Postmodern Chic and Postcolonial Cheek: A Map of Linguistic Resistance, Hybridity, and Pedagogy in Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children


  • Prathim-Maya Dora-Laskey Alma College



This essay examines how Salman Rushdie appropriates the colonial linguistic medium (English) in Midnight’s Children and embeds resistance within its commonplace and seemingly innocent lexical interstices through the insertion of Hindi/Urdu terms in his wordplay. This lexical hybridity may be examined as a creative example of Homi Bhabha's exegetical “third space” that is postmodern in its disruption of semiotic stasis and postcolonial in its disruption of the primacy of English. This paper contextualizes Rushdie’s code-mixing of English and Hindi/Urdu lexical registers to produce multiple meanings and puns, maps select examples through L.G. Heller’s mode of linguistic diagramming, and provides an overview of the resultant ideological considerations.

Author Biography

Prathim-Maya Dora-Laskey, Alma College

Prathim-Maya Dora-Laskey teaches English and Women’s Studies at Alma College after graduate school on three continents. An alumna of Stella Maris College in Chennai (India), her awards include scholarships from the Pennathur foundation, the FSA board at the University of South Carolina, and a Violet Morgan Vaughan award while at the D.Phil program at the University of Oxford (U.K.). A poetry editor at  Jaggery and a current moderator at SAWNET (, she has published work in Contemporary South Asia, Interventions: A Journal of Postcolonial Studies, and South Asian Review


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How to Cite

Dora-Laskey, P.-M. (2016). Postmodern Chic and Postcolonial Cheek: A Map of Linguistic Resistance, Hybridity, and Pedagogy in Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. Pivot: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies and Thought, 5(1).