they can. Sitting in the dark with their gang of friends from Methwold’s Estate, Saleem sits “next-to-and-in-love-with” Evie Burns, an American, while Sonny Ibrahim sits “next-to-and-in-love-with” Monkey, who... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Evie lives with her widower father in a segregated area of the city just below Methwold’s Estate, and the first time Saleem meets her, he is playing cricket with the Monkey... (full context)
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
...but he decides to begin with bike riding. Evie often teaches the other kids of Methwold’s Estate her bike-riding tricks, and on one such day, Saleem joins them. Without a bike... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
Fragments and Partitioning Theme Icon
...language marchers continue to march. One day, the longest parade of marchers yet passes by Methwold’s Estate, and the children, having been forbidden to approach the parade, ease closer. (full context)
Book 2: My Tenth Birthday
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
...mongrel dog—the very same curse he had invented years ago for the benefit of William Methwold. In his intoxicated state, Ahmed believes the curse to be real, and he becomes increasingly... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
...of Saleem’s tenth birthday, Amina throws him a party; however, none of the children of Methwold’s Estate show up—except for Sonny and, of course, the Brass Monkey. Sonny gives Saleem a... (full context)
Book 2: At the Pioneer Café
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Evie Burns and the rest of the Methwold’s Estate children have taken over the clock tower, and since Evie has kicked Saleem out... (full context)
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
Fragments and Partitioning Theme Icon
...pictures, and it is not long before he meets Shiva again. Shiva hasn’t been to Methwold’s Estate since he threw a rock at another kid, blinding him (hence the name Eyeslice)... (full context)
Book 2: Alpha and Omega
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Bombay is rocked by a severe drought, and Methwold’s Estate is invaded by countless cats in search of water. After many failed attempts to... (full context)
Book 2: Commander Sabarmati’s Baton
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In the following days, FOR SALE signs pop up all over Methwold’s Estate. Ismail Ibrahim is suspended from practicing law after it is discovered that he is... (full context)
Book 3: Abracadabra
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
...youth. Most of the stores he knows are gone, and up on the hill where Methwold’s Estate used to stand, a tall, pink, skyscraper obelisk stands instead. (full context)
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
...from Bragaza Pickles, a factory located north of town, in the area of the old Methwold’s Estate. Saleem takes off running, leaving Picture Singh behind. (full context)