Midnight’s Children

Midnight’s Children

by

Salman Rushdie

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Pickles Symbol Analysis

Pickles Symbol Icon

Pickles are repeatedly mentioned in Midnight’s Children, and while they are often viewed as a phallic symbol, they are generally representative of the power of preservation within Rushdie’s novel. Saleem is the manager of a pickle factory, and he preserves pickles and chutneys each day. He also attempts to preserve his own life story like the pickles in his factory. Saleem largely manages to preserve his life through storytelling, offering a bit of immortality to a dying man, and he also labels and stores each chapter he writes in a pickle jar, so that they may be read later, by his son for example. This connection between pickles and the preservation of stories endures until the very end of the book, when Saleem ceremoniously labels his very last pickle jar as a way of closing out his story and his life as a whole.

Pickles Quotes in Midnight’s Children

The Midnight’s Children quotes below all refer to the symbol of Pickles. 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: At the Pioneer Café Quotes

And while chutney—the same chutney which, back in 1957, my ayah Mary Pereira has made so perfectly; the grasshopper-green chutney which is forever associated with those days—carried them back into the world of my past, while chutney mellowed them and made them receptive, I spoke to them, gently, persuasively, and by a mixture of condiment and oratory kept myself out of the hands of the pernicious green-medicine men. I said: “My son will understand. As much as for any living being, I’m telling my story for him, so that afterwards, when I’ve lost my struggle against the cracks, he will know. Morality, judgement, character…it all starts with memory…and I am keeping carbons.”

Related Characters: Saleem Sinai (speaker), Mary Pereira, Padma, Aadam Sinai
Related Symbols: Pickles
Page Number: 241
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile
Book 2: How Saleem Achieved Purity Quotes

What my aunt Alia took pleasure in: cooking. What she had, during the lonely madness of the years, raised to the level of an art-form: the impregnation of food with emotions. To whom she remained second in her achievements in this field: my old ayah, Mary Pereira. By whom, today, both old cooks have been outdone: Saleem Sinai, pickler-in-chief at the Braganza pickle works…nevertheless, while we lived in her Guru Mandir mansion, she fed us the birianis of dissension and the nargisi koftas of discord; and little by little, even the harmonies of my parents’ autumnal love went out of tune.

Related Symbols: Pickles
Page Number: 378
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire Midnight’s Children LitChart as a printable PDF.
Midnight s children.pdf.medium

Pickles Symbol Timeline in Midnight’s Children

The timeline below shows where the symbol Pickles appears in Midnight’s Children. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1: Hit-the-Spittoon
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
Fragments and Partitioning Theme Icon
...urgently continues his story. Saleem cooks condiments for a living, preserving jars of chutney and pickles, and he writes his story at night, dedicating his remaining life to the “great work... (full context)
Book 2: The Fisherman’s Pointing Finger
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
...Ahmed bring baby Saleem home from the hospital, including his umbilical cord in an old pickle-jar. Saleem is an incredibly large baby, who drains both his mother and wet-nurse of milk,... (full context)
Book 2: All-India Radio
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Padma has not returned, and Saleem is still feeling her absence. Alone at the pickle factory with only his employees (“an army of strong, hairy-armed, formidably competent women”) to keep... (full context)
Book 2: At the Pioneer Café
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
Saleem is in the office of the pickle-factory, and his son has come to visit. He is accompanied by a caretaker whom Saleem... (full context)
Book 2: The Kolynos Kid
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
...to pay Hanif a studio salary, and he is feverishly writing a script about a pickle-factory run entirely by women. (full context)
Book 2: Jamila Singer
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
Fragments and Partitioning Theme Icon
...land. He consecrates the new land with Saleem’s umbilical cord and brine (preserved in a pickle-jar). Despite Ahmed’s optimism, Saleem discovers that he has entered Pakistan from the wrong direction. Successful... (full context)
Book 3: The Shadow of the Mosque
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
As Saleem continues his story, he notes that he now has twenty-six pickle-jars present for each of the chapters in his story. Padma continues to enjoy the story... (full context)
Book 3: Abracadabra
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
...Saleem immediately recognizes the taste. The waitress tells him the chutney has come from Bragaza Pickles, a factory located north of town, in the area of the old Methwold’s Estate. Saleem... (full context)
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
...the top of the stairs is his former ayah, Mary Pereira, the owner of Bragaza Pickles. She lives in the pink obelisk, which is owned by Narlikar’s women, with her sister... (full context)
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
...at the factory with Mary, who becomes Aadam’s ayah, and becomes the manager of the pickle factory, overseeing the all-woman staff. (full context)